While we have a few tried and trues up our sleeves, we like to venture out and try new places in New York as locals — both classic NYC restaurants that have been around forever for good reason, as well as trendy new spots that feature the season’s hip new food craze.
A few weeks ago, we were strolling along the beautiful tree lined blocks of the Upper West Side when the lunchtime stomach growls started. The sun was shining and it seemed like the kind of day you try something new, so we decided on Michelin-recommended TESSA, and quickly discovered a new spot that will be moved from our list of “to try” to “tried and true.” We loved it so much that I wanted to share all the goodness with you!
A modern Mediterranean eatery, TESSA has a rustic and urban industrial vibe that is typically seen more in downtown dining (seriously, so cool! It’s like the Restoration Hardware of restaurants. Even if you’re not hungry for a full meal, it’s the perfect spot to sit at the bar for a craft cocktail, little nibbles, and all the good vibes.) As much as I appreciate a beautiful aesthetic, the real shining jewel here is the food (as it should be.) The menu is full of options that are easily shared between everyone at the table, letting you sample an array of dishes.
From the basket of pastries (be still my beating heart!) to the appetizer mezze trio of house dips to the bruised kale caesar salad with the perfect amount of lemon zest to the avocado toast with a twist to the housemade gelato, it was really impossible to choose a favorite course, they all had such interesting and robust flavors. I sure do know if I were taste testing for the Michelin guide, TESSA would go from “recommended” to “starred”.
Bravo to the chefs, cooks, and staff of the restaurant—we are already planning our return!
349 Amsterdam Avenue
New York, NY
TESSA is located on Amsterdam Avenue between 76th and 77th Streets.
Jessica Tiare Bowen lives in the juicy Big Apple with her adorable pink-nosed chihuahua, Gillman. He’s the inspiration for her first published children’s book, “Park Avenue Pound Puppy.” The book is the combined result of her two greatest passions: pooches and penning stories.
Her passions include art, urban hikes through Manhattan, drinking coffee with 3 creams and 6 sugars, making extremely detailed itineraries and traveling to far away places, singing along to Broadway shows, Netflix movie nights, discovering incredible treasures at Goodwill and thrift stores, and listening to stories from little people under 7 and big people over 70.
She started her career as New York City Teaching Fellow, teaching elementary school and theater arts at a special education school in the South Bronx for 6 years. She is now a Special Education School Improvement Specialist working in public schools throughout New York City. She is the Editor-In-Chief of the online New York City travel magazine, Used York City. The magazine focuses on finding the best of New York…as used by New Yorkers. She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and an ASPCA Ambassador.