When shopping in the 50s – 60s (the streets, not the ages!) at Bergdorf or Barneys, or before or after seeing a film at The Paris Theatre (at which I’ll see almost anything, it’s such a wonderful movie house), or even following or before some time spent in Central Park with bike or book now that spring is trying ever so hard to appear, one often needs a break - for sitting, for beverage and/or for sustenance (dessert counts as sustenance). Never in the past, when I worked in this neck of the woods, did I have great options for a quickie sandwich, good pastry and excellent quality latte or espresso. Now I have two.
I just discovered Fika Espresso Bar, on W. 58th Street between Fifth and Sixth, tucked a few doors behind the Plaza and the Park Lane Hotel. It has some counter seating and a table (or you can take out), and is serving some great things, including Swedish coffee, chocolates, sandwiches, salads, cakes and cookies, at non-tourist zone prices, right in the heart of the tourist zone.
And there’s my old favorite, Macaron Café, over on E. 59th Street just off Madison, which is their second shop (try their original, too, when you’re near Macy’s or Penn Station, on W. 36th just off Seventh Avenue – you’ll see the line extending beyond the door at lunchtime). They have some of the best macarons in town, fabulous freshly made and interesting sandwiches, salads and daily specials like lasagna, quiche and croque-monsieur, as well as espresso-based drinks, French press coffee and Mariage Frères teas (try Wedding Impérial - it's incredible). There are a few tiny tables in the back if you want to sit. The staff is wonderful, and some will speak with French with you if you like. Génial!