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Review: Upland Offers Stylish Cal-Ital Comfort in Flatiron

At Upland, which opened in October, Justin Smillie is serving delicious fare like this just-shucked scallop with chile, olive oil, and fermented radish. Photographer: Virginia Rollison/Bloomberg
At Upland, which opened in October, Justin Smillie is serving delicious fare like this just-shucked scallop with chile, olive oil, and fermented radish. Photographer: Virginia Rollison/Bloomberg

This year has been a bit crap, but it’s nearly over, and meanwhile dinner in a warm, glowing dining room like Upland's can be a fine distraction. The restaurant is located just off Manhattan's Park Avenue at 26th Street, but named for a city east of Los Angeles, thousands of feet up in the San Gabriel Mountains, where the chef, Justin Smillie, was born.

For all its Cal-Ital marketing efforts though, it has the unmistakable feeling of a New York dining room. Look, there is Salman Rushdie in a booth, and beside him a group of fashion editors coming down hard on a plate of beef tartare. All around, there are loud, wine-fueled power dinners interrupted by long, luxurious smoke breaks.