Credit: Bustan

The Upper West Side is one of my favorite areas in the city to dine and dish in. It has a comfortable and inviting quality to it that works wonders all year-round, especially in the summertime. Bustan, a delicious Mediterranean spot located at 487 Amsterdam Avenue, is a culinary highlight that only enhances this area for more reasons than one.

Bustan evokes a similar structure to many other restaurants in the UWS. It’s a small contemporary eatery that packs a punch with every Mediterranean dish it makes. Something that sets it apart, however, is how colorfully wonderful its insides are. I happen to love the mixture of rich colors like red and orange adorning the walls and seating that makes the experience there that much more intimate.

Something that also turns me on from a culinary POV is how limited the menu is. It’s essentially appetizers, entrees and options for the table that have eight or less options in each. This proves to me that the talented chefs in the Bustan kitchen are confident enough in what they provide compared to have endless page after page of overlooked items to order and whatnot.

Every single dish I tried at Bustan was absolutely superb, so much so that I felt myself going from the UWS to someplace much more foreign that was surrounded by water and absurdly hairy men (in a good way).

First off, get the for the table options. These are the usual suspects in Mediterranean cuisine like Housemade Taboon Bread with a side of options like Hummus, Greek Yogurt and more. Do yourself a favor and dunk the bread into all the other ingredients for one bite that will make you say “YAS” the minute you bite into it.

For their appetizers, stick with the classics. Try their Israeli Salad (Cucumbers, Tomatoes, Red Onion, Fresh Herbs, Radish, Olives, Tahini, Sumac) and Taboon Roasted Cauliflower. The salad is simple but done well, brightly colored, and has a fresh taste to it that works well with the season we are in. Cauliflower has become my new favorite vegetable, and the ingredients provided (Labneh, Crushed Tomatoes, Sesame) in this fabulous dish are nothing short of mouthwatering.

I’m going to shock myself by writing this, as I’m a huge meat eater, however their Homemade Couscous in a Moroccan Vegetable Stew is heavenly. It’s been proven time and time again that you can have a hearty entrée without any meat involved, and this one is definitely included. The flavor is extraordinary and something I would go back to order again no doubt.

For more information on Bustan, click here.