Worth checking out on the Upper East Side:
1) Uva, a midlevel Italian restaurant with a rustic, homey feel. Very popular, but not so loud that you couldn't talk. M. and I shared a bottle of Tuscan Sangiovese. She had a spiral sausage and polenta dish, while I had ricotta gnocchi with chive and truffle sauce. Delicious, and very rich. Starters are $10 and under. Entrees $15-$19.
1486 Second Ave., near 77th St.
2) Stir, a martini lounge that offers about 20 different specialty cocktails, many of them with candy coatings around the rim: pixie dust, Smarties, Jolly Rancher shavings, Pop Rocks. The bar is dimly lit, contemporary couches with pillows line the walls, and the music doesn't drown out the conversation. Martinis run $9-$12.
1363 First Ave., near 73rd.