4, 5, 6 at 86th St.
American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
When the sprawling Eli's wood-and-steel megastore opened in 1993 it was a godsend to neighborhood foodies and shopping-moms. And the limestone floors and vaulted ceilings of the former Morgan Manhattan warehouse still give Eli's a jewel-in-the-woods sort of style. Eli, the son of the founders of Zabar's, put a greenhouse on the roof to supply the store with produce—mainly tomatoes and greens. There's also a fishmonger, a butcher, a cheese shop, and a giant's portion of straightforwardly prepared foods and spreads. But Eli's is no longer the only gig on the East Side. The prices are prohibitive, and the food less exciting than what's being sold at Agata's 10 blocks south. But the bread is unbeatable, the crusts so thick and hearty you could spoon soup into them. And they come in all shapes and sizes, from ficelles to focaccia. You can't do better than tearing off a shred from the dark, nutty Health Loaf and pairing it with some tart jam or sharp cheese. Eli's hand-formed hearth-baked loaves are churned out in the shocking amount of 40,000 pounds daily, in a nearby factory, and his dedication shows. Also made on the premises are gelato, sorbet, baked goods, and coffee.Extra
Eli's offers catering, gift baskets, and home shopping. You can get validated parking at the David Garage on the south side of 91st St., across from the store.