Photographer: Bruce Yuanyue Bi/Getty Images
Travel

Midtown Manhattan Dining Guide

Be it for drinks with clients or dinner with friends and family, there’s no need to head downtown

From the June 2015 edition of Reserve, a Bloomberg Brief publication.

It sometimes feels like Midtown Manhattan's once-famous restaurant scene has been forgotten in favor of more relaxed spots downtown. Not anymore.

The dense heart of the city is marked by several 1,300-foot-plus towers under construction, each aiming to be the tallest residential building in the world. Like them or hate them, they presage a rebound in restaurant activity in midtown.

The Baccarat Hotel has Chevalier, the restaurant from Charles Masson of La Grenouille fame. Ralph Lauren's Polo Bar (see full review)the toughest reservation in town, is full of cognoscenti who don't feel the need to go below 50th Street. Each of the new towers will have multiple restaurant and bar options, which have many wondering if New York will become the new Hong Kong, where restaurants are listed by floor.

The densest part of Midtown has always been about the mix of housing, hotels, offices, and museums. Growing up, my family lived in a hotel and the world of great cuisine was literally a block away. I may have to do it again if restaurants of this caliber keep popping up.

The extravagantly luxurious bar at the new Baccarat Hotel is the hottest midtown drinks spot.
The extravagantly luxurious bar at the new Baccarat Hotel is the hottest midtown drinks spot.
Source: Baccarat via Bloomberg

 

Go With Clients

DRINKS ...

The Bar at Baccarat: The hottest after-work option of the moment has multiple spaces to choose from: the bar, the terrace, and the hotel lobby itself.

Ty Bar at the Four Seasons: Although its lease runs out in July 2016, landmark status means not much can change at this ode to 20th century minimalism.

 

Carrot rillettes, Maine shrimp fritters, steak tartare, and tarte flambée at The Modern.
Carrot rillettes, Maine shrimp fritters, steak tartare, and tarte flambée at The Modern.
Source: Nathan Rawlinson/The Modern via Bloomberg

DINNER ...

The Modern: Facing the sculpture garden at MoMA, large booths are great for deal-making. The Bar Room is more casual but equally sensible. (See full review.)

Avra Estiatorio: This is my favorite of the popular midtown Greek fish palaces. 

21 Club: As sophisticated steak houses go, this is still hard to beat for both a business lunch and dinner.

 

LATE NIGHT ...

Lavo/Tao Uptown: Favorite dinner options that morph into party scenes as others retreat to the suburbs.

 

Monkey Bar, a NYC classic.

Monkey Bar, a New York classic.

Photographer: Paul Goguen/Bloomberg

Go With Friends

DRINKS ...

Monkey Bar: A New York classic that is still packed after work and maddening when the owner, Vanity Fair's Graydon Carter, shuts it down for celeb parties.

Casa Lever: Come summer, the public courtyard around Lever House becomes the most fun place to see how native New Yorkers misbehave.

 

Aldo Sohm, an odd space transformed into one of the best wine bars in town.
Aldo Sohm, an odd space transformed into one of the best wine bars in town.
Photographer: Evan Sung/Bloomberg Business

DINNER ...

Aldo Sohm Wine Bar: Sohm is the sommelier across the alley at Le Bernardin. The group took the odd space and made it into one of the best wine bars in town.

Má PêcheDowntown star chef David Chang gets corporate right, too, doing his take on dim sum. Fun bar as well.

BetonySerious modern-American fare near Carnegie Hall. An equally serious cocktail program, too. (See full review.)

 

LATE NIGHT ...

Library BarAt the Hudson Hotel, this remains a remarkably civilized place to meet for drinks or a round of pool once you get past the neon escalators.

 

Lobster with blood orange and tarragon at Betony.
Lobster with blood orange and tarragon at Betony.
Photographer: Photographer: Zack DeZon/Bloomberg Business

Go With Family

SixtyFive at Rockefeller PlazaThe best view of New York at this bar off the renovated Rainbow Room. It's easier to get into than the Observation Deck and you can have cocktails and nibbles.

CircoThe inside of this popular Italian spot looks like a circus, which helps with visitors of all ages. Also a great pre- or post-theater option.

Le Relais de Venise: Steak, frites, salad, and wine. You choose well-done, medium, rare. That's it. Exotic enough for family and fairly priced.

La Grenouille: Like being on a 1950s French ocean liner, it's perfect for (formal) family occasions and has the best private room in New York.

Trattoria Dell'Arte: It's hard to imagine a place better suited to dealing with everything for everybody, except its sister, the Redeye Grill.

BrasserieUnder the Seagram building, the space-age design and cool booths make it a great option for power breakfasts or brunch/lunch and dinner with the family.

 

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Peter Elliot is editor of Reserve and manages the lifestyle functions on the Bloomberg Professional service. Opinions expressed are his own. Follow him on Twitter at @mrpeterelliot. 

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