Back to NYC Eats… and Drinks!
Baked by Melissa, 109E 42nd St [BAKERY]
– Multiple locations across the city, 1 great product – bite sized cupcakes!!
Bi Lokma, 212E 45th St [TURKISH]
– This tiny space in East Midtown looks a little out of place amongst a sea of Japanese eateries, but it definitely holds its own when it comes to food!
We sampled 2 mains (Lamb Doner, Stuffed Cabbage) and 1 appetizer (Piyaz – Kidney Beans), and each one was great. The Stuffed Cabbage was the revelation of the evening for me! Service was excellent, and the couple that runs it were sitting a table away from us and made it a point to thank us on our way out. Prices are reasonable and its BYOB, so all in all, a great deal!
Bierhaus, 712 3rd Ave [BEER HALL]
– A great addition to the Beer scene in the city, this one only a stone’s throw away from Grand Central! Inside is a charged, bordering on raucous, atmosphere, all accompanied by a live German band! Good selection of Hofbrau Beers, all served by cute hostesses in Beer maid outfits!! I got their Pretzel to go, which was really good, and came with a generous serving of spicy mustard.
Bistro Vendome, 405 E 58th St [FRENCH]
The townhouse space is enormous, although when we went it didn’t get close to filling up! Of the various choices you have, seating under the huge skylight or the deck (when the weather is favourable) is preferred. Service is efficient, prices are a tad high, but their Prix Fixe Brunch is excellent value for money. The Duck Liver Pate I had as an appetizer was great, the Steak Tartare really well spiced and the Frites done just right. I will be going back here for sure!
Cafe Zaiya, 18E 41st St [JAPANESE]
– A great lunch spot with a wide selection of Japanese food – all of it very good! Their bakery section and ice cream selection is worth more than just a try! Take away and head to Bryant Park!
Cellar Bar, 40 West 40th St [BAR]
– Located in the beautiful Bryant Park Hotel, this bar is best known for being a hot spot during Fashion Week! Haven’t had the opportunity to visit it then but the interiors, the corset clad waitresses and the prices definitely live up to that reputation! Its rumoured to be quite the pick up spot to 😉
Cock & Bull, 23W 45th St [PUB]
– For those looking to mix it up a bit, here’s one of the few all-English pubs in the city, which does a stellar job of all the pub staples like Bangers & Mash, Pot Pie, Steak Sandwiches and the like; and to top it off, has Fullers and Old Speckled Hen on tap! For those wanting to take it easy at lunch, they even do half pints!
Financier Patisserie, 983 1st Ave [COFFEE SHOP / BAKERY]
– I don’t usually endorse chains but Financier is up there with the very best. They’re a ‘NYC only’ chain (the name stems from their flagship store in the Financial Dist), with 9 locations in the city, and the one I’ve tried is their corner location on Sutton Place. They serve an excellent cup of Coffee, a great Almond Croissant and their selection of French Pastries will have you sticking around for a while, guaranteed!
FoodParc, 839 6th Ave [MULTI-CUISINE]
– This could easily be construed as the new age avatar of the food court but it stands out from the rest with a complete absence of any chain restaurants (thankfully!), a beer bar within, cool loungey interiors with stadium seating, and a courtyard at the back! There are about 6 or 7 food/drink options to choose from – each of them unique, giving you a good selection. I went with Asian which was pretty good. They could do with revamping their ordering system though – as fancy as it may appear – and cranking up their aircon in the summer!
Gabby O’Hara’s, 123W 39th St [IRISH PUB]
– Tucked away on a side street in the heart of midtown, yet far from the Times Square crowds, this is a lovely old watering hole, good for after work drinks. Don’t get deceived by the entrance – the interiors are warm and old school!
Galway, 7E 36th St [PUB]
– A goody alternative to the weeknight craziness that is Ginger Man, next door! Good selection of Beers, a pocket-friendly Happy Hour, and good service too, despite the evening buzz. Spread over two levels, it offers plenty of seating and cozy nooks, and a long bar for those drinking alone or in smaller groups!
Gregory’s Coffee, 551 7th Ave [COFFEE SHOP]
– With the Fashion District losing a good Coffee house in Juan Valdez, Gregory’s amply fills that void with a well brewed Cup of Joe!
Güllüoğlu, 982 Second Ave [TURKISH]
– This Cafe serves some of the best Borek (pies) and Baklava I’ve had in the city – no wonder it came highly recommended by my Turkish colleagues! Breakfast is a good time to go and enjoy their unique Egg preparations and excellent Turkish Coffee!
Ipanema, 13W 46th St [BRAZILIAN]
– Off the beaten path of ‘Little Brazil Street’, this family friendly establishment serves up fabulous steaks, some amazing beans and rice and a mean Caipirinha!
Johnny Utah’s, 25 West 51st St [BAR]
– Great spot for after work drinks, in an otherwise touristy midtown neighbourhood! Their star attraction is the electric Bull, although be sure to try your luck on it before you’ve sampled their bar menu – which tends to be tasty (as bar food gets!) and large in portions!
Keens Steakhouse, 72W 36th St [STEAK]
– In terms of a dining experience, this is probably as old school New York as it gets! Warm vintage interiors (dating from the late 19th century), creaking hardwood floors, and the world’s largest collection of Churchwarden Pipes (just look above as you dine!) make up this fine culinary institution which harks back to the days of the former Theater District. Am still to try their famed Mutton Chop but suffice to say the rest of their food is good – the steaks, fish, sides, and especially their thick cut smoked Bacon! The place can be a little dressy and IS certainly pricey!
KunJip, 9W 32nd St [KOREAN]
– Have tried a handful of eateries in Korea town but nothing beats KunJip! Their Bulgogi, Galbi and Bibimbap are all awesome and if you happen to crave any of these at 4 in the morning, worry not cause this joint is open 24 hours!
Lily O’Brien’s, 36W 40th St [CHOCOLATIER]
– The perfect place to indulge yourself after a lazy lunch at Bryant Park! Think Hot Chocolate, and still more Chocolates, of the Irish kind!
Luke’s Lobster, The Plaza Food Hall, 1W 59th St [SEAFOOD]
– “Taste of Maine” is the thing to get here – a half roll each of the Lobster, Crab and Shrimp – each of them fresh and divine! For 20 bucks, they also throw in a soda and a bag of chips – great deal all around, especially when you consider the high quality of seafood your getting for your buck! Multiple locations across the city.
Menchanko-Tei, 131E 45th St [JAPANESE]
– This place easily has the best Ramen I’ve tried in the city so far! Not only are their noodles good but so is their broth, and the best part is its not at all heavy on the salt! Better still, you have the option of ordering a half serving, which is advisable if you want to have a go at the rest of their very tempting menu! Functional, Japanese like interiors, spread over two levels, with efficient service and reasonable prices.
Naya, 1057 2nd Ave [LEBANESE]
– A very modern space, comprising a narrow corridor lined with booths, and a separate dining area (conducive to groups) in the rear, located strategically under a skylight! Service is good, prices are fairly reasonable, and the Mezzes are excellent. Probably some of the best Tabboule I’ve had in the city, great Baba Ghannouj and Muhammara too!
Onya, 143E 47th St [JAPANESE]
– Another Japanese gem in East Midtown, this is, so far, my go to spot for Udon! Other than that they do some excellent small plates, most notably their Tempura and spicy Tuna. Friendly staff, efficient service, reasonably priced, and with $3 bottles of Sapporo during Happy Hour, and a seating area under a skylight, you can’t go wrong here!
Pod 39 Rooftop, 145E 39th St [ROOFTOP BAR]
– One of the most fun rooftop bars in midtown, set amongst old columns, arches and fairy lights, with stunning views of the skyline around. The bar area can get extremely crowded on weeknights but the bar keeps are more than capable, and a friendly bunch too. If your looking to make a long night of it – and trust me, the place is conducive to that – be warned that there are no eats upstairs. You will have to make your way down to Salvation Taco – not the worst way to end your night 😉
Sakagura, 211E 43rd St [JAPANESE]
– To call this merely a Sake Bar would be unjust – it offers much more than one of the best Sake and Soju selections in the city! The overall experience – from its completely obscure location (in the basement of a midtown office building!) to the quality of food, drink, service and decor – can best be described as a treat. At the end of it, you could be forgiven for believing you were sitting somewhere in midtown Tokyo, not so much NYC! Everything we ordered was excellent, most notably the Fluke Sashimi, the Chilled Roasted Duck, the Pork Belly, and for desert, Pear Millefeuille, a true work of art. Beware though, this place is pricey and the Sake will get you, but its every bit worth it!
Salvation Taco, Pod 39 Hotel, 145E 39th St [MEXICAN]
– A colourful and buzzing spot, with awesome decor, generous space up front and by the bar, and an expansive space in the rear, conducive to larger groups, with plenty of cozy nooks to choose from. Service is prompt, prices are affordable and their menu is innovative, to say the least. The Korean BBQ Tacos were the pick from the lot we ordered, followed by the Moroccan Lamb on Naan (the latter a tad salty for my taste). Save space for desert (a rotating menu) if you can, for they do a great job of it!
Sarabeth’s, 40 Central Park South [AMERICAN / BRUNCH]
– Multiple locations in the city but this is the only one I’ve eaten at. The original one also happens to be on the UWS. Service can be a little rushed, especially during weekends, and it does attract its fair share of tourists, being so close to the park! That said, the brunch is good and this particular venue, decidedly old school!
Sip Sak, 928 2nd Ave [TURKISH]
– Lovely warm interiors, with a gorgeous ceiling, greet you into this fine Turkish establishment. Friendly service follows suit and slowly you’re lulled into culinary bliss! We tried the Eggplant Salad, Moussaka and Adana Kebab, all served with the most amazing bread on the side. Every single dish was excellent! Possibly some of the best Turkish food I’ve had in the city.
Soba Totto, 211E 43rd St [JAPANESE]
– A great spot for handmade Soba and Yakitori, with lovely interiors, great service and an extensive Sake menu! Noteworthy amongst the selection of Yakitori we ordered was the Harami (Skirt Steak and Onion), not just for its name 😉
Southwest Porch, SW corner of Bryant Park on 40th St & 6th Ave [BAR]
– Opened at Bryant Park in the summer of ’09 by Southwest Airlines, to coincide with their service launch from LGA, this is a great after work drinking spot in one of the city’s most lovable parks! Open air setting with plenty of porch swings and wooden couches to choose from!
Tao, 42E 58th St [ASIAN FUSION]
– East Midtown’s answer to Buddakan, with attitude spewing hostesses up front! Once your past them, the humongous space, buzzing scene (which is a tad loud!) and excellent food more than make up for it! The Sushi is very good here but what I found exceptional was their Edamame, Shitake Mushrooms, and Chilean Sea Bass! Prices are definitely steep but not outrageous for a place like this! Helpings are generous too.
Tavern 29, 47E 29th St [BAR]
– Multi-level bar space, with a seasonal rooftop garden, Tavern 29 is a good option for this part of town, which doesn’t boast of too many bars. Well appointed interiors, a buzzing bar scene on weeknights, and a good selection of craft beers on tap.
The Ginger Man, 11E 36th St [BAR]
– Quite easily the best selection of beers in the city! Need I say more??
The Liberty, 29W 35th St [BAR]
– A well designed, cavernous space, offering another good option to grab a drink in midtown, close enough to transit, yet far removed from the hustle of Herald Square shoppers! The black granite bar in the middle is a class act, and a good vantage from which to watch the post-work set. Good selection of Beers, Wines and Cocktails and good bar food too, the Wings especially!
The Plaza Food Hall, 1 W 59th St [MULTI-CUISINE]
– This classy food hall in the basement of the recently renovated Plaza Hotel, is a great boon to the area, which has so far been overrun by touristy joints! Great selection of food and drink to choose from, including an enticing looking bakery section. I tried their crispy Eggplant Pizza which was very good, if not a little salty, and also shared a plate of Sushi with a friend, which was excellent. A little on the pricey side, and can end up being a bit of a wait, but worthwhile in my opinion!
Tulsi, 211E 46th St [INDIAN]
– The interiors are some of the more aesthetic you’re likely to find in an Indian restaurant, including a nice bar / lounge area upfront. We went in a large group and tried a lot of things – the Parsi-style Fish and Lamb Chops were my two favourites and dishes that I would recommend for sure! Somethings to watch out for – service tends to be sloppy here, the bigger your group! And probably the biggest con for me, this place is expensive, so save it for a special occasion!
Vatan, 409 3rd Ave [INDIAN]
– One of the few Indian restaurants serving an authentic Gujarati Thali in the city with a fitting ambiance to boot! Big appetites only!!
Zeytinz, 24 West 40th St [MEDITERRANEAN / DELI]
– This spacious Deli includes a grocery section and offers everything from Sandwiches to Sushi, all of it fresh, filling and well priced. Save some space for their Bakery items which include some of the best Rugelach I’ve had in the city! If you’re not in a rush, they have a generous seating area upstairs with views of Bryant Park to boot!