(34th-59th) (east of 6th)
Morso: Italian. 420 E 59th St @ 1st Av-York; 25/23/$60; 759-2706; www.morso-nyc.com/; Chef/owner Pino Luongo cares about his cliental; Contemporary Italian with Pop Art on the walls; Service all around excellent – especially for regulars; Baked Calamari; Grilled Octopus; Home-made pastas – Spaghetti Carbonara; Pasta – can order small or large portion; Osso Buco; Grilled Veal cutlet;
Le Cirque: French. 151 E 58th St @ Lex-3rd; 24/26/$50; 644-0202; http://lecirque.com/; Nearly 40 years old – an institution at this point; Gorgeous décor featuring tons of celebrity photos with famed owner Sirio Maccioni; $28 lunch prix fixe to save; Jackets required in main dining room; There is a more casual café- MUCH cheaper; Most of the dishes have a seafood element to them; Daily specials – see website; In the Bloomberg building; Suggestion – Le Cirque Café $38 dinner prix fixe; Main dining room is 4 courses $125.
Rosa Mexicana: Mexican. 1063 1st Av @ 58th; 22/21/$48; 753-7407; www.rosamexicano.com; Rosa remains a fun, hip-ish place to take a date and enjoy upscale Mexican; Guacamole made at table is best in the city, sorry Dos Caminos and everywhere else – love their formula; Pomegranate Margaritas top notch and strong; Well decorated; There is a reason they became a mini-chain.
Dawat: Indian. 210 E 58th @ 2-3rd; 23/19/$43; 355-7555; High end Indian – Quiet but cool; Date spot if you risk Indian for a date; Stylish décor & a best bet for gourmet Indian; Been around since 1986 headlined by Chef Madhur Jaffrey; Where else can you get Goat-Fish curry; Lobster available as well; Naan and the other ‘usual’ Indian selections, all with a unique spin, available on the menu. Chicken Makhani.
Chola: Indian. 232 E 58th; @ 2-3rd; 25/17/$44; 688-4619; http://www.cholany.com/; Huge menu; Outstanding food; Great $14.95 lunch buffet; Lots of freebies given as well. Service top notch. Personal Iannation favorite! Service and comfort are top notch; The food is flat out outstanding; Chicken Tiki Masala and Naan make an Indian for a non-Asian and this place delivers.
Club A Steakhouse: Steakhouse. 240 E 58th @ 2nd-3rd Av; 26/23/$85; 688-4190; www.clubasteakhouse.com; What a gorgeous, female friendly steakhouse; Menu is amazing feature these classics: Canadian Bacon, Escargot, Lobster & King Crab cocktails, Smoked Salmon, Tomatoe & Buff Mozz, 10+ seafood entrees, Kobe Beef, 3 sides for $24 including Mac n Cheese, Filet Mignon, Prime Rib, Veal Chop, Lamb Chops, Short Ribs. Heaven. Fireplace-equipped setting.
Felidia: Italian. 243 58th @ 2nd-3rd Av; 26/22/$90; 758-1479; www.felidia-nyc.com/#; Lidia Bastianich’s NY Times 3-star rated flagship; Stunning meals and impeccable service; Pricy but worth the splurge; Limited menu but quality and presentation in each dish; Bright, happy vibe to the place; Superb wine list; 5 course tasting menu ($90) is affordable and there is a 6 course tasting menu for $95; $36 3 course lunch prix fixe; Elegant, clean setting; Whole Bronzino; Smoked Salmon;
Tao: Pan Asian. 42 E 58th @ Mad-Park; 22/26/$59; 888-2288; www.taorestaurant.com; Just a huge club atmosphere with truly excellent food as well; Very Noisy; Great scene & bar; Beautiful décor & staff; Food is Asian mix; Fancy drinks and a fun experience with mind-blowing décor. Best suited for partying couples out on dates in their 20s. Food though – is actually quite great. For a quieter dinner, go Monday- Wednesday. Sushi as well. Cocktails $16 and endless drinks to choose from. Order lots of small plates/ Dim Sum.
Quality Meats: Steakhouse. 57 W 58th @ 5th-6th Av; 25/24/$81; 371-7777; www.qualitymeatsnyc.com; Lets start with dessert- homemade ice cream! 1920s butcher shop setting- but still elegant and very sophisticated inside; More of a different kind of menu appetizer wise and unique sides as well; See website; Shellfish and oysters and bone marrow and veal shank – all rarely seen appear here. Steaks great of course. Grilled Bacon; Tuna or steak tartare; Sexy modern setting. Short ribs; Halibut.
Brasserie 8 ½ : French. 9 W 57th @ 5th – 6th Av; 22/23/$59; 829-0812; www.patinagroup.com; New French in an amazing atmosphere; Has both intimate dining available and a happening bar scene in the spacious setting; Huge place with a spiral staircase- impress your friends; Insane $34 Brunch Buffet- GO. Endless Mimosas for $14; Incredible dinner appetizers, Mac n Cheese side; Seafood Plateau and Oysters bar options. Delicious. Dinner features $42 prix fixe.
BLT Steak: Steakhouse. 106 57th St @ Lex-Park; 23/22/$84; The original in Laurent Tourondel’s empire; Top notch cooking; Always popular; Only porterhouse for 2 is giant; Modest cuts for genre but sauces and sides amazing as is service. Multiple international locations; Bistro ambiance; Smoked Bacon, Lobster Cobb salad on appetizer list; Can choose sauces for steaks; Fish and shellfish available. Popular with the business crowd in area. Pricy – seafood tower is $100; Bronzino, sole and salmon are fish options.
Sofrito: Puerto Rican. 400 E 57th @ 1st Av – Sutton; 22/20/39; www.sofritony.com; Party atmosphere; Sangrias; Mojitos; Authentic food; Fun setting; Huge portions- be ready to share. Can get loud but it’s a party. Probably a great spot for a birthday or party or a larger group; Quality is hit or miss but always at least tasty; Try a Red Snapper dish. Sunday Brunch with 1 cocktail; Seafood stew; Grilled Shrimp; Skirt Steak.
Il Tinello: Italian. 16 W 56th @ 5th Av; 25/22/$65; 245-4388; www.iltinellony.com/; Old school, luxurious setting; Waiters with black ties cater to you; Maybe an older crowd – less hip – but it features spot-on food preparation; Major hot spot for a business lunch; Huge menu – all the normal classics featured along with a few specials; Main courses are $25-$35 and apps in the $17 range. Rave reviews on most sites. Small portions.
Uncle Jack’s Steakhouse: Steakhouse. 44 W 56th @ 5th Av; 245-1550; 23/20/$76; www.unclejacks.com; Melt in your mouth giant cuts of beef; 3 pound porterhouse for 2 for $85; Carnivore’s delight; Old school scene- boy’s clubs; Tremendous Martinis; Tuna Tartare, amazing Crab Cakes, Buff Mozz & Tomatoes; Bacon appetizer; Kobe meatballs; Prime Rib, Prime Filet; No real seafood on the menu except appetizers. Huge portions. Brunch menu as well.
Naya: Lebanese. 1057 2nd Av @ 55th-56th; 24/18/$31; 319-7777; www.nayarestaurants.com; Fresh, modern design and good service; All white interior – mini booths; Wine $9-$12; About 30 appetizers, mostly a variety of “Mezze” and there is such a mouthwatering assortment to choose from; See website; Lamb, beef, chicken and fish entrees including Striped Bass and incredible mixed grills. Amazing falafel. $6 beers. Huge menu.
Aquavit: Scandinavian. 65 E 55th @ Park Av; 27/24/$130; 307-7311; www.aquavit.org/; 2 star Michelin masterpiece; Nordic cuisine at its best this side of the Atlantic; $52 for 3 course lunch might be way to go; Gravlox sent from heaven; 3 options for dinner – all prix fixe: $95 (3 courses), $115 (6 courses) or $145 (9 courses) a person; Has a strong Swedish influence. Worthy of a once a year splurge.
Angus Club: Steakhouse. 135 E 55th @ Lex; 25/24/$80; 588-1585; www.angusclubsteakhouse.com/; Very upscale for its genre; Stylish décor – fancy almost; Elegant and great service; Killer cocktails and martinis; Menu is large – apps include Seafood Platter, Shrimp Cocktail, Yellowfin Tuna Tartare, Oysters & Clams, Lamb Chops, Mozz & Tomatoes; Main courses: Porterhouse for 2-4; Filet Mignon; NY Sirloin; Rib Eye; Veal Chop; Sea Bass; Lobster Tails; 3 LB Lobsters; Yellow Fin Tuna; Norweigian Salmon.
Lychee House: Chinese. 141 E 55th @ Lex-3rd; 25/15/$32; 753-3900; Shanghai classics as well as Malaysian curries and Dim Sum; High-end, Semi-elegant, yet casual (jeans fine); Overall, winning sit-down quality Chinese food. Try the Duet Prawns- 8 of them, half in Grand Marnier, half in salt/pepper; Replaced “Our Place”; Full Dim Sum available weekends- though far pricier than Chinatown. Huge menu. Dumplings galore; Cocktails!
Shun Lee Palace: Chinese. 155 E 55th St @ Lex-3rd; 24/21/$54; 371-8844; Upscale Chinese; Silky service; Gourmet dining; 5 different Duck entrees; Top of the line in the city; Expensive for genre but amazing quality; Silky smooth service. Been around 4 decades; Truly, if you want a ‘fancy’ Chinese experience, give this one a try; Creative menu with unique dishes & also the usuals – spruced up. Open daily for lunch/dinner.
Il Gattopardo: Italian. 33 W 54th @ 5th-6th Av; 24/21/$57; 246-0412; www.ilgattopardonyc.com; MOMA crowd settles in for expensive, yet wonderfully prepared meals; Southern Italian; How about: Smoked Mozz with Tomatoes followed by Linguine with baby clams and then the braised Ossobuco; Medium sized menu; The staff stands out as they are seemingly there to make you happy; Townhouse setting. Seasonal Menu – see website;
Nerai: Greek. 55 E 54th St @ Park-Madison; 25/26/$68; 759-5554; https://nerainyc.com/; Seafood focused cuisine; Popular for lunch as it is located in business central; Prix Fixe lunch; Try the trio of spreads with Pita; Dessert must include Baklava; The space is gorgeous – also idea for a date; White table cloths, chairs and curtains; Saganaki Sticks; Spanakopita; Yellowfin Tuna Tartare; Char-grilled Octopus; Grilled Calamari; Greek Salad is tops; Icelandic Cod; Beef Cheek Pastichio; Duck Moussaka; Lavraki (Sea Bass); Other fish – whole fish available.
Wolfgang’s Steakhouse: Steakhouse. 200 E 54th @ 3rd Av; 26/20/$84; 588-9653; www.wolfgangssteakhouse.net; Started by former head waiter at Peter Lugar’s; Incredible Porterhouse; Wildly popular; Vaulted ceilings; Laid back, with old-school cool; Gorgeous décor and fish-friendly menu as well; Gruff waiters; Creamed spinach & German potatoes are famous; Bacon by the slice; Freshest Mozz; Sea Bass; Yellowfin Tuna; Rib Eye; One of 5 Manhattan locations. Masterfully done steaks – top 3 in city.
Jubilee: French. 347 E 54th @ 1-2nd; 23/16/$44; 888-3569; Exactly the menu you want to look at in a French Bistro; Mussels are the best here; Ultra French feel. Older crowd; Brunch and dinner available; Affordable menu; Fish soup with side of Swiss cheese; Crab cake; Escargot; Yellowfin Tuna tartare; There are a dozen varieties of mussels to choose from; Poached salmon; Soft Shell crabs. Brunch (sat, sun 12-3) for $28 includes 3 Bloody Marys or Mimosas and 2 courses.
China Grill: Asian. 60 W 53rd @ 5th-6th Av; 23/21/$62; 333-7788; www.chinagrillmgt.com; More of an Asian fusion, upscale option; Spicy beef and scallion dumplings to die for; Lively scene with a bustling bar for pre-dinner drinks; Happy hour 4-8pm creates a pick-up scene here; Same ownership as Asia de Cuba; Prix fixe options available for lunch & dinner; Excellent menu- but pricy for the genre. Great for a big party.
Fogo de Chao: Brazilian. 40 W 53rd @ 5th-6th Av; 25/24/$70; 969-9980; http://fogodechao.com/location/new-york; All you can eat meat extravaganza; Near Roch Center; Beautiful triplex setting – like a ballroom; Best cuts of meat are the beef – sirloin and other steaks; Huge salad bar to accompany the feast; Dinner is $63 for full experience. It is $40 for lunch. If you get less items or just salad bar it is $29/$18. Amazing quality.
Casa Lever: Italian. 390 Park Av @ 53rd; 22/25/$79; 888-2700; www.casalever.com; First up, ultra modern décor featuring Andy Warhol paintings along the walls; Power lunch central; Chic and cool vibe; Medium sized menu but honestly – way expensive; There is a $39 Prix Fixe lunch menu; Huge, excellent wine list. Certainly a high-end scene featuring expertly prepared Milanese cuisine. Great lounge area. Raw Bar; Have a discount $39 prix fixe but only 3-4 choices.
Hillstone: American. 153 E 53rd @ 3rd Ave; 22/19/$58; 888-3828; www.hillstone.com; Upscale pub highlighted by an excellent bar scene; Major after-work scene; Chicken fingers- off the menu; Upscale entrees and even sushi offered (multiple special rolls); Great place for a within-budget American meal. Other standouts: Spinach & Artichoke Dip, Veggie Burger, Grilled Artichokes, Rib Eye, Arctic Char, Crab Cakes.
Peking Duck House: Chinese. 236 E 53rd @ 2-3rd; 23/17/$42; 759-8260; www.pekingduckhousenyc.com; Crispy Duck; Get the signature dish skillfully carved at your table; Has all the usual Chinese dishes as well; Select the 3-way duck- they make a soup & stir fry with leftovers. BYO with no fee; Great service for the genre; Large portions and reasonably priced to boot. Great for larger groups. Nicer than Chinatown sibling.
Le Perigord: French. 405 E 52nd @ 1st Av-FDR; 23/22/$68; 755-6244; www.leperigord.com; Old school classic French – catering to an older crowd; Huge place, like a banquet hall; Amazing baguettes and bread; Escargot to die for; Try the Lobster – prepared wonderfully with Coriander broth; Sea Scallops with Risotto; $75 set price for 3-course meal; Tons to choose from; Ideal family dining setting; Lunch served as well.
Limani: Mediterranean. 45 Rock Plaza @ 5th-6th Av; 24/25/$65; www.limani.com/nyc/; Gem of a find in Rock Plaza; Elegant setting with amazing seafood; Grilled Octopus or Calamari; Raw bar is outstanding – try the Big Eye Tuna; For main courses the whole fish with multiple options is my favorite; Halibut, Swordfish, Tuna, Snapper, Lobster, Langostines, and many steaks – Lamb Chops, Veal Chop. Stuffed Calamari too.
Amma: Indian; 246 E 51st @ 2-3rd; 26/18/$46; 644-8330; www.annanyc.com; Broad range of great food; Considered by many the best Indian in Manhattan and it gets better every year; Zagat’s Top choice; Truly good & not crowded. Gracious service & helpful staff; Lunch specials – 1 app and 1 entrée for $12.95; Pricy for dinner for genre but worth it. Very personable service; Lamb and chicken dishes stand out.
Del Frisco’s Grill: Steakhouse. 60 Rockefeller Plz @ 50-51st; 23/22/$55; 767-0371; Offshoot of the bigger flagship location; This spot is ideal for a weekend lunch or a more modestly priced dinner; Great location in tourist central; Big happy hour scene starting at 5pm; The menu is vast and affordable- steaks $45 or so and apps and salads in the teens. Cocktails are pricy of course. Great way to experience a high end steakhouse with less pain on the wallet. But truthfully, this location not as good as original.
Socarrat Paella Bar: Spanish. 953 2nd Av @ 50-51st; 24/16/$45; 759-0101; www.socarratnyc.com/; They feature 6 varieties of Paella and a large assortment of Tapas; Downside is communal seating at a lengthy table; Fun time. Has an adjoining wine bar; Just come here and share a Paella and 1 or 2 Tapas as appetizers as this place will blow you away with its authenticity. Go early to avoid crowds. Flamenco every Tuesday. Unlimited sangria for $20 with Brunch. Grilled Calamari.
Crave Fishbar: Seafood; 945 2nd Ave @ 50th-51st; 24/19/$55; 646-895-9585; http://cravefishbar.com/; Casual coastal-rustic setting; Reasonable rates; $1 oysters at happy hour; Squid ink pasta; Tuna Tartare; Snapper Sashimi; Burrata; Seared Rare Yellowfin Tuna; Lobster Curry; Also, you can order a $45 sampler raw bar appetizer; Also they offer Jonah Crab Claws. I like this place more for lunch. Upper West Side location too.
Dos Caminos: Mexican. 825 3rd Av @ 50th; 21/21/$48; 336-5400; www.doscaminos.com/; Great upscale Mexican, though becoming more of a chain; Sexy, young, hip setting in all locations; Energetic scene perfect for Dates or larger groups; Margaritas will put you under; Guacamole is tremendous; Steve Hanson empire journeys on. Can be loud and service a bit iffy. Best of the mid-level Mexicans. Reliable fare & polished service.
Maloney & Porcelli: Steakhouse. 37 E 50th @ Madison-Park; 24/21/$76; 750-2233; www.maloneyandporcelli.com; Crackling pork shank is signature for $29; Martinis galore; Huge slabs of beef; 28 ounce rib steak; Incredible au gratin; 5 pound lobsters; Loud but great time. Five different styles of Filet Mignon; Braised short ribs; Fish selections; Slightly cheaper than others in the genre. Try a giant martini – perfectly made. King Crab appetizer; Lump Crab; Burrata; Tuna Tartare; Lots of lobster options; Bronzini; Osso Buco.
Sip Sak: Turkish. 928 2nd Av @ 49-50th; 21/14/$37; 583-1900; www.sip-sak.com; Hole in the wall setting but truly tasty delights; Tons of specials & genius appetizers; Lamb kebabs and specials, salmon; Festive local atmosphere; Very inexpensive and they offer gracious service; Try the Osso Buco, Grilled Lamb on skewers or the Lamb Chops. Sea Bass and a nice local Wine list. Lamb Osso Buco.
Sea Grill: Seafood. 19 W 49th @ 5th-6th Av; 23/25/$65; 332-7610; www.theseagrillnyc.com; The highlight here are the views of the famous Rock Center skating rink; Beautiful setting in summer or winter; Gracious service; Excellent quality shellfish and fish; Extremely touristy; Lobster tail on risotto; Crab Cakes; They serve lunch, Dinner, Dessert, Pre-Theater; Great for groups; Yellowfin Tuna; 3 course Lobster Prix-fixe menu available for $49; Chilled shellfish platter; Small menu for genre.
Smith & Wollensky: Steakhouse. 797 3rd @ 49th; 24/20/$79; 753-1530; www.smithandwollensky.com; Huge portions; Old school; Wollensky’s Grill next door; Macho feel; Biz types & their escorts. Wisecracking waiters. They make their own wine; Really a gorgeous interior; Stone Crab appetizer; Prime Rib; Filet Mignons of different variety; Lamb and veal chops; Surf and turf; Chilled Lobster cocktail; Seared Salmon; Love the variety of sides; Smoked Burrata;
Wollensky’s Grill: Steakhouse. 201 E 49th @ 3rd Av; 23/18/$63; 753-0444; www.smithandwollensky.com; The less expensive yet still excellent sister restaurant to Smith & Wollensky. Open late til 2am; Great steaks; Fun bar scene; Tuna Tartare; An amazing Burger for $17; Lobster Roll; Cobb Salad; Ribs; Prime Rib. The menu is far shorter than the parent but a great bargain. Consider it budget steakhouse dining.
Pampano: Mexican. 209 E 49th @ 2nd-3rd; 25/23/$59; 751-4545; www.richardsandoval.com/pampano/; Famous chef Richard Sandoval; Elegant, Seafood oriented menu; Classy great Mexican; High energy staffers; Tuna steak; Black bass; Two levels; Great for parties and large groups as well; European infused Mexican. Other Pros: Lobster Tacos, Attentive service, Romantic for a Mexican, Sandoval does no wrong! Bottomless brunch for $47/person. Classy date spot or great for larger party.
Bukhara Grill: Indian. 217 49th @ 2-3rd; 23/15/$37; 888-2839; www.bukharany.com; Great 16 course all you can eat, 7 day a week, $16.95 lunch buffet; Dependable and reasonably priced; 2nd floor terrace; Flavorful dishes. Simply the best choice in area for Indian buffet; Butter chicken (chicken makhani) out of this world; Naan always hot and fluffy; Giant dinner menu. North Indian classics. Improving service. Flavorful dishes.
Il Postino: Italian. 337 E 49th @ 1st-2nd Av; 23/20/$61; 688-0033; http://ilpostinony.com/; Forget the menu and enjoy hearing the endless specials from the waiters; U.N. / older crowd; Ideal restaurant to take your parents or for a special occasion; Order the crabmeat linguine pasta if they have it that night; Authentic Italian cuisine served by Italians- great feeling coming here. Lun ch prix fixe for $29; Apps include Burrata, prosciutto, calamari, tuna tartare and baked clams.
Hatsuhana: Japanese. 17 E 48th St @ 5thAv – Mad; 25/18/$54; 355-3345; www.hatsuhana.com; One of the original sushi houses in NYC – 4 decades old; 9 section Bento Box of ‘Dreams’. Freshest sushi, sashimi and rolls. The menu is to die for: Boiled King Crab appetizer; Spicy Tempura; Lobster Tempura; About 30+ delicious appetizers in all; For dinner – the “Pick 10” for $37 where you pick 10 pieces of Sushi and 1 roll. Teriyaki dinners available; Largest overall menu of mouthwatering selections in the city. Business lunch perfection.
Avra: Greek. 141 E 48th @ Lex-3rd; 26/22/$64 759-8550; www.avrany.com; Greek seafooder with freshest possible fish; Classic preparations but the various grilled whole fish stand out. Fish priced per pound so beware of pricy main course. However, you will forget $$ after one bite of seafood perfection. They always have specials and will describe the fish for you and show you the one they will prepare in the back! Gorgeous space. Outdoor seating; Also- have endless other selections, mostly seafood. Amazing brunch – 1 drink. Grilled Calamari.
Sea Fire Grill: Seafood. 158 E 48th @ Lex-3rd; 27/25/$80; 935-3785; http://theseafiregrill.com/#./home; Amazing décor and spectacular service; This seafooder-steakhouse combo hot spot keeps regulars coming back; Highlights include a perfect lobster roll; Lobster Mac & Cheese side and crab cakes; Other key dishes include Lobster stuffed with Crab, an excellent Raw Bar, Yellowfin Tuna tartare, Steak Tartare, Madagascar Prawns, Halibut, Red Snapper, Bronzino, King Crab Legs and 4 different kinds of delicious steaks.
Alcala: Spanish. 342 E 46th @ 1-2nd; 24/19/$45; 370-1866; www.alcalarestaurant.nyc Near the UN, this is a charming, cozy Tapas restaurant with many traditional Spanish classics. Variety-filled menu. Try the Garden in spring! Pleasant setting and gracious hosts; Website is awesome- has pictures of every Tapas and main course and appetizer; Affordable cuisine; 100+ different wines; About 30 different Tapas; Seafood salad.
Sparks: Steakhouse. 210 E 46th @ 2-3rd Av; 25/21/$87; 687-4855; www.sparkssteakhouse.com; Big (ie huge) steaks; Endless wine list- famous for their wines; Hugely popular; Biz types. Old boy network; Gruff service; Signature sirloin; Always packed; Lots of seafood available- Tuna, Trout, Salmon, Halibut; Lump Crab Meat; Lobster Tails and Broiled Shrimp; Mozz & Tomatoes; Sea Bass; Veal Chop, Lamb Chops, Filet, 5 pound lobsters! Around since 1966; Temple of beef!
Grifone: Italian. 244 E 46th; @ 2nd-3rd Av; 24/18/$64; 490-7275; www.yelp.com/biz/ristorante-grifone-new-york; Real old school Italian with wonderful personal service; Italian food from Italians… made right; Try the Rigatoni with Veal Ragu – or any of the homemade pastas with ‘meat’ ragu – so delicious; Lots of specials; Ideal for lunch to save a few bucks as it’s pricy; Grilled Octopus; As of last update – no website.
Darbar: Indian. 152 E 46th @ Lex-3rd; 21/15/$34; 681-4500; www.darbarny.com; The cheapest of the ‘high end’ Indians in this area; $11.95 lunch buffet; Excellent choice; Split level setting; Locals love it; Very inexpensive. While nothing fancy, it is on par with the 6th Street Indian restaurants and a great option to the fancified East 50s Indian \restaurants in the area. Lamb vindaloo is amazing. Menu is endless – tons of goat option!
Vitae: American. 4 E 46th @ 5th Av-Madison; 24/20/$65; 682-3562; www.vitaenyc.com/; Bi level New American restaurant and also cocktail and wine bar; Great for after work; Modern space; Personable service; Closed Sunday; Ideal weekday lunch spot as well; 4 course tasting menu is $75; Otherwise, Apps include Burrata, Veal meatballs, Tuna & Hamachi Crudo; Pulled Pork Tacos; Mains include Lamb Cavatelli; Squash Risotto; Arctic Cod; Brook Trout; King Crab & Long Island Duck. Great looking menu.
Akdeniz: Turkish. 19 W 46th @ 5-6th; 22/14/$29; 575-2307; http://akdeniz46.com/ Turkish; Dirt cheap, bargain prices for excellent meze, breads, spreads, amazing grilled fish. Good service; Small spot’ While décor isn’t anything special- the food can be. Huge menu with Greek/ Mediterranean influences. They put in a strong effort to please. Large menu including Grilled Bronzino, Lamb Chops.
Morton’s: Steakhouse. 551 5th Av @ 45th; 23/22/$80; 972-3315; www.mortons.com; Clubby, dark place; Beef orgy; Porterhouse is outstanding; Old school vibe; Mammoth sides; Tableside preview of beef.; They are a chain but wow they do it right; Features ultra friendly service; Incredible appetizers – Tuna Tartare, Crab Cake, Shrimp Alexander stand out; Chicago style Ribeye, Sea Bass, Lobster all available. Double Cut Filet. There is now a ‘grill’ off shoot for cheaper prices. Chocolate Mousse dessert.
Aburiya Kinnosuke: Japanese. 213 E 45th @ 2-3rd; 25/20/$50; 867-5454; www.aburiyakinnosuke.com; Japanese Grill; Like being in Tokyo; Open Kitchen. Sushi-free dining. Meticulous attention to detail. Refreshing to have traditional grilled Japanese selections. Discount lunch specials; Eclectic Japanese. Well prepared plates; If you love tofu – best in city. Seafood top notch. Food in traditional Izakaya style. Outstanding meatballs
Ammos: Greek. 52 Vanderbilt Av @ 44th-45th; 22/22/$53; 922-9999; www.ammosnewyork.com; Large spacious place that caters to a hopping lunch crowd; Modern interior that resembles a large open-air home; Freshest fish served whole as seafood is the house specialty; Giant menu of 15+ appetizers – all look incredible; Main course salads, some pastas, lamb shank and the aforementioned seafood. Something for everyone. Hot bar scene. Grilled \Calamari; Incredibly huge menu – ideal.
Palm Too: Steakhouse. 840 2nd Av @ 44th-45th; 25/19/$76; 697-5198; www.thepalm.com; Gargantuan steaks and enormous lobsters; No-nonsense; Saloon type décor. Original location closed but 3 total in NYC; Old style feel. It is a chain restaurant now, losing some of its cache; Seared Ahi Tuna; They do have amazing sides; Rib Eye, Filet Mignon, and King Crab Legs. Italian on menu too. Lobsters up to 5 pounds. Huge menu.
DB Bistro Moderne: French. 55 W 44th @ 5th-6th Av; 24/20/$63; 391-2400; www.dbbistro.com/nyc/; Chef Daniel Boulud’s attempt to go hip and cool which mostly succeeds; Signature $35 burger; $50 pre-theater prix-fixe is the best deal; Contemporary setting and great wine bar as well; Breakfast, Brunch and lunch also served; Menu is actually very mouthwatering and affordable overall (barely). Happy Hour at bar 3-6pm;
Kellari Taverna: Greek. 19 W 44th @ 5-6th; 22/22/$58; 221-0144; www.kellari.us; Amazing whole fish served here; Spacious and gracious service; Pricy but excellent Greek fare. Lively scene with energy to enjoy your meal; Popular area lunch spot; Four different 4-course tasting menus to choose from at different prices; Even have brunch and cocktail party events. Grilled Octopus; Spicy Tuna Poke; Lavraki.
La Fonda del Sol: Spanish. 200 Park Av @ 44th; Met Life Building; 22/22/$57; 867-6767; www.patinagroup.com; Lively lunch scene and lively after work scene; Excellent bar with specialty cocktails; They feature a Tapas lounge and a dining room; Not as big a menu as you’d normally find in a Spanish restaurant; Excellent wines; Spacious setting for the genre; Excellent after work dinner option. Above Grand Central.
Sakagura: Japanese. 211 E 43rd @ 2-3rd; 26/22/$54; 953-7253; www.sakagura.com; Highly rated Sake Bar/Rest with 200+ kinds of Sake; Spacious and welcoming; Quality rivals Tokyo; Authentic Cuisine; Japanese small plates are the specialty, similar to Tapas; Just wildly popular and highly rated; Hard to find basement location in an office building; About 60 items on the menu including sushi/ sashimi selections. Unique in all ways. Bamboo rich setting. Grilled Squid (calamari); No special sushi rolls.
Sushi Yasuda: Japanese. 204 E 43rd @ 2-3rd; 28/22/$78; 972-1001; www.sushiyasuda.com; Top 3 in Zagats for Sushi year after year; Unique menu every day. Fish so fresh you’ll feel like you are dining under water; The best. Period. NY Times 3 stars; For $24 for lunch- sushi combo and you can choose the fish; Attentive service; Impeccable quality. Wildly popular on Yelp; Closed Sundays; Have some great prix fixe options. No tipping policy; Fun to order a la carte here – tons of selections.
Capital Grill: Steakhouse. 155 E 42nd @ Lex-3rd; 24/22/$67; 953-2000; www.thecapitalgrille.com; Amazing Steaks; Clubby Feel; Business types; Extremely friendly service; Chrysler Center. Lobster Mac n Cheese side stands out; Slightly larger menu than most; Steaks arguably smaller than some of its competitors; Great bar scene; This location is the flagship; Cold shellfish platter for 2: $50; Great soups and salads; Seared Tuna; Chilean Sea Bass; Less expensive then most.
Osteria Laguna: Italian. 209 E 42nd @ 2-3rd; 23/19/$46; 557-0001; http://www.osterialagunanyc.com/; Very popular UN-area neighborhood mainstay. Solid fare, attentive service and seating outdoors. Venetian fare; Packed at lunch. Grilled Calamari, Mozz Caprese, Seared Tuna Carpaccio, 12 home-made pasta dishes to choose from; Seafood Risotto; Mixed Grilled seafood; Bronzino; Lamb shank. Burata; Grilled Octopus.
Pera: Turkish/ Mediterranean. 303 Madison @ 41st-42nd; 22/21/$62; 878-6301; www.peranyc.com; Authentic food, fun atmosphere; Happening bar scene; They offer Brunch as well – features a “Boundless BBQ” (family style) – meat lovers dream; Tons of small plates and Mezes for appetizers; Seafood entrees like Mackeral, Cod, Salmon and Bronzino on menu besides a huge assortment of meats; Prix Fixe available. Moussaka; Baklava;
Benjamin Steak House: Steakhouse. 52 E. 41st @ Madison –Park; 27/24/$82; 297-9177; www.benjaminsteakhouse.com; More of an upscale setting, nicer décor; Top of line service- more civilized; Monster sized steaks; Tons of seafood on the menu; Onion and Lobster Bisque soups; Thick Bacon appetizer; Rib eye and Sirloin steaks are signatures; 6 seafood entrees to choose from; Amazing desserts – Pecan Pie! Inside Dylan hotel. Top shelf service. Gorgeous décor. Great for a date (who likes steak). Breakfast, lunch or dinner. Sea Bass, Yellowfin Tuna, Lobsters.
Koi: Japanese. Bryant Park Hotel. 40 W 40th @ 5-6th Av; 24/24/$65; 921-3330; www.koirestaurant.com; The draw here is the sexy scene where celebs and fashionistas mingle; Glamorous feel – date friendly; Food wise: try the rock shrimp, crispy rice or spicy tuna; The large open space makes dinner so much fun; Locations in Vegas and LA; Very impressive cocktails; Only issue – quite expensive. Certainly a great date spot. Classy scene.
Docks Oyster Bar: Seafood. 633 3rd Ave @ 40th; 21/19/$50; 986-8080; www.docksoysterbar.com; Casual, fun restaurant; White table-cloth setting with a very popular bar scene; Website has tons of pictures & menu is mouthwatering; While not top in quality, it is spacious, date friendly and solid. Brunch served weekends & includes a drink; Happy Hour M-F, 3-7pm; Nice Raw bar and overall good scene. Sushi as well. Excellent for mid-week lunches.
Zengo: Pan-Latin. 622 3rd Av @ 40th; 23/25/$50; 808-8110; www.richardsandoval.com/zengony/; Celebrity chef Richard Sandoval owned; Gorgeous décor – date or celebration worthy; Sophisticated environment; 400+ Tequilas; Handcrafted cocktails; Pricy for the genre; Great 5-7pm happy hour; Dim Sum and small plates; Sushi Rolls; Shortbread sandwiches; Amazing entrees – try Beef short ribs, Crispy Tofu, Mahi Mahi or Glazed Cod. Weekend bottomless brunch for $42/person – tons of options.
Nirvana: 346 Lexington @ 39-40th; 23/21/$47; 983-0000; www.nirvanany.com; Chicken Tikka Masala and Chicken Saag is raved about; The garlic Naan is fluffy and delicious; Rabbit stew; Better than average service and décor; Fun street level lounge; Actually is a nice date option for Indian lovers; They try hard and produce great food; Creative menu and unique variations. Huge menu to select from. Lunch specials.
El Pote: Spanish. 718 2nd Av @ 38-9th; 22/15/$40; 889-6680; www.elpote.com; Small in size but giant in flavor; Known for paellas; Small plates as well as full prepared dishes; Happy staff make up for tiny space. You do get a nice table and plenty of friendliness; Rack of Lamb on menu is a specialty; Huge menu full of all the usual Tapas; The paella with chicken and lobster is a winner. Around nearly 40 years.
Rossini’s: Italian. 108 E 38th @ Lex-Park; 22/21/$58; 683-0135; www.rossinisrestaurant.com; Starting off, you’ll receive top shelf treatment and service; Romantic and more of a mature setting; Some live piano playing on weekends; Been around since 1978; Extensive wine list; Vintage Tuscan feel; Very large menu of meat, fish and pasta entrees; Dover Sole, Sea Scallops, amazing veal dishes. Smallish portions. Typical red sauce menu.
Café China: Chinese. 13 E 37th @ 5th Av-Madison; 24/18/$37; 213-2810; http://www.cafechinanyc.com/; Earned 1 Michelin star and remains extremely affordable; Sichuan fare featuring outstanding specialties; Try the lamb with bell peppers; Soup Dumplings; 3 Pepper Chicken; Smoked Duck; Kung Pao Chicken; Pork Dumplings in Chili Oil; Crystal Shrimp Dumplings; Great lunch specials;
Ai Fiori: Italian/French. 400 5th Av @ 36-37th; 27/26/$78; 613-8660; www.aifiorinyc.com/; Located on 2nd floor of Langham Place Hotel; 300 wines; Absolutely gorgeous setting – not cramp; Amazing cocktails; Breakfast, lunch and dinner; You must get the Nova Scotia Lobster terrine appetizer; Heavy French influence; Main courses are $37-$43; Limited selection & food is somewhat seasonal; Michelin 1 star; Have 4 course prix fixe for $97. Great bar area. Date-central.
Keens Steakhouse: Steakhouse. 72 W 36th @ 5th-6th; 26/25/$85; 947-3636; www.keens.com; Old boys club feel; Great service for genre; Classic feel- 80,000 clay pipes line ceiling; Been around forever (1885) and filled with memorabilia; Giant single-malt list; American nostalgia; Meat lovers- huge portions. Creamed spinach amazing; Mutton chop and Prime rib are classics; Thick cut bacon; Tomatoes & Mozz; Lamb chops, short ribs. Dover sole. Welcoming service and beautiful – like a museum. Add to your list. Chilled seafood tray for $52; Arctic Char, Lobsters for seafooders.
Barbes: Moroccan. 21 E 36th @ 5th Av-Madison; 21/18/$43; 684-0215; www.barbesrestaurantnyc.com; French-inspired Moroccan fair (both cuisines on menu); Complicated dishes that show care and effort- and great flavor; Cool date scene- sexy décor; Lots of Tangines, Brouchettes and Couscous dishes on menu; Lunch and Brunch also available; NYC’s melting pot witnessed again. Let the staff guide your selections.
Villa Berulia: Italian. 107 E 34th @ Lex-Park; 23/19/$49; 689-1970; www.villaberulia.com; Mature crowd; Extremely friendly and attentive service; Incredible cooking; Great for a family meal or a romantic date. Quiet & more mature. Always have ‘game’ on the menu- boar, ostrich or venison; Grilled Calamari; Tomatoes & Mozz; Pasta dishes as appetizers if you like; Dalmatian coast cooking; Croatian influences; Family owned. Elegant. Seafood stew; Monkfish.
Ali Baba: Turkish; 212 E 34th @ 2-3rd; 21/15/$31; 683-9206; www.alibabaturkishcuisine.com; Neighborhood favorite; Large portions; Dirt cheap, even for genre. Small place but gracious hosts. Garden in the summer. Always popular and crowded as it is an authentic bargain. Kebabs to die for. Multiple lamb selections on menu – can’t go wrong. Hummus also stands out. They clearly make a great effort to please customers.
El Parador Café: Mexican. 325 E 34th @ 1-2nd; 23/17/$43; 679-6812; www.elparadorcafe.com; Under the radar; Very good spot; Sangria & superb Margaritas; Thrown-back Mexican cuisine; Absolute winner without tabs of high end Mexican; Friendly staff. $20 3 course price fixe; Seafood paella; Very interesting menu or ‘new-Mexican’ selections; Fish tacos stand out; Even Mexican Baby Back Ribs. Lobster salad; Retro décor; Closed Sun.