Keith and I travel to New York City several times a year. We are huge theater fans and have made many friends there over the years – and, it’s become our home away from home. We’ve discussed moving there many times over the years but have, at least for the time being, decided we will continue to love and appreciate the greatest city on Earth as visitors.
Over the years, we’ve eaten hundreds at hundreds of NYC restaurants – some memorable and some not so much…and some memorable for all the wrong reasons. I’m often asked for recommendations for restaurants from friends who are traveling to the city. So, I thought I would post with a list of some of our favorites. But, keep in mind that the city is huge and so much depends on what part of town you are in and what you have planned for your day/evening. For us, we are often dining in midtown for dinner because we are likely cramming in as many Broadway shows as possible while we are in town. So, geography plans heavily into our pre-theater restaurant choices. But, we do occasionally venture out – and, I’ve made certain to include some of our favorites from other parts of this amazing city.
No list of our favorite NYC restaurants would be complete without Joe Allen Restaurant. We’ve been going to Joe Allen for 10 years and have never once left the restaurant any less than completely satisfied and impressed with our meal. They understand, like no other restaurant in midtown, how to serve you without feeling rushed but with plenty of time to spare to make it to the theater. Some of our favorites at Joe’s are the Black Bean Soup, Cajun Chicken Sandwich, and the Meatloaf. The menu changes from time to time but these staples always remain. Joe’s expert bartenders make a mean cocktail, too. My drink of choice is a Cosmopolitan and Joe’s makes one of my favorites. We love Joe’s so much that we even had our wedding dinner there back in 2014 after our ceremony at Central Park. They took amazing care of us and our guests are still talking about how wonderful the meal was and how kind and loving the staff was to all of us. We will never forgot that night, the amazing food and all those people at Joe’s who made us feel so special!
On the rare occasions when we are not seeing a show, we love to head out of midtown to explore some of the rest of the city’s amazing restaurants. A year or so ago, we discovered and instant favorite, Jack’s Wife Freda. There are two locations; we visited the one on Lafayette in Soho. It’s super quaint and the service is just phenomenal. The dishes have a middle eastern flair and are comfort food at its finest. We love the Spiced Beet Dip and Roasted Cauliflower. Keith’s favorite is Jack’s Burger (he’s a burger fanatic and gives this one rave reviews). My hands down favorite on the menu is the Ground Lamb and Eggplant ‘Lasagne’. It’s tremendous. And, as far as cocktails are concerned, Jack’s Manhattan is one of the best I’ve ever had. Jack’s Wife Freda also has a trendy and extremely popular brunch. Definitely check this place out if you’re in Soho and hungry. JWF won’t disappoint!
Another one of our midtown favorites is a frequent stop for us if we are seeing shows in upper Midtown. On 59th at Columbus Circle – atop of the Museum of Art and Design – Robert is one of our all go to restaurants for spectacular views of Central Park, beautifully simple and flavorful food and delicious cocktails. When making a reservation, most definitely call well in advance and ask for a table by the window. There isn’t a bad seat in the place, but a window seat guarantees a romantic and memorable evening. The food at Robert is simple and elegant. That doesn’t mean it lacks flavor – it’s the opposite. Not fussy and not pretentious – just good quality ingredients prepared perfectly. The menu changes regularly, but Robert has a fabulous Filet Mignon, Sea Scallops and one of the best Sea Bass dishes I’ve ever had. I always order the Octopus Provencal when it’s on the menu – so delicious. I also always start with a Cosmopolitan at Robert – and it’s always perfect. The design in Robert is very modern and colorful. But, the showstopper are the huge windows overlooking Columbus Circle and Central Park. Some of the most beautiful views in the city and not to be missed!
One of our new favorite pre-theater Midtown restaurants is 44 & X in Hell’s Kitchen. We were walking by one night with the intention of going to another restaurant and passed this one, which was new at the time, and were drawn to the simple, clean, white aesthetic. We walked in and luckily they had a table available. We instantly loved it. Fantastic service and a really smart, fresh menu which changes seasonally. You can tell they use high quality ingredients with a farm to table type feel to the menu. The Lobster Taco starter is delicious and they are really strong with seafood. Sea bass, scallops and salmon main dishes have all been home runs for me and there are a lot of really “stick to your ribs” type comfort foods that are sure to satisfy all your food cravings. This place has a great vibe, quality food and fast and attentive service. What’s not to love. Another one of our Midtown go to places these days.
That’s all for now – but I will definitely post “Part 2” soon. We have a long list of places we love and frequent in our most favorite city in the world, and I look forward to sharing them all with you!