10 Must Try Dining Experiences in NYC

Pretty Little Treats at The Plaza

Relaunched in 2014 with a renovation helmed by architect Thierry Despont, the iconic Palm Court at The Plaza is the perfect place for afternoon tea.For decades the high-society of Manhattan would flock to The Plaza to while away the afternoons in the Palm Court enjoying the typically British past-time. While the savoury options on your afternoon tea tier are mouthwatering, the pastry chefs at The Plaza are renowned for creating unique dessert experiences that capture the beauty of the Palm Court. This elegant room, marked with its stained-glass dome and impressive height, adds a touch of old New York to a polished and modern sense of hospitality.


Old World Glamour at The Odeon

Plenty has changed in TriBeCa since the hedonistic 1980s, but one mainstay is The Odeon, the legendary eatery that birthed downtown’s brasserie scene. Decadence remains a culinary philosophy at the establishment, so slide into a leather banquette surrounded by wood paneling and indulge in a time-honored classic, like the dynamite frisée salad with lardons. The popular eatery always draws crowds, but Saturdays are great for brunch (served until 4pm), and don’t be afraid to have your dinner at the endlessly long Art Deco bar to avoid waiting for a table. The Odeon remains as the grande dame of TriBeCa.

Big Bucks at Bâtard

Winner of the 2015 James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant in America, Michelin-starred Bâtard continues Drew Nieporent’s commitment to Tribeca, in the space that housed Montrachet and Corton. The menu focuses on classic cuisine with a focus on quality, seasonal ingredients and draws inspiration from Chef Markus Glocker’s diverse background and experience. Their extensive wine list includes over 800 wines from around the world, or if you prefer, they offer a full bar with signature cocktails.

Nordic Nosh at Aska

Swedish chef Fredrik Berselius uses poetic ingredients, from lichen with preserved pine shoots to langoustine cooked in lavender, creating dishes with spellbinding Nordic flavours found nowhere else in the City. The dark, minimalist 10-table restaurant is in a restored warehouse by the Williamsburg Bridge; all seats offer views of the two Michelin-starred kitchen. Dedicate an evening to the ceremonial but not stuffy 19-course tasting menu ($250). You won’t leave hungry.

Parisian Plates at Lafayette

One of the neighbourhood’s prettiest restaurants, Andrew Carmellini’s Lafayette replicates a Parisian bistro. The menu features the usual French suspects for dinner: escargot, tuna nicoise and moules frites plus pain de campagne (country bread). Breakfast and brunch offer a chance to taste the pastries made in house; the pain au chocolat is a must.


Ostentatious Flavours at Obao

Obao bridges the gap between the streets of Southeast Asia and the culinary sensibilities of NYC, bringing diners a combination of Thai and Vietnamese comfort foods that have a twist. The restaurant takes traditional dishes from Thailand and Vietnam—among them Pad Thai and pho noodles—and adds a touch of luxury without compromising on authenticity. Obao features high-quality ingredients, allowing visitors to experience a culinary blend of ease and elegance that satisfies the palate.

Village Favourites at Virgina’s

Virginia’s is a modern American bistro in the heart of the East Village. Inspired by traditional European bistros, the restaurant’s design emulates the classic charm of Old World restaurants, while still reflecting the vibe of its surrounding young, casual neighbourhood. Tan banquettes with brass hardware line the white-stained exposed brick walls, and are accompanied by custom-made oak tables and chairs. Menu highlights include seasonal takes on American classics like their Red Wattle pork chop with English peas and charred eggplant.

Bollito at Barbetta

Owned by the same family for more than a century, Barbetta’s ornate décor and lush, fanciful back garden (replete with stone fountain) make it the most romantic Italian around. The focus is on the cuisine of the proprietors’ native Piedmont, where specialties include bollito, agnolotti and risotto. Don’t miss the Italian white truffles, an extra-luxurious treat when they are in season.


Physical Transformation with Park Avenue

Winter, spring, summer, fall—for every season, the eatery Park Avenue (recently relocated to NoMad from the Upper East Side) changes its name, appearance and menu, taking the concept of seasonal cuisine to new heights. Critically acclaimed by The New York Times, New York Magazine and New York Observer as one of the best new restaurants of 2007, the ever-changing American menu is created by Quality Meats’ Craig Koketsu, while the astonishing physical transformation is overseen by design firm AvroKO.

Mediterranean with Merakia

Merakia is a Greek word used to describe something done with passion, creativity and love. In New York City, Merakia is a Greek restaurant which celebrates the rustic style of cooking, known in Greece as a psistaria, where meats are either grilled or cooked on a spit. The space has a front café with doors to the street which create an alfresco feeling, leading into a bar area with deep booths and copper tabletops. The main dining area features warm neutral colors, natural brick, antique mirrors and a reclaimed wood floor that blends seamlessly with the sturdy bones of its Flatiron location.

Caoilfhionn is a freelance travel writer who enjoys slow travel and avoiding landmarks in favour of diving into a destination's culture. Instagram: @CaoilfhionnRose