Gramercy and Flatiron restaurant guide: The best places to eat

Our Gramercy and Flatiron restaurant guide points you to critic-approved places to eat in the area, including trusty favorites and the latest hot spots.

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Over the past several years, this area has emerged as a dining hot spot. Our Gramercy and Flatiron restaurant guide includes critically acclaimed chefs’ flagships such as Eleven Madison Park and down-to-earth eateries like carnivore paradise The Cannibal. In 2010, Mario Batali—along with Joe and Lidia Bastianich—chose the Flatiron District as the location for their massive food and drink complex, Eataly.

RECOMMENDED: Gramercy and Flatiron guide

ABC Kitchen

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

While plenty of New York restaurants have lately made the environment a priority—sourcing their ingredients locally and crafting dining rooms from salvaged materials—none have done so with quite as much visual and gastronomic panache as chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s new ABC Kitchen. The chef’s “hippie” restaurant, as he’s taken to calling it—a joint venture with his home furnishings landlord—is a stunner, as artfully merchandised as the shop that surrounds

  1. ABC Carpet & Home, 35 E 18th St, between Broadway and Park Ave South, 10003
  2. Average main course: $25. AmEx, Disc, MC, V
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The Stand

  • Critics choice

Sons of Essex’s Seth Levine turns out comfort-food spins—like cheeseburger pot stickers and duck-topped pizzas—at this comedy club–restaurant hybrid. After dinner, head downstairs to the club, where you can sip cocktails designed by Minetta Tavern vets, while acts like Judah Friedlander and Artie Lange supply the belly laughs. Test your stand-up knowledge and try to name all the comedians on the wallpaper in the bathrooms.

  1. 239 Third Ave, between 19th and 20th Sts, 10003
  2. Average main course: $12. AmEx, MC, V
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Eleven Madison Park

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 4/4
  • Critics choice

The best restaurants in the world—their own worst critics—are forever reinventing themselves, upping the ante year after year. On the international battlefield of glorified gastronomic destinations, Eleven Madison Park has racked up enough glittery accolades—from Michelin, the James Beard Foundation and World’s 50 Best Restaurants—to rival a five-star general’s bedazzled chest. It was already at that fine-dining pinnacle in 2010, when it tossed the traditional à la

  1. 11 Madison Ave, at 24th St, 10010
  2. 16-course tasting menu: $195. AmEx, Disc, MC, V
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15 East

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

New York is the city of self-invention. This is no more apparent than in today’s restaurant scene. March became Nish, Onera transformed into Kefi, and now two downtown gems, the old Tocqueville and Sumile, are the raw-fish hideaways 15 East and Sumile Sushi, respectively. The talented Josh DeChellis, who in 2003 started the innovative Japanese-French hybrid Sumile, helms the latter; Tocqueville co-owner Marco Moreira has returned to his aquatic roots—he was trained as a sushi

  1. 15 E 15th St, between Fifth Ave and Union Sq West
  2. Ten-piece sushi dinner: $55. AmEx, MC, V
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The Cannibal

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

With its deli fridges stocked with ales and lagers, and its aged steaks and whole hams dangling from steel hooks, the Cannibal could double as the set of a new dude-food show on the Cooking Channel. Run by guys and packed with them, the place is so unabashed in its bromance for craft beer and artisanal meat it’s almost a parody of a manly restaurant. If you like meat and beer, though, it’s pretty close to paradise. For restaurateur Christian Pappanicholas, the beer-obsessed

  1. 113 E 29th St, between Park Ave South and Lexington Aves, 10016
  2. Average small plate: $11. AmEx, MC, V
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Maialino

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 4/4
  • Critics choice

He may not have initiated the recent surge of Roman food in New York, but Maialino—Danny Meyer’s first full-fledged foray into Italian cuisine—sets a new standard within this narrow niche. The restaurant is a painstaking homage to the neighborhood trattorias that kept Meyer well fed when he was a young expat living in Rome. Salumi and bakery stations between the front bar and the wood-beamed dining room—hog jowls and sausages dangling near shelves stacked with crusty

  1. Gramercy Park Hotel, 2 Lexington Ave , at 21st St
  2. Average main course: $18. AmEx, MC, V
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Aldea

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Although there’s a significant Portuguese enclave across the river in Newark, the homeland’s cuisine has never made much of an impact in New York. Spanish chefs may have lately become major players on the international stage, but no big personalities have been championing the more subdued cooking of western Iberia. George Mendes, the Portuguese-American behind Aldea in the Flatiron District, makes a subtle—not bludgeoning—case for his culinary heritage, offering modern

  1. 31 W 17th St , between Fifth and Sixth Aves
  2. Average main course: $25. AmEx, Disc, MC, V
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Union Square Cafe

  • Price band: 4/4
  • Critics choice

Danny Meyer’s groundbreaking bistro has been serving many of the same signature dishes for 23 years. But chef Carmen Quagliata’s updated bill of fare offers some new classics. A seared tuna loin entrée is topped with basil pesto and fanned over chickpea puree. His pastas include pork-and-rabbit-filled ravioli drenched in butter, with a sprinkle of sweet corn. Like the rest of the meal, desserts straddle menus past and present. Somehow, the perennial “USC” sweet—a salty

  1. 21 E 16th St, between Fifth Ave and Union Sq West, 10003
  2. Average main course: $31. AmEx, Disc, MC, V
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Eataly

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

This massive food and drink complex, from Mario Batali and Joe and Lidia Bastianich, sprawls across 42,500 square feet in the Flatiron District. A spin-off of an operation by the same name just outside of Turin, Italy, the store’s retail maze and six full-service restaurants include a rotisserie with the city’s best flame-roasted chickens, an awe-inspiring display of hard-to-find produce (plus an in-house “vegetable butcher”) and the meatcentric white-tablecloth joint Il

  1. 200 Fifth Ave, between 23rd and 24th Sts
  2. Average main course: $20. AmEx, Disc, MC, V
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ilili

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

I’ve had some of my most sumptuous meals out during my two trips to Beirut—from a posh, members-only seafood restaurant to a bustling no-reservations brasserie that justified a two-hour wait. Thus I’ve never understood why Lebanese food in New York City rarely goes beyond kibbe and tabouli takeout; it’s as if the only Italian restaurants were pizza joints. Philippe Massoud deserves credit for merely opening Ilili, the kind of ambitious eatery that would fit right in in

  1. 236 Fifth Ave, between 27th and 28th Sts
  2. Average main course: $15. AmEx, MC, V
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Pete’s Tavern

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

According to history buffs, in 1904, O. Henry wrote “The Gift of the Magi” in what was then a quiet Gramercy pub. Today it’s three deep at the bar, and O. Henry would have a hard time parking it anywhere. Though Pete’s—a Civil War–era survivor—draws its share of tourists, you’ll also rub shoulders with neighborhood types who slide into the wooden booths to snack on affordable Italian eats with standard suds (16 beers on tap include a hoppy house ale) bubbling in frosty mugs.

  1. 129 E 18th St, at Irving Pl, 10003
  2. Average drink: $5; Average main course: $14....
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Shake Shack

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Danny Meyer’s wildly popular Madison Square Park concession stand is mobbed with hour-long lines during the summer; in chilly weather, heat lamps provide all the warmth you need. Sirloin and brisket are ground daily for excellent patties, and franks are served Chicago-style on poppy seed buns with a “salad” of toppings and a dash of celery salt. Frozen-custard shakes hit the spot, and there’s beer and wine to boot. It’s worth waiting in line for, if you ask us, but if

  1. Madison Square Park, 23rd St, at Madison Ave
  2. Average burger: $4. MC, V
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Hanjan

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

The cult of Korean food has been steadily building steam over the past few years. Unleashed from K-town confines by second-generation supertoques, Roy Choi out west and David Chang in New York, you can now find it all over the culinary map—a foie-topped bibimbap at M. Wells Dinette in Queens, or a version of the country’s fried chicken drenched in Frank’s Red Hot at Talde in Brooklyn. Even T.G.I. Friday’s has its own Korean-Mex tacos. Seoul-born Hooni Kim grew up with the

  1. 36 W 26th St, between Broadway and Sixth Aves, 10010
  2. Average small plate: $14. AmEx, Disc, MC, V
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Barbounia

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

When the owners of Barbounia announced they were launching a new restaurant, they didn't say they were planning to replace Patria—which basically invented Nuevo Latino in New York a decade ago—with a Mediterranean eatery that evokes a Roman orgy inside Studio 54. Nor were they keen on revealing that their original chef, Per Se's Matthew Accarrino, walked out just before the unveiling. That wouldn't have sounded good. Like a perfect sitcom plot, however, everything worked out

  1. 250 Park Ave South, at 20th St
  2. Average main course: $24. AmEx, MC, V
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Junoon

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

The heart and soul of this luxe Chelsea eatery is its glassed-in spice room, where chef Vikas Khanna hand-grinds and mixes house blends each morning. He deploys seven whole spices—including star anise, cloves and cardamom pods—in a pungent, burgundy-hued curry that coats a lamb shank, slow-braised until the meat nearly slides from the bone. Other evidence of the room’s sorcery fills the regionhopping menu, organized by traditional methods of Indian cooking—not just

  1. 27 W 24th St, between Fifth and Sixth Aves, 10010
  2. Average main course: $28. AmEx, MC, V
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Blue Smoke

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

St. Louis native Danny Meyer’s barbecue joint tops the short list of Manhattan’s best ’cue contenders. Chef Kenny Callaghan knows his wet sauces and dry rubs: The menu includes traditional St. Louis spareribs, Texas salt-and-pepper beef ribs, Memphis baby backs and Kansas City spare ribs. The atmosphere is sports-heavy and includes a prominent bourbon bar and galvanized-metal buckets for your bones.

  1. 116 E 27th St, between Park Ave South and Lexington Ave, 10016-89
  2. Average main course: $19. AmEx, DC, Disc, MC, V
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Old Town Bar & Grill

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Amid the swank food sanctums sprouting around Park Avenue South, this classic tavern remains a shrine to unchanging values. Most old-time Old-Towners go for the much-praised burger, which we found in need of a little salt. For lightweights, there’s a smattering of salads and other sandwiches. Some things, however, do change. Bloomberg’s antismoking legislation has made the once befogged booths and long mahogany bar strangely haze-free.

  1. 45 E 18th St, between Broadway and Park Ave South, 10003
  2. Average main course: $8. AmEx, MC, V
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Resto

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Belgian cuisine had its New York moment a few years back, but this pubby restaurant signals a revival. The bare-bones dining room features a pressed-tin ceiling and a long bar where patrons sip Belgian beers from custom-logoed glassware designed for specific brews. Chef Ryan Skeen (5 Ninth, Café Boulud) offers shareable plates that showcase an eclectic range of Belgian flavors. From the Dutch comes a tidy bowl of meatballs, and from the French, a cast-iron crock of

  1. 111 E 29th St, between Park and Lexington Aves
  2. Average main course: $22. AmEx, Disc, MC, V
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Tiffin Wallah

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

This bright, clean Curry Hill standout makes a great date place—especially if your date is vegetarian, Jewish (it’s kosher!) or homesick for India. Start with the samosa chaat ($4)—two flaky pockets stuffed with potato and peas, covered in a colorful tamarind, cilantro and yogurt sauce. Then sample one of three $14 thalis—multiple servings of rice, curries, chutneys and more served on a single tray. (The Gujarathi thali, with a spicy yet sweet kachori [bean fritters],

  1. 127 E 28th St, at Lexington Ave
  2. Average main course: $9. AmEx, DC, Disc, MC, V
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Laut

  • Rated as: 3/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

New Yorkers are so enamored of their pad thais and Massaman curries that even the most generic Thai joints don’t need to do much to build up a following. It’s that sort of logic that must have inspired the owners of Laut to hide their best food—and its country of origin—behind a Thai menu and awning. The restaurant, which should really be focusing on what it does best—Malaysian cuisine—casts its net even wider by adding a sushi bar to the mix. While none of this

  1. 15 E 17th St, between Fifth Ave and Broadway
  2. Average main course: $13
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A Voce

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

No other team in recent memory is as qualified to run a haute French restaurant as those behind the recently opened A Voce. Chef Andrew Carmellini cooked at Lespinasse and Le Cirque before earning two James Beard Awards at Café Boulud. Pastry chef April Robinson worked for Alain Ducasse and Gray Kunz; sommelier Olivier Flosse cut his teeth at Daniel. But surprise: A Voce is Italian. Carmellini does have Italian street cred—his first job was at San Domenico. But his partner,

  1. 41 Madison Ave, between Madison Ave and Park Ave South, entrance on 26th St
  2. Average main course: $34. AmEx, MC, V
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Tocqueville

  • Price band: 4/4
  • Critics choice

Part of the charm of the original Tocqueville, which opened in 2000, was its understatement. The 40-seat room didn’t attempt to be much more than a nice neighborhood spot, and this made the smart, fresh French-American fare all the more enjoyable. After a six-month renovation, Tocqueville recently reopened a few doors west of where it used to be, and in the process it’s turned the original proposition upside down: It is now a large, gorgeous room with a menu that doesn’t

  1. 1 E 15th St, between Fifth Ave and Union Sq West, 10003
  2. Average main course: $27. AmEx, DC, Disc, MC, V
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Old Town Bar & Restaurant

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Amid the swank food and drink sanctums sprouting around Park Avenue South, this classic tavern remains a shrine to unchanging values. Belly up to the bar and drain a few pints alongside the regulars who gather on stools “south of the pumps” (their lingo for taps). If you work up an appetite, skip the much-priased burger in favor of the chili dog: A grilled and scored all-beef Sabrett is deposited on a butter-toasted bun along with spicy homemade beef-and-red-kidney-bean

  1. 45 E 18th St, between Broadway and Park Ave South, 10003
  2. Average drink: $4. AmEx, MC, V
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La Mar Cebicheria Peruana

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

Peruvian food has been percolating for a while: Year after year the South American cuisine is anointed a hot up-and-comer by glossy food magazines. But apart from a few Pan-Latin spots, New York has missed out. La Mar, our first world-class Peruvian import---which opened recently in Tabla's old duplex space---finally offers a taste of what all that fuss is about. This is the second American outpost for Peru's most prolific celebrity chef, Gastn Acurio, who runs more than two

  1. 11 Madison Ave, at 25th St, 10010
  2. Average main course: $26. AmEx, MC, V
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Allegretti

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

For all its bistros and brasseries, New York’s still hurting for great French regional cooking. Enter Allegretti, a Flatiron eatery that peddles the sort of refined seasonal fare you’d expect to discover on a country road near Marseille. Chef-owner Alain Allegretti serves what may be the city’s most elegant niçoise salad, featuring hard-boiled quail eggs, flaky Sicilian tuna and a bouquet of miniature vegetables. Saffron-enriched fish soup—built from a triumvirate of

  1. 46 W 22nd St , between Fifth and Sixth Aves
  2. Average main course: $34. AmEx, Disc, MC, V
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