Best bars and restaurants to take parents

Planning a graduation dinner, Mother's Day brunch, or another festive meal with your folks? These New York standbys are sure to impress

Minetta Tavern

Minetta Tavern

You may have to book the early-bird sitting at Keith McNally's smoking-hot reinvention of this early-20th-century literati hangout, but your parents probably won't mind. The price of the prime-beef Black Label Burger ($26) may make them wince, but as tender and fatty as foie gras, it's worth every penny. Still skeptical? Order the Minetta Burger for a mere $17.

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Greenwich Village

Terroir Tribeca

Need a spot that can stand up to the scrutiny of lifelong wine snobs? The focus is squarely on the drinks at the Tribeca outpost of this hip wine-bar micro-chain. Co-owner and oeno-evangelist Paul Grieco preaches the powers of terroir—grapes that express a sense of place—and the superknowledgeable waitstaff aptly helps patrons navigate the many by-the-glass options. Pair the stellar sips with restaurant-caliber small plates. Hallelujah!

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A Voce Columbus

Want views of the park without paying Per Se prices? A Voce's sleek uptown outpost has a solid menu and service even the most demanding patriarch/matriarch won't complain about. Brick-flattened chicken, marinated in fennel and chili and served with Tuscan greens and enormous white beans, is a comfort-food triumph. The folks will marvel at your sophistication when you name-check the massive Frank Stella mixed-media piece Juam that currently hangs near the host stand, from owner Marlon Abela's collection.

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Upper West Side


If your parents' idea of fine dining is white tablecloths, hushed tones and belle epoque decor, Daniel will prove that it's possible to embrace the 21st century without losing any of the big-night-out experience. After a vibrant redesign by Adam Tihany in 2008, the surroundings are now as fresh as the seasonally changing menu, which might include such starters as wasabi-kissed hamachi tartare paired with hamachi sashimi marinated in a subtle tandoori rub. Entrees are unusually generous, such as one night's market special: pan-seared Wagyu sirloin with wild mushrooms and a luscious hazelnut-potato croquette.

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Lenox Hill

Katz’s Delicatessen

Whether they're from Peoria or Portland, you'll want to take them to a quintessential New York deli, and this Lower East Side survivor is the real deal. They might get a kick out of the famous faces plastered to the paneled walls, or the spot where Meg Ryan faked it, but the real stars of this cavernous cafeteria are the thick-cut pastrami sandwiches and the crisp-skinned all-beef hotdogs.

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Lower East Side

Pegu Club

Audrey Saunders’s imperial Pegu Club is still the gold standard for some of the city’s finest cocktails. The design of Pegu's parent-friendly space—subdued, and quieter than your average baroom—was inspired by a British officer's club in Rangun. Steer your folks toward the eponymous house drink, a sweet-and-sour blend of gin, bitters, fresh lime juice and orange curaçao, or the Earl Grey MarTEAni, a tipsy take on afternoon tea, with Earl Grey–infused gin and lemon juice frothed with egg white.

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Union Square Cafe

Danny Meyer has countless beloved eateries under his belt, but his groundbreaking '80s bistro is still a hit more than two decades since its opening. Longstanding signature dishes still on the menu as rotating weekly specials, such as grilled lamb chops scotta dita with potato-gruyère gratin, may inspire nostalgia and you'll all enjoy sampling classics-in-the-making by chef Carmen Quagliata.

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Union Square

Peter Luger

Keep it simple: At Luger's old-school steakhouse, the choices are limited, but the porterhouse is justly famed. Although a slew of Luger copycats have prospered in the last several years, none has captured the elusive charm of this stucco walled, beer-hall style eatery, with well-worn wooden floors and tables, and waiters in waist coats and bow ties.

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Super Taste

Confirm your status as a real New Yorker by flaunting your Chinatown expertise. In a sea of cheap noodle bars, Super Taste stands out. Watch the cook hand pull your Lanzhou-style la mian, the Chinese relative of Japanese ramen, which is served in a soup with a choice of toppings that vary from beef tendon to eel—at about $6 a bowl

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