The best hotel restaurants in NYC

Dine out without checking in at the latest restaurants parked inside the city’s hotels

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Photograph: Filip Wolak

Once upon a time, hotel dining was a tired, dreary thing to behold. But now the lobby dining room has gotten a megawatt makeover, with celebutoques (John Fraser, Daniel Humm) from some of the city's best restaurants helming hotel kitchens and top-rate bartenders behind the stick. Sorry, tourists, we’re taking back our lobbies.

Photograph: Filip Wolak

Bodega Negra at Dream Downtown

  • Price band: 2/4

For his third venture at the hotel, Serge Becker (Melvin’s Juice Box, La Esquina) imported a London sex-shop–themed cantina and cleaned it up for the Dream’s clientele—think lively groups of twentysomethings grabbing pre-night-on-the-town drinks like a tequila-hibiscus Blood & Fire. In the splashy dining room, find Yucatán-inspired tacos, which arrive in pairs and include fillers like pork-belly carnitas ($15) and mole-sauced Peking duck ($16). Best time to go? Make a Monday night reservation for 10:30pm—just before the 11pm burlesque show begins.

  1. 355 W 16th St, (between Eighth and Ninth Aves), 10011
More info

Photograph: Courtesy Clement/Evan Dion

Clement at the Peninsula Hotel

  • Price band: 3/4

At this wood-paneled New American restaurant, Brandon Kida (Asiate, Lutèce) spotlights Northeast ingredients like Long Island sea bass ($36) roasted in duck broth and served alongside oaky maitake mushrooms. The place fills up with businessmen meeting for lunch, guests grabbing dinner after a weekend of shopping and locals clinking drinks after work on weeknights, but the optimum time to snag a reservation is the pre-theater hour (5:30–6:30pm), when you can take advantage of the three-course menu ($43) and a complimentary ride to the Theater District.

  1. Peninsula Hotel, 700 Fifth Ave, (at 55th St), 10019
Book online

Filip Wolak

Dirty French at the Ludlow Hotel

The Carbone crew’s first venture outside of their Italian comfort zone is a roughed-up brasserie that takes a Francophonic turn, serving traditional Gallic fare injected with Moroccan spices and New Orleans flair to a crowd of hip downtown dwellers. On the menu, lamb carpaccio ($17) comes gorgeously kissed with cumin and dotted with eggplant and figs, but if you want to be a true highroller, opt for the côte de boeuf ($130 for 33oz) served two ways: the tender rib eye in lush béarnaise arrives first, then the grilled-and-skewered cap. Global spices hit the cocktails just as strongly as the dishes. The most balanced of the bunch is the Zaragoza ($16), a mint-topped number hit with tequila, spiced with clove and cooled with creamy vanilla yogurt.

  1. 180 Ludlow St, (between E Houston and Stanton Sts), 10002
Book online

Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

The Elm at the McCarren Hotel

  • Price band: 2/4

Paul Leibrandt (Corton) commandeered the high-ceilinged atrium in the hotel’s basement to send out his art-cum-cuisine to a posh Williamsburg set. Leibrandt marinades hake ($26) with Indian pickled lime and serves it alongside crispy vegetable chips. The namesake burger ($16) is a bit heavier, doused in tomato confit and white cheddar bolstered with Brooklyn Beer. Lighten things up with citrus-centric cocktails like the grapefruit-vodka-prosecco Joan Rivers, which you can get for $6 during weeknight happy hour from 6–7:30pm.

  1. 160 North 12th St, (between Bedford Ave and Berry St), 11211
More info

Photograph: Erica Gannett

Kingside at Viceroy New York

  • Price band: 2/4

At this black-and-white–tiled dinette, Landmarc’s Marc Murphy doles out New American dishes like braised pork shank doused in au jus and crispy salt-and-pepper fries. The wine list is more global, with fellow Landmarc carry-over David Lombardo pouring generous quartinos ranging from Spanish garnacha ($13) to French syrab ($13). To avoid the crowds—bankers trading tips over neat whiskeys, midtown shoppers seeking refuge for their aching feet and hungry bellies—pop in at the turn of lunch and dinner services (just after 11am or 4pm) for your pick of the place.

  1. Viceroy New York, 120 W 57th St, (between Sixth and Seventh Aves), 10019
Book online
Little Park - New York, NY

Little Park - New York, NY Photograph: Noah Fecks

Little Park at the Smyth

  • Price band: 2/4

Chef Min Kong spends quality time with her ingredients at Andrew Carmellini’s farm-to-fork newcomer: She dry-ages a duck breast ($18) for two weeks before roasting it and dressing it with garlic puree and Concord grapes she pickled over the summer. Adjacent to the restaurant is the secluded Evening Bar, offering lofty cocktails like an eggnog spiked with Scotch, splashed with porcino vinegar and dusted in chocolate ($18). The expansive digs mean there typically isn’t a long wait, so drop by on a Saturday night if you’re feeling lucky.

  1. 85 West Broadway, (at Chambers St), 10007
More info

Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

Marta at the Martha Washington Hotel

  • Price band: 2/4

The upscale pie parlor from Danny Meyer (Union Square Café, Shake Shack) and Maialino chef Nick Anderer pulls rustic Roman rounds from a pair of wood-burning ovens. The thin-crust tonda pizzas do well with both simple toppings like the classic Margherita ($12) and more heavy-handed options like the patate alla carbonara ($16) with al dente potatoes, pecorino, guanciale, a coddled egg and a sprinkling of black pepper. Lunch and dinner service are regularly bustling, with Nomad nabe natives toasting with bottle-aged Negronis and out-of-towners looking for a break from the Madison Square Park burger den, but if you book a spot for brunch, your group will be able to mow down on crackly-crusted pies topped with fresh eggs.

  1. 29 E 29th St, (between Madison Ave and Park Ave South), 10016
Book online

Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

Narcissa at the Standard

  • Price band: 2/4

A beefless Wellington has remained on the menu since John Fraser's lobby dining room opened this past January and for good reason: The buttery puffed pastry is stuffed with coffee-rubbed carrots and silky sunchoke puree ($24). Cut the decadence with a refreshing Tall Grass ($14), a blend of cucumber, crisp apple and lip-puckering grapefruit boozily pepped up with champagne, Riesling and a shot of vodka. Reservations aren’t required, but walk-in spots are few and far between, so call ahead and opt for a weekday evening, when the usual clamor of creative types dulls to a pleasant thrum.

  1. 21 Cooper Sq, (between 5th and 6th Sts), 10003
More info

Photograph: Cayla Zahoran

The NoMad Bar at the NoMad Hotel

The luxury lounge from Eleven Madison Park’s Daniel Humm, Will Guidara and Leo Robitschek is annexed from their splashy NoMad restaurant, but the casual bar fare is just as elegant, including fried chicken with chili-lime yogurt ($16) and truffle-topped hot dogs ($14). To complement the food menu, Robitschek's classic cocktails end with a surprise: A gin-and-vermouth English Heat ($16) finishes on a lick of smoky-spicy jalapeño-infused agave, while the Pimm’s Cup ($16) seems textbook until a sharp hit of ginger steps in. The bar doesn’t take reservations, so arrive before 6pm to secure a seat in one of the tufted leather booths.

  1. 10 W 28th St, (between Fifth Ave and Broadway), 10001
More info

Photograph: Jeffrey Gurwin

The Palm Court at The Plaza Hotel

  • Price band: 4/4

The iconic Central Park atrium returned after three months of renovations with Iron Chef alum Geoffrey Zakarian (Town, Country) in the kitchen. Zakarian hints at his Armenian-American upbringing on the new menu, with dishes like Tunisian-Israeli shakshuka ($27), served in a cast-iron dish straight from the oven, layered with pita bread, cumin-spiced stewed tomatoes and a pair of eggs. For the time being, the restaurant is only for breakfast and afternoon, so best to pull an Eloise and order afternoon tea service, a collaboration with Palais de Thes that includes a lightly smoked lapsang souchong, a chocolate and malt-tinged South Korean black Jukro and Du Hammam, a green tea-rose-date blend.

  1. The Plaza Hotel, 768 Fifth Ave, (at Central Park South)
Book online


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