We recently caught up with beloved The Nanny star Fran Drescher, who recently told us all about her upcoming The Nanny musical and her new picture book with Australian author Rebecca Kelly, N is for The Nanny.
She's been very busy, but she stopped to give us her favorite NYC spots, too. Drescher primarily lives in California but has a home here in the city, where she was born, and was more than happy to share the places that bring her joy.
"I love New York!" she tells us. "Every time I arrive on what I lovingly call 'the rock,' I must see at least one show, one art exhibition, one new restaurant and several regular faves that make me feel each time like coming home again."
She recently went to see the special, limited run of Stephen Sondheim’s Into The Woods at New York City Center. "Heather Hedley has got it all and heads a superlative cast of this genius metaphor of life through the experiences of fairytale characters," she says.
But all in all, walking the city always yields something good for Drescher. "If you do nothing else walk! And in New York, walking while eating a hot dog, a slice of pizza, a pretzel or a donut is perfectly acceptable."
Below are six of Fran Drescher's favorite restaurants, museums and NYC spots that she recommends:
1. Avant Garden
"Peter and I tried a new (to us) vegan restaurant [in the East Village] called Avant Garden. No, we are not vegans but we love vegetables pristinely grown and gloriously prepared! My vegan cousin Erica said 'go!' So we did and it was great! Everything was so delicious. Pasta, risotto, salad, crostini, sushi, organic wine and yes, even the desserts were all fabulous."
2. Central Park and its restaurants
"For me, the heart of New York is Central Park and I spend as much time there as possible. It is an oasis in a concrete jungle. A must-do is to experience its three restaurants. I always enjoy The Terrace at Tavern on the Green when they have their live music. It feels like an instant vacation and the food is good. Don’t miss a visit to their gift shop too. It’s a must-do along with lunch on the lake at the Loeb Boathouse. Grab a table at the outdoor bar area but order off the main menu and watch the rowboats and all the turtles while sipping a Prosecco! And of course, Le Pain Quotidien on the north side of Sheep Meadow is just a stone's throw from Tavern. It’s all organic, all outdoors and dog friendly. Order a cappuccino, a bread flute with fruit and nuts, apricot jam and hazelnut spread with a couple of soft boiled eggs on a lazy morning or afternoon to take in the incredible New York skyline above Central Park South as it soars across the lush meadow green's horizon."
3. The Milling Room
Another regular for me is The Milling Room on the Upper West Side on Columbus Avenue. Farm to table pristine cuisine in a large dining room with very high ceilings and rustic decor. It’s a great, casual place for really good wholesome food.
4. Don Angie
And what would New York be without a dinner at Don Angie in the West Village? Oh my God, the lemon-sliced steak with a chrysanthemum salad is making my mouth water just thinking about it!
For a great view restaurant, there’s Robert in the Art & Design Bldg on Columbus Circle. I always go whenever I'm in town! They even added an organic chicken to the menu just for me! The lobby-level gift shop is the best. [The Museum of Arts & Design] is always special and the restaurant is gorgeous with contemporary art-inspired decor, live music, unparalleled views, not pricey and delish!
6. TEFAF Art Show and these major art museums
Last but not least, I must see some art! TEFAF [was] in town. The Brooklyn Museum has "Monet to Morisot," but I think in light of the fact that some factions think it’s OK to legislate a woman’s body, I will go to MOMA to see its exhibition of photography by women and about women ["Our Selves: Photographs by Women Artists from Helen Kornblum"]!