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Gramercy Tavern
Photograph: Union Square Hospitality Group

The best fancy restaurants in NYC

Step into the best fancy restaurants in New York for a little glitz, a little glamor and some great grub

By Bao Ong and Time Out contributors
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Sure, we all love to go casual with New York pizza and burger joints, but sometimes a night at one of the city’s best fancy restaurants is in store. Of course, dining out is a lot different this year—especially at the city's best fine dining restaurants. Whether you're looking to celebrate a special occasion with at a Michelin-rated dining room or seeking romantic restaurants for your next date night, New York has elegant dining rooms for every need.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restuarants in NYC

Best fancy restaurants in NYC

Le Bernardin
Photograph: Courtesy Le Bernardin/Daniel Krieger

1. Le Bernardin

Restaurants French Midtown West

Le Bernardin—the city’s original temple of haute French seafood—managed to survive the six-month shutdown of indoor dining in New York. One reason? There's been a loyal following since siblings Gilbert and Maguy Le Coze brought their Parisian eatery to Gotham in 1986, and the restaurant has maintained its reputation in the decades since. Le Bernardin is still a formal place with white tablecloths, decorous service and a jackets-required policy in the main dining room. But the serice is always relaxed-but-professional and on point—just like chef Eric Ripert's menu.

Daniel
Photograph: Roxana Marroquin

2. Daniel

Restaurants French Lenox Hill

A vibrant redesign by Adam Tihany brought Daniel Boulud’s classically opulent restaurant into the 21st century (today, it's currently transformed to Boulud Sur Mer in a collaboration between Boulud and renowned architect and designer Stephanie Goto). The food still remains as fresh as the decor, from a creamy suncoke velouté to a classic fragrant fish stew. Sure, Daniel is still a big-ticket commitment, but Boulud and his team make a powerful case for keeping the high-end genre alive.

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L’Appart at Le District
Photograph: Liz Clayman

3. L’Appart

Restaurants French Battery Park City

Amid the market bustle of Battery Park’s Le District (which is not currently open) lies this eight-table French tasting-menu restaurant, helmed by Daniel alum Nicolas Abello. The chef puts together a menu—foie gras terrine, roasted Chilean sea bass, a cheese course—worthy of any top restaurant in the city. Diners can view the cooking action through an open kitchen from the dining room, which feels like you're dining in someone's private home.

o.d.o by ODO
Photograph: Cody Rasmussen

4. o.d.o by ODO

Dinner with Chef Hiroko Odo was always an exclusive one. You'd pass through a hidden door and find the chef's counter for an intimate kaiseki dining experience with two seatings. Even with today's current restrictions on indoor dining capacity's, you'll still find a menu with dishes like horsehair crab chawan mushi with caviar. There's also a private room to book for up to four people.

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Gramercy Tavern
Photograph: Courtesy Jeffrey Gurwin

5. Gramercy Tavern

Restaurants American creative Flatiron

Gramercy is the restaurant that transformed Danny Meyer from a one-shop restaurateur to a full-blown impresario, made Tom Colicchio a star and launched a citywide proliferation of casual yet upscale American eateries. Chef Michael Anthony continues to impress with his emphasis on seasonal ingredients, especially vegetables, while keeping regulars happy with the classics like the popular burger.

Gabriel Kreuther
Photograph: Todd Coleman

6. Gabriel Kreuther

Restaurants French Midtown West

The elegant dining room at Gabriel Kreuther is situated on the ground floor of the Grace Building. It's too comfortably cream-toned to be considered “cool” with fixed with timber barn beams and folky stork wallprints evocative of the Alsatian farm country where Kreuther hails. But the respectied chef isn’t concerned with cool, nor should he be. After an acclaimed decade at Danny Meyer’s MoMA restaurant, the Modern, the veteran chef joins the grand pantheon of name-bearing flagships—the Daniels, the Jean-Georges—with cooking that’s as personal as it is precise.

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Per Se
Photograph: Roxana Marroquin

7. Per Se

Restaurants Contemporary American Upper West Side

Expectations are high at Per Se—and that goes both ways. You are expected to come when they’ll have you and fork over $355 a head (gratuity included). You’re expected to wear the right clothes, pay a non-negotiable service charge and pretend you aren’t eating in a shopping mall. The restaurant, in turn, is expected to deliver one hell of a tasting menu—and it does. Dish after dish is flawless and delicious, beginning with Thomas Keller’s signature salmon tartare cone and luxe oysters-and-caviar starter. In the end, it’s all worth every penny (especially if someone else is paying).

Jean Georges
Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

8. Jean Georges

Restaurants French Upper West Side

Unlike so many of its vaunted peers, Jean Georges has not become a shadow of itself. The top-rated food is still breathtaking even if the celebrity overseas an empire of restaurants around the world.

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Eggplant with truffles at Kajitsu
Photograph: Filip Wolak

9. Kajitsu

Restaurants Japanese Murray Hill

This artful vegetarian restaurant—which moved from its original East Village basement digs to a Murray Hill townhouse—is likely the city’s most accomplished practitioner of shojin cuisine, a type of hyperseasonal vegan cooking that originated in Zen Buddhism, and is at the foundation of the Japanese kaiseki tradition.

Are you a vegetarian in NYC?

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