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Photograph: Jason J Bonello

The 22 best restaurants in midtown

Including semi-secret dining destinations hidden in plain sight

Written by
Christina Izzo
,
Jake Cohen
&
Amber Sutherland-Namako
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For years, whenever someone’s asked for a restaurant recommendation in the middle of Manhattan, we’ve backed into the conversation with a list of caveats and requests that they don’t get their hopes too high. Midtown was for office lunch, if you even had the time to get away for it, or maybe for decent after work happy hour spots. More recently, however, we’ve found eating and drinking reasons to go to midtown on purpose. See which new sushi spots, old favorite steakhouses and hidden-in-plain-sight dining destinations have us heading into the neighborhood for the first time in a long time. 

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in NYC

Best midtown restaurants

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  • Restaurants
  • Indian
  • Midtown West
  • price 2 of 4

Indian Accent’s chic, streamlined space has a stylish bar, a few cozy nooks for date night and long banquettes to accommodate larger parties. Dinner is served in three or four courses (for $80 or $95) with items like potato sphere chaat, tofu masala and ghee roast lamb.


  • Restaurants
  • Steakhouse
  • Midtown West
  • price 4 of 4

Despite its address, Quality Meats is a hip, modern steakhouse with a downtown feel. The warm tones, exposed brick and Edison bulbs lend it this style, while the thick cuts of premium beef, seared to juicy perfection, keep loyal patrons coming back for more. Whether you’re there for date night or a lunch meeting, Quality Meats is a solid choice.

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  • Restaurants
  • Chinese
  • Midtown East

Lovely Hutong sparkles all around its gleaming, cavernous space, including down its unique, dramatically lit wine hallway. Some of the Northern Chinese restaurant’s many highlights include the mapo tofu, a dumpling quartet, wok-tossed lobster and a new flaming Peking duck that’s only available by advance order four nights a week. 

  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary American
  • Midtown West
  • price 4 of 4

Good looks aren’t everything, but they’re serious business here, where tables overlook the MoMA’s sculpture garden and diners carve their meat with Porsche steak knives. The pre-fixe menus are as carefully curated as any museum show, so get an early reservation to look out at the garden while the sun’s still out.

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  • Restaurants
  • Hamburgers
  • Midtown West
  • price 2 of 4

This small space recently repoened in its semi-hidden spot at the Thompson Central Park hotel—formerly the Parker Meridien. It’s a perfectly re-created burger emporium circa 1972, down to the “wood” paneling, vinyl booths and ingredients like Heinz ketchup and Arnold’s buns. The burgers are picture-perfect, too—juicy and flavorful with the perfect degree of char. 

  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • Midtown East
  • price 3 of 4

Empellón's 8,000-square-foot, 150-seat space features a ground-level dining room with bold, wall-spanning murals and a large balcony above. Must-try tacos are filled with pastrami, maitake mushrooms and lobster. Salads, fajitas and larger plates are also available. 

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Often imitated but never replicated, Halal Guys have become a critical component of any midtown bar night. If you happen to find yourself stumbling to the train after a long session at Jimmy’s Corner, its chicken over rice (with plenty of white and hot sauces) and gyros are well worth the detour—the blend of booze-absorbing starch and perfectly seasoned poultry makes for the perfect nightcap. A late-night visit might also help you avoid the lines that form at lunch time. 

  • Restaurants
  • Midtown West

New to the outskirts of Times Square, this is an offshoot of Sushi Lab located several floors above on the Sanctuary Hotel’s rooftop, and it serves a 13-course omakase for $100. The chef’s selection, which recently included a tuna flight, sensational scallop preparation and silken slice of Wagyu beef rivals that of many much higher priced options in Manhattan. 

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  • Restaurants
  • French
  • Midtown West

Midtown’s Boucherie has transformed its plot on semi-obscure “Sixth-and-a-half Avenue” into a veritable indoor/outdoor paradise replete with large, leafy flora and soaring ceilings. The space aims to evoke a Parisian square with French-forward menus to match. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Steakhouse
  • Midtown West
  • price 4 of 4

Keens is a New York City institution for a reason. The dark wood paneling, lush carpeting and impressive collection of clay pipes dating back to the 1800s makes you feel as if you’ve snuck into a Gatsby-era dinner club. The menu also boasts a bygone relic: the classic mutton chop, once a steakhouse staple but a tougher find today. 

  • Restaurants
  • American
  • Midtown East
  • price 4 of 4

The Grill has the kind of showy, hyperpersonalized service and keen eye for detail that has come to define Major Food Group, the restaurant label behind this, Carbone, Dirty French and Sadelle’s. Its branded blend of modern touches and nostalgic reverence has brought new light to the former and iconic Four Seasons inside midtown’s Seagram Building. 

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  • Restaurants
  • French
  • Midtown East
  • price 4 of 4

In an landscape filled with French fine dining establishments, La Grenouille has managed to make a name for itself with its old-school Catskills resort vibe and a range of classic-with-a-touch-of-modern dishes. The staff is professional and kind, and the late lunch menu (from 3:30pm) makes for an excellent escape from the office.

  • Restaurants
  • French
  • Midtown West
  • price 3 of 4

Michelin-starred chef Gabriel Kreuther is behind this palatial ode to French cuisine overlooking Bryant Park. As romantic as it is chic, Gabriel Kreuther restaurant is a dining experience. Every dish is expertly prepared and exquisitely presented. You can also swing by to his artisan chocolate shop, right next door.

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  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Midtown West
  • price 4 of 4

It’s all about the octopus at chef Michael White’s Michelin-starred Columbus Circle eatery. White’s gift for coming up with endless, mouthwatering Italian seafood dishes—Marea is Italian for “tide”—is most evident in his light, fresh fusilli, tossed with red wine braised octopus and rich, buttery bone marrow. 

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  • Restaurants
  • French
  • Midtown West
  • price 4 of 4

Still one of NYC's premier fine dining sestinations, Le Bernardin's seafood-focused menu is impressive to say the least. Its ambiance is also pure elegance, the wine list stretches for miles and the bartenders mix a mean classic cocktail.

Danji
  • Restaurants
  • Korean
  • Hell's Kitchen
  • price 2 of 4

Quietly tucked away on West 52nd Street, this innovative Korean hotspot shines like a true gem against a backdrop of chain restaurants. The menu is refined yet approachable, full of vegetarian options and lovingly prepared mainstays like scallion covered pork belly sliders and spicy chicken wings. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Japanese
  • Midtown East
  • price 4 of 4

Just a hop, skip and jump down from Grand Central Station, Karuma Zushi has been delighting midtowners with classic, flavorful, fresh sushi and sashimi for nearly 40 years. The à la carte menu is loaded with freshwater eel, fatty tuna and Japanese sea urchin.

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