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Photograph: Courtesy Oceana

The very best restaurants near Rockefeller Center

When you need a pit stop from the hustle and bustle of midtown, here are the best restaurants near Rockefeller Center.

By Bao Ong and Time Out contributors

Rockefeller Center is one of those NYC destinations that you just can't escape. Visiting the Rockefeller Christmas tree with an aunt? Going ice skating in April? Need to shop at practically any store? The touristy spot might not have the trendiest new restaurants in NYC, but there are still solid places to dig in at the best restaurants near Rockefeller Center.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in NYC

Restaurants near Rockefeller Center

The Modern
Nathan Rawlinson

1. The Modern

Restaurants Contemporary American Midtown West

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, and the menu is inspired and tasty. Get an early reservation so you can look out at the garden while the sun’s still out.

Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Limani

2. Limani

Restaurants Mediterranean Midtown West

The second outpost of this Greek/Mediterranean spot favors fresh fish and Hellenic home cooking, dishing out mains like wild black bass for two and char-grilled lobster with broccoli rabe and feta in an all-white, modern space. 


3. Hatsuhana

Restaurants Japanese Midtown East

This midtown classic, popular among Metro-North travelers on shopping expeditions with their preteens, was one of the first restaurants to introduce New Yorkers to the then-mysterious delights of sushi and sashimi, nearly three decades ago. It’s still worth a visit for its lovely bento-style Box of Dreams, which is divided into nine compartments, like a tic-tac-toe board.

La Grenouille
Courtesy La Grenouille

4. La Grenouille

Restaurants French Midtown East

While many of New York’s haute French dinosaurs have gone extinct, historic La Grenouille, opened in 1962, remains a window to a time when stuffy waiters and chateaubriand were considered the highest form of dining. Inside, it doesn’t get much snootier: jackets are required, cell phones and kids forbidden, and the electric red décor, full of mirrors and flowers and deco details, has the feel of a Mad Men power lunch. 

Photograph: Courtesy Ralph Smith Studio

5. Mastro's Steakhouse

Restaurants Steakhouse Midtown West

The national chain's first East Coast location adheres to steakhouse standards, serving seared bone-in cuts, hearty sides (lobster mashed potatoes, fried onion rings) and a raw bar offering king-crab legs and jumbo-shrimp cocktail.

Photograph: Courtesy Del Frisco's Grille

6. Del Frisco’s Grille

Restaurants Steakhouse Midtown West

Del Frisco’s Grille in Rockefeller Center is the more affordable offshoot of the national chain’s famed steakhouse located just across Sixth Avenue. Situated on the edge of the plaza with a large, patio-style outdoor seating area, it serves as a secluded hideaway from hordes of milling tourists in a neighborhood populated primarily by Irish dives and bank-busting fine dining spots. Here, you’ll find all the hallmarks of a chain restaurant, albeit an upscale version.


7. Ipanema Restaurant

Restaurants Brazilian Midtown West

Ipanema is a relaxed choice for authentic Brazilian-Portuguese cuisine. The menu combines classic Portuguese recipes with zesty Brazilian cuisine for dishes like feijoada, pao de queijo, bacalhau assado and bitoque mariscada.

Photograph: Courtesy Oceana

8. Oceana

Restaurants Seafood Midtown West

Oceana's owners moved the place south into more spacious and opulent digs. If the uptown Oceana had been a snug pleasure craft (it was designed to resemble a yacht), its midtown incarnation—with Brobdingnagian lamp shades and vases and an overabundance of polished white marble—is more like a luxury liner. The new restaurant, which is twice the size of the old one, sets its sights on a broader audience, with a bar menu designed to ensnare an after-work crowd.

Pumpkin Pie from Bouchon bakery
Photograph: Virginia Rollison

9. Bouchon Bakery

Restaurants Bakeries Hell's Kitchen

Thomas Keller from Michelin-starred Per Se brings his upscale French-style sandwiches, salads and pastries to Rockefeller Center for those looking for a fork-full of sugar. 

The Sea Grill
Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Jota M.

10. The Sea Grill

Restaurants Seafood Midtown West

Just steps from NBC’s studios, Sea Grill offers local-celebrity spotting and, in winter, close-up views of folks wobbling on the Rock Center skating rink. The kitchen turns out dependable seafood, like thick, moist crab cakes and superfresh salmon. The service is as sleek as the modern decor, which was revised by Adam Tihany a few years back, and the crème brûlée is to diet for.

Or if you want to travel a few more blocks


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