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Boulud Sud
Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz Boulud Sud

The best restaurants near Lincoln Center

Looking for restaurants near Lincoln Center? Skip the tourist traps and head to these gems in NYC instead.

By Juliet Izon

Whether you’re craving high-end Italian or just a killer burger, there’s something for everyone at restaurants near Lincoln Center. Plus, with many offering pre-theater prix fixe menus, you’ll be safely ensconced in your seat well before the opening curtain at the New York City Ballet. Read on to see our favorite restaurants near Lincoln Center, whether you’re coming from Lincoln Center Out of Doors or just a stroll through Central Park.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in NYC

Best restaurants near Lincoln Center

Photograph: Courtesy Marea

1. Marea

Restaurants Italian Midtown West

Focusing on coastal seafood (the restaurant’s name means “tide” in Italian), this Central Park stunner is a temple to all creatures of the sea. Pasta fanatics will not want to leave without sampling Chef Michael White’s famed fusilli with octopus and bone marrow.

Lincoln Ristorante
Photograph: Courtesy Evan Sung

2. Lincoln

Restaurants Italian Upper West Side

Housed in a sleek freestanding building designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro, Lincoln’s architectural ambition is matched only by its refined cuisine. Now helmed by Chef Shea Gallante, diners can expect hearty Italian restaurant preparations with an emphasis on farm-to-table sourcing.

Sardinian Fregula
Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

3. The Leopard at des Artistes

Restaurants Italian Upper West Side

This romantic space, outfitted with walnut-wood columns, showcases the former tenant’s beautiful and historic oil murals. Chef Vito Gnazzo executes a Southern Italian menu that includes dishes such as buffalo ricotta gnocchi and traditional Sicilian couscous with shellfish ragout.

Photograph: Paul Wagtouicz

4. Boulud Sud

Restaurants Mediterranean Upper West Side

Superchef Daniel Boulud combines the foods of Spain, Italy and many more at his most international restaurant. But the restaurant’s cooking also plays to his strengths: It’s polished, elegant and still fundamentally French. Don’t miss the pre-theater, three-course prix-fixe; a relative bargain at $63.


5. Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill

Restaurants Japanese Hell's Kitchen

The first of a chainlet that has since expanded to Miami and LA, this bustling Columbus Circle spot boasts a truly astounding number of fish varieties. Options are divided by Atlantic or Pacific Ocean habitats, so bring along friends and eat your way across the globe. Did we mention they bottle their own sake in-house?

Photograph: Noah Fecks

6. Porter House Bar and Grill

Restaurants Steakhouse Upper West Side

Boasting dreamy views of Central Park, this Time Warner Center steakhouse is a carnivore’s paradise. Chef Michael Lomonaco stacks his menu with six different cuts of prime dry-aged beef, as well as the incomparably tender, true Japanese 100 percent Wagyu New York strip steak.


7. Rosa Mexicano

Restaurants Mexican Upper West Side

This David Rockwell–designed Mexican restaurant has vivid terrazzo steps, a two-story blue-tile water wall and backlit pressed roses that brighten the first-floor bar. The guacamole, an excellent bar snack, is deservedly famous, but don’t miss out on the equally addictive enchiladas suizas made with roasted chicken and creamy
tomatillo sauce.

Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Fred B.

8. The Smith

Restaurants American creative Upper West Side

This Lincoln Square spin-off offers the same menu of American brasserie fare as the East Village original. Take a seat at the zinc bar and choose from dishes like the Brooklyn-style fried calamari or a thick burger topped with American cheese and bacon.


9. Atlantic Grill

Restaurants Seafood Upper West Side

With a menu as sophisticated as its crowd, this upscale seafood restaurant specializes in teetering shellfish towers (with the sizes named Ballet, Opera and Symphony, naturally) and innovative sushi rolls. The weekday dinner prix fixe is music to theater-goers’ ears. Pun intended.

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