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The Breslin
Photograph: Michael Alexander The Breslin

The best restaurants near Madison Square Garden

Grab a pre-show snack or a post-game dinner at the best restaurants near Madison Square Garden in NYC

By Time Out New York editors and Dan Q Dao
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Despite having one of New York City’s most highly-trafficked entertainment venues, the area around Madison Square Garden was long regarded as a dining dead zone with just a few solid options for pre- or post-show bites. In the past couple of years, however, new restaurants near Madison Square Garden have cropped up in walking distance, including veritable Korean restaurants in K-Town and a mega-chef–helmed tapas restaurant. So whether you’re jamming out at one of the best concerts in NYC or rooting for your favorite sports team, you can fuel up at the best restaurants near Madison Square Garden.

RECOMMENDED: Full list of the best restaurants in NYC

Restaurants near Madison Square Garden

The Breslin Bar & Dining Room

Restaurants British Flatiron

Even in a city smitten with large-format feasts—whole hogs, huge steaks, heaps of fried chicken—the Breslin breaks new gluttonous ground. The third project from restaurant savant Ken Friedman and Anglo chef April Bloomfield offers the most opulently fatty food in New York—served in medieval portions in a raucous rock & roll setting. Within the casual-restaurant landscape that the pair, also behind the Spotted Pig, has come to epitomize—a world without tablecloths, reservations or haute cuisine pretense—the new gastropub delivers a near-perfect dining experience.

Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong

Restaurants Korean Midtown

For the yet-to-be converted, Korean barbecue can seem like utter chaos—a frenzy of pounding K-pop hits and smoke-spewing tableside grills always an inch or two away from firing up a lawsuit. Upon first glance, the Manhattan outpost of the immensely popular namesake chainlet from larger-than-life Korean personality Kang Ho Dong, a professional wrestler turned comedian and MC, looks like more of the riotous same. As with its Flushing and LA siblings, crude cartoon portraits of its proprietor color the 150-seat Koreatown space, baseball-capped servers bellow greetings when diners enter, and when there’s a birthday, the lights suddenly go low and “Gangnam Style” goes loud. Despite the noise and crowd, the cooking speaks of a quiet refinement courtesy of young-gun chef Deuki Hong, who previously put in kitchen time at Jean Georges and Momofuku.

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Lupulo

Restaurants Seafood Chelsea

This dressed-down follow-up to Michelin-starred Iberian stunner Aldea is George Mendes’s cavernous ode to his ancestral cuisine and the beer-taverncervejarias of Lisbon (lupulo means “hops” in Portuguese). Mendes serves a paella-like pot of octopus rice christened with gorgeously tender nubs of mollusk lustily adorned with olive, coriander and lime. Grilled asparagus spears punctuated with dried sea urchin and walnuts are as sparely sophisticated as anything you’d find at Aldea.

Larb Ubol
Photograph: Courtesy Creative Commons/Flickr/Garrett Ziegler

Larb Ubol

Restaurants Thai Hell's Kitchen

At this low-key Hell's Kitchen eatery, chef Ratchanee Sumpatboon (Zabb Elee) turns out specialties from northeastern Thailand such as kao moo dang (roast pork, sweet sausage and half-boiled egg) and yen ta fo (sour and spicy noodle soup with fish balls, squid and tofu).

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L'Amico

Restaurants Italian Chelsea

While with the booming BLT empire, an expansive—and expensive—brasserie chain with holdings from New York to Hong Kong to Waikiki, Laurent Tourondel island-hopped between steak concepts, raw bars and haute-burger joints. But with L’Amico, his new, Italian-inflected American restaurant in the right wing of the Eventi Hotel lobby, the French-born chef taps into one of the most democratic yet dissentious of eats: pizza. But before pitchfork-wielding purists come harping on the virtues of New York versus Neapolitan, it’s worth noting that Tourondel’s pies are neither.

Keens Steakhouse

Restaurants Steakhouse Midtown West

The ceiling and walls are hung with pipes, some from such long-ago Keens regulars as Babe Ruth, J.P. Morgan and Teddy Roosevelt. Even in these nonsmoking days, you can catch a whiff of the restaurant’s 120-plus years of history. Beveled-glass doors, two working fireplaces and a forest’s worth of dark wood suggest a time when “Diamond Jim” Brady piled his table with bushels of oysters, slabs of seared beef and troughs of ale. The menu still lists a three-inch-thick mutton chop (imagine a saddle of lamb but with more punch) and desserts such as key lime pie. Sirloin and porterhouse (for two or three) hold their own against any steak in the city.

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Gaonnuri

Restaurants Korean Midtown West

Located on the 39th floor of a Koreatown tower, the sleek space offers some amazing sights of a twinkling skyline through its wraparound windows. But the cooking, it turns out, is spectacular too. The Korean classics are among the best in the city, and, refreshingly, at not much more than sea-level prices. The kitchen—run by Tae Goo Kang, a Korean who’s cooked Japanese at Nobu 57 and French at the Modern—highlights grade-A ingredients and upscale presentations. 

Madangsui

Restaurants Korean Midtown West

Just three blocks north of Korea-town’s central 32nd Street stretch, this restaurant serves excellent barbecue and other traditional dishes.

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Salumeria Biellese
Photograph: Jessica Lin

Salumeria Biellese

Restaurants Delis Chelsea

Since 1925, this Italian food purveyor has been making and selling an impressive selection of sausages and cured meats. We especially like their domestic take on Italian lardo, made by seasoning Berkshire pork fatback with rosemary, pepper and spices, then burying it in salt for at least 30 days.

Stella 34 Trattoria
Photograph: Claudia Ficca

Stella 34 Trattoria

Restaurants Italian Midtown West

It's a little slice of Italy in America's department store—as part of a $400 million, four-year renovation, Macy's historic flagship has transformed its sixth floor into a grand 267-seat Neapolitan trattoria. The retail giant tapped haute toque Jonathan Benno (Lincoln Ristorante, Per Se) to oversee the Italian menu. After browsing racks of Burberry and Louis Vuitton, head to the marble bar for seasonal Bellinis or an Italian soda cocktail, while taking in expansive views of the Empire State Building via floor-to-ceiling windows. Benno's al forne entrées include béchamel-and-black-kale lasagna, caper-spiked sea bass and eggplant Parmesan, all pulled from wood-fired ovens. Sharing space in the fiery hearths are Jarett Appell's pizzas made with meticulously sourced ingredients.

Venue says Participate in springtime activities, face-painting and take home a photo with the Easter Bunny during our Breakfast and Lunch experiences!

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