The area around tony Gramercy Park is, unsurprisingly, home to some of the city’s most upscale fine dining restaurants (Eleven Madison Park) and hard-to-get reservations (we’re looking at you, Cosme). But if you’re craving something a little more casual, the best Flatiron restaurants also include New York pizza parlors, bustling food courts and a park-set shack doling out one of the best burgers in NYC.
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Gramercy and Flatiron
Best Flatiron restaurants in NYC
New York is a rough town for newbies—whether it’s bright-eyed hopefuls yearning for a Swiftian utopia that doesn’t exist or an out-of-town chef who’s proved his culinary clout in the global arena, only to be chewed up and spit out by Gotham’s surly dining public. This city has devoured the best of them: Spain’s Dani García, Toronto’s Susur Lee and, most glaringly, France’s Alain Ducasse. Enter Enrique Olvera, the megawatt Mexico City talent behind Pujol, regularly ranked one of the 20 best restaurants in the world. His stateside debut Cosme, a bare-concrete Flatiron dining room, wasn’t met with the disregard that crippled his carpetbagging comrades. The response was the opposite: a bellow of buzz that hit before doors were even hinged, let alone opened.
Swiss chef Daniel Humm mans the kitchen at this vast Art Deco jewel, which began life as a brasserie before evolving into one of the city’s most rarefied and progressive eateries. The service is famously mannered, and the room among the city’s most grand. But the heady, epic tasting menus are the true heart of Eleven Madison Park, a format that spotlights Humm’s auteur instincts. Tableside flourishes are part of the fun: Look out for even more dazzling showmanship—including one dish presented by way of a sleight-of-hand trick.
It looks like the inside of Gwyneth Paltrow’s brain: The crisp, spacious room is a Goop-y stretch of all-white furniture, with pops of color courtesy artisanal ceramic plate ware, millennial-pink wall panels and boho banquettes draped in handwoven Andean textiles that likely cost more than your rent. Each menu—already littered with wellness buzzwords like “restorative tonics” and divided into categories that include Energizing & Fresh and Warm & Sustaining—arrives with a supplementary insert chart detailing the health benefits of various vegetables. (Eggplant is “an ally to your arteries and circulation,” FYI.) This chia-bowl wonderland is ABCV, the latest expansion of Jean-Georges Vongerichten and Paulette Cole’s ABC restaurant empire (ABC Kitchen, ABC Cocina) inside Flatiron’s ABC Carpet & Home complex, and the V stands not for “vagina steaming” (sorry, Paltrow) but for “vegetables.” Though the ABC brand has always been taken with hyperfresh produce—no doubt buoyed by the complex’s proximity to the Union Square Greenmarket—ABCV is Vongerichten’s first meat-free spot, and his first ABC project without Dan Kluger in the kitchen. (Kluger left the group in 2014 to open Loring Place.) Instead, chef de cuisine Neal Harden (formerly of the prominent raw-food restaurant Pure Food and Wine) oversees the burners and challenges vegetarian eating’s bland, Bikram-yogi connotations with bold flavors and global zest. Beluga lentils thrum with black vinegar ($13), carpaccio-thin slices of
Nur is a leader among New York's best restaurants offering cuisine inspired by Israel and the Levant, so, naturally, we invited it to hold court at Time Out Market New York. We tasted its food, reviewed the restaurant and had no hesitation in recommendong Nur for a spot at the market. Here’s why: If you want falafel, go to Mamoun’s. You won’t find the chickpea spheres anywhere at Nur, the forward-thinking, pan–Middle Eastern restaurant in Gramercy from Israeli-Moroccan celebutoque Meir Adoni (of Tel Aviv’s acclaimed Blue Sky and Lumina) and Breads Bakery founder Gadi Peleg. Instead, Adoni stretches beyond Israeli comfort cooking to pull influences from all over the Levant, from Jewish and Arab traditions as well as his own North African roots. (Nur is a word found in both Hebrew and Arabic, meaning “light.” It’s a fitting name for a 60-seat brasserie-style room that positively glows.) This melange of influences can be seen (and tasted) in every dish on the menu. The Sryian Caesar takes the classic salad of romaine and adds cruciferous veggies before tossing with toasted challah croutons and an anchovy-za'atar dressing. The Frishman Beach takes the classic pairing of watermelon and feta to new heights by adding on Moroccan olives and curry oil. The restaurant’s excellent breads, all produced at Breads Bakery, include a yeasty, oblong Jerusalem bagel served alongside a fresh pool of lima-bean messbaha and a soft, supple kubaneh with green Yemenite schug. Save pieces of thos
The reopening of Danny Meyer’s Union Square Cafe made headlines on every site in the foodie-verse and damn near caused a Resy meltdown. But Union Square Hospitality Group wasn’t quite done—next door to that downtown dining room sits this small café sister issuing out Joe Coffee (the group recently invested in the java chain) and house-baked breads (caraway rye, a house miche) and pastries (crullers in cinnamon-sugar, maple or original glaze) courtesy of head baker Justin Rosengarten. Chef Carmen Quagliata expands those offerings to include breakfast gougères (eggs with ham and spinach), lunch sandwiches (chicken milanese, a broccoli melt) and sides, like shaved Brussels sprouts with guanciale. The intimate space operates mostly as a takeout spot but there is a handful of high-top tables if you want to tuck in on site.
The beloved Bourke Street Bakery Sydney café that opened in 2004 by Paul Allam and David McGuinness, debuts in NoMad with its first-ever New York expansion (the New York space is run by Allam and wife, Jessica Grynberg). Pastries and cakes include lemon curd tarts, carrot cake, ginger crème brûlée, as well as New York-only treats like a PB & J roll. But their savory sausage rolls—lamb and harissa, pork and fennel, as well as a vegetarian-friendly version made with eggplant, chickpea, feta and mint—are what they've come to be known for. Bourke Street Bakery offers daily bread specials made in-house such as a turmeric and black pepper sourdough. An all-day savory menu includes "Wilbur's Sandwich" (broccoli, fennel, and slow-roasted pork), "Muffaleta Sandwich" (salami, ham, mortadella, mozzarella, provolone and olive salad on ciabatta) and "The Grandma Sandwich" (roasted chicken, celeriac, walnuts and tarragon remoulade on sourdough) as well as a smashed avocado toast, toasts with spreads, a smoked salmon offering, among many, many others. A selection of biodynamic wines are also available for a sit-down drink.
In New York City, nearby blocks can feel worlds apart. Case in point: “Curry Hill,” a traditional Indian food stronghold in Murray Hill, lies just north of Gupshup, a confident newcomer that is not only world’s apart from its mom- and-pop neighbors’ ambiance but also incorporates an international eclecticism right into its cooking. For example, you can flavor cracker-thin bread with some foie gras butter or wrap lentil chilla “pancakes” around pulled jackfruit, taco- style. As an alum of New Delhi’s posh Indian Accent, chef Gurpreet Singh is evermore relaxed in his bi-level digs, which resemble a colorful mansion of an imagined wealthy family in the 1970s Bombay. Here, black-and-white checkered floors and green velvet-cushioned booths evoke nostalgia, while a vibrant, bright-pink mural of a woman posing in a headdress and high heels brings a zeitgeist energy. On this fashionable stage, Singh ventures deep into fusion territory with small plates—think fluffy, street-style puchkas nestled in a curd-rice mousse flecked with nubs of lightly smoked salmon or a Mumbai-meets–Mexico City guacamole served with strips of spiced chips baked with chickpea flour. On the bread front, try a fragrant, caraway-seasoned kulcha: Filled with wilted garlic-coriander spinach, it can be spread with tomato-fennel chutney and fresh mint burrata and eaten like toast. Among the best of these freewheeling experiments is a Keralan-inspired rasam ramen that tangles wavy noodles with cubes of paneer chee
What chef doesn’t talk about her passion and craft? But so often that conversation translates into tedious, hard-nosed, by-the-book experiences: omakase replications straight from Tokyo or bolognese exactly the same as so-and-so’s Sicilian grandmother’s recipe. How refreshing, by contrast, that the dishes at Ferris are built on creativity. Set beneath the new MADE Hotel, the sleek rustic-chic decor gives nothing away in terms of the cuisine (which is technically new American). Hygge vibes flow from the low ceiling, chunky wood beams and faded blue cushioned benches, working in tandem with the open kitchen and floor-to-ceiling glass windows—albeit facing a basement garden—in a space where even the crowd is polished. “Every time, only once” reads the Yoda-meets-YOLO neon sign that guards the hotel entrance. Is it playful or serious? Like Ferris itself, it’s impossible to peg. The owners chose the name because they liked its cadence, its namesake wheel’s association with whimsy, and even the cavalier charisma of Mr. Bueller himself (they debated playing the ’80s classic’s signature soundtrack—Swiss band Yello’s “Oh Yeah”—on loop in the bathrooms). The artfully plated dishes from Le Turtle vet Greg Proechel offer couture comfort food: slick black-tahini beets; crispy chopped octopus on a fluffy bed of squid-ink custard; and citrusy, charred broccolini on a plate. Savory starters blur into eachother with the same winning formula: a sweet add-in, creamy sauce and a bit of crunch.
California cuisine has always been a curious thing. It’s local but globally inflected, lean but filling, as driven by its ingredients as by the chef seasoning them. The vague concept is more an aura than anything else—for a homegrown likeness, see the farm-to-table Brooklyn-eatery stereotype—a Golden State glow that radiates throughout Upland, a glossy tribute to chef Justin Smillie’s hometown nestled at the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains. The big, buzzing room, where even food-world brass like Bobby Flay recently had to wait for a table, is damn near sunny on a drab stretch of Park Avenue South, a testament to designers Roman and Williams who, between this and the similarly luminous Lafayette, prove to have a gaffer’s eye for great lighting. That good-looking gleam extends to the copper shelves stocked with uplit wine bottles and jars of preserved Moroccan lemons, the green-leather banquettes that carve out the space, the lacquered ceilings and the illustrious diners sitting beneath them, suit jackets tossed behind their chairs as they tuck into pear-and-arugula pizza ($18) and crispy, yuzukosho-smacked duck wings ($17). Smillie’s cooking is fittingly vibrant, bridging those West Coast roots and the hearty Italian he dazzled New Yorkers with at Il Buco Alimentari e Vineria. Torpedo beets with white chocolate ($13) and chili-zapped brussels sprouts ($11) tout to the former, but it’s the pizza and pastas here that act as ample reminders of Smillie’s italiano finesse.
The haute green cooking at Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s artfully decorated restaurant is based on gorgeous ingredients from up and down the East Coast. The local, seasonal bounty finds its way into dishes like a clam pizza, topped with pristine littlenecks, Thai chilies, sweet onions, garlic, lemon and herbs. Larger plates include a roasted chicken bathed in a vinegary glaze with wilted escarole and butter-sopped potato puree. Desserts, meanwhile, include a dazzling brown-butter tart with toasted hazelnuts and chocolate ganache. ABC delivers one message overall: Food that’s good for the planet needn’t be any less opulent, flavorful or stunning to look at.