Yes, we care about food, but restaurants with the best art in NYC are notable for a whole other reason. While dining as an overall concept is one driven by the palate, there’s something to be said for those that bring another layer to the experience at the table, one of the visual variety. Sure, you could spend an afternoon wandering through the city’s best art museums and then winding down with the best cheap eats NYC has to offer to refuel afterward, but when in a time crunch, these artistically inspired restaurants do both settings justice in one fell swoop. Behold our official list of the dining destinations that best rival art galleries.
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Restaurants with the best art in NYC
Tucked away on the third floor of the Park Hyatt in Midtown, Bevy and its awe-inspiring light installation, SWARM XI, will dazzle you before you’ve even sat down to your table. Located above the bar facing the entrance to the restaurant, the twinkling cluster of LED lights mimics the constant movement of NYC in the form of a swarm of worker bees.
Downtown bi-level favorite Vandal (brought to you by the people behind Tao Group) boasts 22,000 square feet of sprawling and moodily lit space, all decked out in various interpretations of street art realized by a select group of notable artists including Shepard Fairey, Apex, Tristan Eaton and more. It’s no surprise that reservations are so coveted.
One of the Upper West Side’s greatest Greek restaurants comes with its own mural, because why not? Greek artist Kyveli Zoi is the mastermind behind the centerpiece of the restaurant, which covers the back wall and depicts the emotions within the act of painting, bringing warmth and a vibrant touch to the space. It’s best when paired with a shot of ouzo.
The Modern might have a bit of an advantage here given its location inside an actual museum—the Museum of Modern Art—and its backing by beloved NYC restaurateur Danny Meyer (Shake Shack, Gramercy Tavern, Union Square Cafe) doesn’t hurt either. The view of the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden makes for a backdrop as unforgettable as the kitchen’s seasonal dishes.
This Midtown restaurant seamlessly fuses elevated French brasserie food and the owner’s love of art. It’s also known for hosting a pretty wild boozy brunch, so needless to say, there’s a lot to take in (in the best way possible). That is, of course, if you have the rare opportunity to snag a reservation: We recommend calling a month in advance.
The new iteration of this West Village gem (relocated from its original location on Minetta Lane) pays homage to sports and hip-hop icons, its walls peppered with Sports Illustrated photography and portraits of music greats at every turn. There’s no better place to simultaneously stare at Muhammad Ali and twirl cacio e pepe around your fork.
Trattoria Dell’Arte’s name says it all. With superb Italian restaurant fare served right in the heart of Midtown (across from Carnegie Hall, no less) and scores of equally Italian works of art adorning the walls, this place is a gold mine for those craving carbs with a view. It’s also open late, so make this your post-show destination.
Looking for dessert?
The Japanese superlounge—which had locations in Tribeca and midtown before shuttering in 2014—is in similarly clubby company in lower Chelsea, also home to perennial playboy-favorites Tao and Buddakan. Taking over the former Cherry space at Dream Downtown, the 5,000-square-foot, 145-seat revamp comes courtesy of Beautique restaurateur Jon Bakhshi, who bought rights to the global chain last year. Bakhshi has tapped Top Chef alum Francis Tariga-Weshnak (Catch) to oversee a menu of modern-Japanese plates like sweet-potato ravioli with kombu foam; crab-pineapple rolls with yuzu mayo; and Tatsuta chicken with pickled eggplant.
Venue says: “Don't miss our Rainbow Dumpling class with Chef Frances Tariga-Weshnak! Purchase tickets on our website.”