Best Times Square restaurants
This buzzy, underground izakaya defies its dowdy location in the heart of Times Square with authentic Japanese flavors that would scare the fanny pack off most tourists. Bring a group, order a few pitchers of Sapporo, and keep the small plates coming: Japanese cucumbers are served with mayonnaise and sweet, funky miso for dipping. Okonomiyaki—a crispy, squid-and-cabbage pancake—is topped with a flurry of bonito flakes, while kara-age (hunks of fried chicken) are crispy nuggets buried under mild grated daikon and ponzu sauce.
Geoffrey Zakarian’s clubby gem is a throwback to New York’s fine-dining heyday—a place built for conversation and a languid meal. While chefs around town focus on being seasonally nimble, the veteran toque labors hard to create signature dishes, working and reworking until each one’s a keeper. Timeless expense-account fare includes lushly marbled foie gras torchon served with pureed quince and Concord grape jam, and a supple pine-nut–encrusted lamb saddle cooked optimally pink from end to end.
This super speedy Mexican favorite that opened in Chelsea Market got bigger, brighter digs near Times Square. Go for the tacos (duh) with fresh corn tortillas and adobada or nopal (catcus) if you're meat-free. Be prepared to pick your toppings at the open kitchen and chow down on a high-top counter.
A classic steakhouse experience, Hunt & Fish Club executes its meaty menu in a pristine, marble-tiled dining room kitted with glittering chandeliers and nouveau black-and-white artwork. Outside of standard beefy cuts like 42-ounce porterhouses and bone-in ribeyes, the docket spans fresh seafood, decadent pastas and creative sides like truffled tater tots in lieu of traditional spuds.
This spot from classically trained chef Hooni Kim was born of his frustration at not being able to find real, authentic Korean food. The restaurant's name refers to a small container for ingredients like the doenjang fermented bean paste), gochujang (spicy fermented bean paste) and ganjang (soy sauce) that Kim has shipped to his restaurants directly from Korea four times a year, and it’s what gives the food here a unique depth of flavor.
Chef Gari (a.k.a. Masatoshi Sugio) has opened his third restaurant. Located in the Theater District, the place serves 130 kinds of sushi as well as traditional Japanese dishes. The prix-fixe tasting menu (Gari’s Choice) is known for its adventurous plates like seared foie gras paired with daikon radish; salmon with tomato and onion; and spicy tuna with mayo, Tabasco and sesame oil. The traditional sushi and sashimi are supremely fresh, while hot dishes like negimaki, tempura, and udon hit their marks as well.
This Mexican eatery from chef Julian Medina (Tacuba, Coppelia) suits its Theater District locale: The dynamic, richly appointed duplex is adorned with beautiful tiles and murals of South of the border scenes. Buzzed-about concoctions include a crunchy grasshopper taco, but flashes of brilliance show up in more familiar fare: One seemingly simple shrimp entrée features garlicky crustaceans atop a mélange of snappy beans and squash. In lieu of a sweet finale, sip one of Toloache’s 100 tequilas.
A healthy spin on lunch flourishes at this wood-paneled takeout spot. Along with gluten-free items and fresh-pressed juices, the menu includes chai-spiced quinoa breakfast oatmeal, sandwiches (prosciutto and smoked chicken, roasted turkey with apple butter), and kale salad with pumpkin seeds, currants and pecorino.
The Theater District location of Danny Meyer’s burger stand serves Shack standards, along with a menu of frozen concretes exclusive to this location (the “Great White Way” is a vanilla custard blended with marshmallow sauce and crispy crunchies). Carnivores of all sizes love the burgers made from fresh-ground sirloin and brisket and tucked inside a pillowy potato roll; vegetarians will be more than happy to sink their teeth into a satisfying portobello cap stuffed with cheese and onions.
The London flagship of this luxe Cantonese chain, which includes seven locations worldwide, was the first Chinese restaurant to achieve Michelin-star status. At this 11,000-square-foot outpost, diners can find the original's signature plates, like roasted silver cod with champagne sauce and Chinese honey, and stir-fry black-pepper rib eye with merlot.
While tourists bumble into Sbarro looking for a New York slice, pizza aficionados have been busy colonizing this pedigreed place. Start with tasty bites like the frittatine (a deep-fried spaghetti cake oozing prosciutto cotto and béchamel sauce), before digging into the stellar wood-fired pies, which range from standards such as the Margherita to more creative constructions like the Rachetta, a racket-shaped pizza with a “handle” made of ricotta-stuffed dough.
Esca is the area’s slickest and most creative choice. Part of the Joe Bastianich empire, the menu takes a whirl through Southern Italian seaside cooking. Start with the signature raw antipasti, called crudi, then move on to excellent, shareable pastas such as fresh grilled fish, lavish Sicilian-style seafood stew, or succulent square-cut maccheroni alla chitarra with sea urchin and crab.
At this 4,000-square-foot food market, snag a turquoise barstool and sample bites like pickled turnips and tahini falafel from Ilili Box, cocoa-nibbed and passion-fruit–glazed doughnuts from Dough, and Spanish-mackerel sushi rolls from Azuki.