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Café Carmellini is the latest restaurant from Andrew Carmellini.
Café Carmellini

The Best Restaurants in Midtown East

Fine dining, fast-casual, and a great pub burger are all available in the neighborhood

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Café Carmellini is the latest restaurant from Andrew Carmellini.
| Café Carmellini

For many, the eastern stretches of Midtown were a place to commute to for work, or the occasional business lunch or breakfast; it’s not known for being much of a culinary destination. But a strong roster of dining options does indeed exist in Midtown East and has managed to survive despite the lack of office crowds during the pandemic. There are historical gems, like Grand Central Oyster Bar, as well as newcomers like Kjun. Some of the city’s iconic steakhouses and burger joints exist here, too, as do excellent options for ramen and Sichuan dishes. Ahead places well worth a meal in Midtown East.

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Hutong New York

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Midtown’s Hutong is distinct from many of the dim sum parlors that populate Chinatown and Sunset Park. For one, this Hong Kong-based chain is serving an impressive variety of dishes from Sichuan, Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangdong, each with a modern twist. The yu xiang crispy pork mochi dumplings, for example, are dyed jet black, and Eater senior critic Robert Sietsema heartily recommends the roast Peking duck, served in half or whole portions. And as of last fall, a flaming duck option was added via special reservation. The Art Deco space is grand and quiet, with a glamorous walk-through wine cellar that the restaurant has nicknamed its “champagne runway.”

Three black oblong dumplings arranged on a golden ridged platter sitting on a black plate on a white background.
Yu xiang crispy pork mochi dumplings.
Tanya Blum/Hutong

Aquavit

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The focus at this two-Michelin-starred spot is on local and sustainable ingredients, with an emphasis on seafood, but chef Emma Bengtsson’s Arctic Bird’s Nest — a stunningly realistic-looking creation incorporating a honey nest, chocolate twigs, freeze-dried raspberries, brownie dirt, and shredded halvah — is worth the trip on its own. Though it’s possible to splurge with the $275 chef’s tasting, several price points are available, including a $175 tasting menu, an a la carte bar menu, and two-course ($75) or three-course ($85) lunch menus. 

A colorful dessert of brownie dirt, raspberries and blueberries, shredded halvah, chocolate twigs, and a honey nest scattered on a white table.
Aquavit’s Arctic Bird’s Nest dessert.
Signe Birck/Aquavit

Chola has been serving the Midtown East neighborhood for over 20 years, sending out affordable to-go lunches for office workers and nightly feasts of coastal Indian fare. Expect a sprawling, pan-regional menu of meat dishes, vegetarian fare, and vegan items, but notable seafood dishes include crab poriyal, Mumbai fish fry, and prawns koliwada.

Le Rock

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One of the biggest name-check restaurants at the newly-relaunched Rockefeller Center is Le Rock. The restaurant from the team behind Frenchette, serves Art Deco glamour, steak au poivre, and can’t-miss dessert tours for power meetings at all times of day.

Bison au poivre sits on a plate, slathered in orange cream peppercorn sauce; a plate of fries sit on the side.
Bison au poivre.
Le Rock

P.J. Clarke's

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The original outpost of the reliable bar with a signature, standout burger is housed in Midtown East. It’s one of the city’s finest patties; in fact, the cheeseburger at P.J. Clarke’s was once dubbed the “Cadillac of burgers” by Nat King Cole circa the 1950s. The bet seats are at the bar, where counter workers will bring you a half-dozen raw oysters or clams to pair with your ice cold martini.

A picture-perfect burger, topped with lettuce, tomato, and bacon on a bun, sits on a plate next to french fries.
A picture-perfect burger from P.J. Clarke’s.
Eater NY

Fresco by Scotto

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The restaurant from matriarch Marion and daughters Elaina Scotto and Rosanna Scotto (the latter also an anchor on Good Day New York on Fox 5 News) serves Italian American classics for lunch and dinner. And while it serves the business community — Mayor Eric Adams has been known to swing by — it’s a fun spot for Midtown, with its lemon trees, outdoor garden area, DJs, and old-school vibe.

A meatball on a plate with people taking photos.
The meatball at Fresco by Scotto.
Lanna Apisukh/Eater NY

The Grill

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Major Food Group’s takeover of the landmark Four Seasons space remains a citywide destination for expensive a la carte fine dining — all in the form of a throwback chophouse. In the stunning midcentury room, designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Philip Johnson, patrons gather for Dover sole, red meat, and martinis, with the same level of glitz and theatrics as the team’s Carbone.

A high-ceilinged room with sun streaming in over a large, empty dining room with tables draped in white tablecloths.
Inside the Grill.
Gary He/Eater NY

Grand Sichuan Eastern

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This Second Avenue staple remains a fantastically reliable institution for quality Sichuan fare. Expect all the usual players: tender and spicy cumin lamb, silky mapo tofu, meaty dan dan, tingly Sichuan cold noodles, slippery mung bean noodles with chile sauce, and gelatinous beef tendon.

Totto Ramen

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This Midtown West ramen joint expanded east in 2014, serving its signature tori paitan chicken broth bowls. The building is a veritable slice of ramen-slurping paradise; above the east side outpost of Totto lies Hide-Chan Ramen. But it’s not a competition between two noodle-slinging spots. They’re actually both owned by the same man, Bobby Munekata. Both Totto Ramen and Hide-Chan serve up nicely firm noodles; Hide-Chan, however, specializes in tonkotsu (pork bone) broth.

Grand Central Oyster Bar

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The iconic seafood destination is nestled under soaring, beautifully arched and tiled ceilings in a subterranean space inside Grand Central Terminal. The environs, complete with massive U-shaped counter seating perfect for dining solo, are so special that the restaurant nabbed the Design Icon Award at the James Beard Awards in 2017. In addition to ordering up a platter of raw bivalves, don’t miss the epic oyster pan roast. All of the seafood goes down smoothly with a stiff martini. Note that it’s closed on Saturdays and Sundays.

A long underground bar with backed bar stools is set up under an arching tunneled ceiling with yellow glowing lights.
Inside the iconic New York spot.
Grand Central Oyster Bar

Sushi Yasuda

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This celebrated sushi spot is one of the city’s finest. Chef Naomichi Yasuda opened the place in 1999 and was known for creating a detail-oriented, quite traditional, and personalized sushi experience; he left in 2011, but his namesake restaurant has maintained the same level of quality since and, in fact, it now boasts a Michelin star.

Korean meets New Orleans at this Midtown East hot spot that started as a pop-up with dishes like fried chicken, tomato kimchi, and jambalaya, or shrimp and grits in shrimp dashi. Now the menu is a robust collection of snacks, sides, and hearty meat dishes served in a warm, utilitarian dining area.

The lunch set meal displayed on white paper imprinted with the Kjun logo, laid over a black plate on a wooden table.
Kjun in Midtown East.
Dan Ahn/Kjun

Gopchang Story BBQ - Manhattan

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At Gopchang, offal is the headliner, writes Eater critic Robert Sietsema. Located nearby many other Koreatown restaurants worth your attention, Gopchang doesn’t play it safe. Located up a flight of stairs from street level, it’s a “symphony of organ meats.” There’s a location in Manhattan as well as Flushing. The move here is barbecue (large and small intestines, heart, tongue, tripe), but there are also casseroles, soups, rice, and noodles as well.

A heaping bowl of browned and glistening intestines.
A heaping bowl of browned and glistening intestines.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Her Name is Han

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Nostalgic Korean home cooking delivered with a sense of style from the prolific Hand Hospitality group, it’s an early example and still one of the best of what Hand has opened in the last few years.

Her Name is Han.
A dish from Her Name is Han.
Eater

Okdongsik New York

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Sibling to Hand Hospitality restaurants which include homestyle spot, Her Name Is Han; dessert shop Lysée; the revival of hot pot restaurant, Hakata Tonton; and the East Village’s Ariari, Okdongsik offers mainly the traditional soup gomtang, and mandoo. While it’s an incredibly brief menu of two items, New York Times critic Pete Wells declared, “both are outstanding.”

Stew and kimchi on a counter.
Dweji gomtang at Okdongsik.
Melissa McCart/Eater NY

Café Carmellini

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Café Carmellini evokes luxuriousness, a reminder of white tablecloth fine dining days without the astronomical prices of similar restaurants in the genre. Named for chef Andrew Carmellini behind restaurants such as Lafayette, the Dutch, and Locanda Verde, his namesake features a collection of greatest hits and favorite dishes, such as veal tongue with lentils, crab mille-feuille, duck tortellini, and rabbit cacciatore.

Grapefruit in a silver dish.
A dessert at Café Carmellini.
Café Carmellini

This two-Michelin-starred restaurant is leading the charge for a new wave of Korean fine dining restaurants. From the same team behind Atoboy and Naro, Atomix has been heaped with awards since its debut for its ambitious menu. Reservations can be extremely hard to nab.

A downstairs dining room at Atomix.
The downstairs dining room at Atomix.
Louise Palmberg/Eater

Hutong New York

Midtown’s Hutong is distinct from many of the dim sum parlors that populate Chinatown and Sunset Park. For one, this Hong Kong-based chain is serving an impressive variety of dishes from Sichuan, Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangdong, each with a modern twist. The yu xiang crispy pork mochi dumplings, for example, are dyed jet black, and Eater senior critic Robert Sietsema heartily recommends the roast Peking duck, served in half or whole portions. And as of last fall, a flaming duck option was added via special reservation. The Art Deco space is grand and quiet, with a glamorous walk-through wine cellar that the restaurant has nicknamed its “champagne runway.”

Three black oblong dumplings arranged on a golden ridged platter sitting on a black plate on a white background.
Yu xiang crispy pork mochi dumplings.
Tanya Blum/Hutong

Aquavit

The focus at this two-Michelin-starred spot is on local and sustainable ingredients, with an emphasis on seafood, but chef Emma Bengtsson’s Arctic Bird’s Nest — a stunningly realistic-looking creation incorporating a honey nest, chocolate twigs, freeze-dried raspberries, brownie dirt, and shredded halvah — is worth the trip on its own. Though it’s possible to splurge with the $275 chef’s tasting, several price points are available, including a $175 tasting menu, an a la carte bar menu, and two-course ($75) or three-course ($85) lunch menus. 

A colorful dessert of brownie dirt, raspberries and blueberries, shredded halvah, chocolate twigs, and a honey nest scattered on a white table.
Aquavit’s Arctic Bird’s Nest dessert.
Signe Birck/Aquavit

Chola

Chola has been serving the Midtown East neighborhood for over 20 years, sending out affordable to-go lunches for office workers and nightly feasts of coastal Indian fare. Expect a sprawling, pan-regional menu of meat dishes, vegetarian fare, and vegan items, but notable seafood dishes include crab poriyal, Mumbai fish fry, and prawns koliwada.

Le Rock

One of the biggest name-check restaurants at the newly-relaunched Rockefeller Center is Le Rock. The restaurant from the team behind Frenchette, serves Art Deco glamour, steak au poivre, and can’t-miss dessert tours for power meetings at all times of day.

Bison au poivre sits on a plate, slathered in orange cream peppercorn sauce; a plate of fries sit on the side.
Bison au poivre.
Le Rock

P.J. Clarke's

The original outpost of the reliable bar with a signature, standout burger is housed in Midtown East. It’s one of the city’s finest patties; in fact, the cheeseburger at P.J. Clarke’s was once dubbed the “Cadillac of burgers” by Nat King Cole circa the 1950s. The bet seats are at the bar, where counter workers will bring you a half-dozen raw oysters or clams to pair with your ice cold martini.

A picture-perfect burger, topped with lettuce, tomato, and bacon on a bun, sits on a plate next to french fries.
A picture-perfect burger from P.J. Clarke’s.
Eater NY

Fresco by Scotto

The restaurant from matriarch Marion and daughters Elaina Scotto and Rosanna Scotto (the latter also an anchor on Good Day New York on Fox 5 News) serves Italian American classics for lunch and dinner. And while it serves the business community — Mayor Eric Adams has been known to swing by — it’s a fun spot for Midtown, with its lemon trees, outdoor garden area, DJs, and old-school vibe.

A meatball on a plate with people taking photos.
The meatball at Fresco by Scotto.
Lanna Apisukh/Eater NY

The Grill

Major Food Group’s takeover of the landmark Four Seasons space remains a citywide destination for expensive a la carte fine dining — all in the form of a throwback chophouse. In the stunning midcentury room, designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Philip Johnson, patrons gather for Dover sole, red meat, and martinis, with the same level of glitz and theatrics as the team’s Carbone.

A high-ceilinged room with sun streaming in over a large, empty dining room with tables draped in white tablecloths.
Inside the Grill.
Gary He/Eater NY

Grand Sichuan Eastern

This Second Avenue staple remains a fantastically reliable institution for quality Sichuan fare. Expect all the usual players: tender and spicy cumin lamb, silky mapo tofu, meaty dan dan, tingly Sichuan cold noodles, slippery mung bean noodles with chile sauce, and gelatinous beef tendon.

Totto Ramen

This Midtown West ramen joint expanded east in 2014, serving its signature tori paitan chicken broth bowls. The building is a veritable slice of ramen-slurping paradise; above the east side outpost of Totto lies Hide-Chan Ramen. But it’s not a competition between two noodle-slinging spots. They’re actually both owned by the same man, Bobby Munekata. Both Totto Ramen and Hide-Chan serve up nicely firm noodles; Hide-Chan, however, specializes in tonkotsu (pork bone) broth.

Grand Central Oyster Bar

The iconic seafood destination is nestled under soaring, beautifully arched and tiled ceilings in a subterranean space inside Grand Central Terminal. The environs, complete with massive U-shaped counter seating perfect for dining solo, are so special that the restaurant nabbed the Design Icon Award at the James Beard Awards in 2017. In addition to ordering up a platter of raw bivalves, don’t miss the epic oyster pan roast. All of the seafood goes down smoothly with a stiff martini. Note that it’s closed on Saturdays and Sundays.

A long underground bar with backed bar stools is set up under an arching tunneled ceiling with yellow glowing lights.
Inside the iconic New York spot.
Grand Central Oyster Bar

Sushi Yasuda

This celebrated sushi spot is one of the city’s finest. Chef Naomichi Yasuda opened the place in 1999 and was known for creating a detail-oriented, quite traditional, and personalized sushi experience; he left in 2011, but his namesake restaurant has maintained the same level of quality since and, in fact, it now boasts a Michelin star.

Kjun

Korean meets New Orleans at this Midtown East hot spot that started as a pop-up with dishes like fried chicken, tomato kimchi, and jambalaya, or shrimp and grits in shrimp dashi. Now the menu is a robust collection of snacks, sides, and hearty meat dishes served in a warm, utilitarian dining area.

The lunch set meal displayed on white paper imprinted with the Kjun logo, laid over a black plate on a wooden table.
Kjun in Midtown East.
Dan Ahn/Kjun

Gopchang Story BBQ - Manhattan

At Gopchang, offal is the headliner, writes Eater critic Robert Sietsema. Located nearby many other Koreatown restaurants worth your attention, Gopchang doesn’t play it safe. Located up a flight of stairs from street level, it’s a “symphony of organ meats.” There’s a location in Manhattan as well as Flushing. The move here is barbecue (large and small intestines, heart, tongue, tripe), but there are also casseroles, soups, rice, and noodles as well.

A heaping bowl of browned and glistening intestines.
A heaping bowl of browned and glistening intestines.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Her Name is Han

Nostalgic Korean home cooking delivered with a sense of style from the prolific Hand Hospitality group, it’s an early example and still one of the best of what Hand has opened in the last few years.

Her Name is Han.
A dish from Her Name is Han.
Eater

Okdongsik New York

Sibling to Hand Hospitality restaurants which include homestyle spot, Her Name Is Han; dessert shop Lysée; the revival of hot pot restaurant, Hakata Tonton; and the East Village’s Ariari, Okdongsik offers mainly the traditional soup gomtang, and mandoo. While it’s an incredibly brief menu of two items, New York Times critic Pete Wells declared, “both are outstanding.”

Stew and kimchi on a counter.
Dweji gomtang at Okdongsik.
Melissa McCart/Eater NY

Related Maps

Café Carmellini

Café Carmellini evokes luxuriousness, a reminder of white tablecloth fine dining days without the astronomical prices of similar restaurants in the genre. Named for chef Andrew Carmellini behind restaurants such as Lafayette, the Dutch, and Locanda Verde, his namesake features a collection of greatest hits and favorite dishes, such as veal tongue with lentils, crab mille-feuille, duck tortellini, and rabbit cacciatore.

Grapefruit in a silver dish.
A dessert at Café Carmellini.
Café Carmellini

Atomix

This two-Michelin-starred restaurant is leading the charge for a new wave of Korean fine dining restaurants. From the same team behind Atoboy and Naro, Atomix has been heaped with awards since its debut for its ambitious menu. Reservations can be extremely hard to nab.

A downstairs dining room at Atomix.
The downstairs dining room at Atomix.
Louise Palmberg/Eater

Related Maps