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A collection of colorful dumplings placed in a bamboo steamer with sauces off to the side.
Dim sum from Hutong.
Tanya Blum/Hutong

21 Spots to Have a Decent Meal in Midtown East

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

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Dim sum from Hutong.
| Tanya Blum/Hutong

For many, the eastern stretches of Midtown were a place to commute to for work, or for the occasional business lunch or breakfast; it’s not known for being much of a culinary destination. But a strong roster of dining options do indeed exist in Midtown East, and have managed to survive despite the lack of office crowds during the pandemic. There are historical gems, like La Grenouille’s celebrated haute French fare and the Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant. Some of the city’s iconic steakhouses and burger joints exist here, too, as do excellent options for ramen and Sichuan dishes. Among adds: a new Korean barbecue chain and a tonkotsu ramen shop. Ahead, 21 places well worth a meal in Midtown East.

Health experts consider dining out to be a high-risk activity for the unvaccinated; it may pose a risk for the vaccinated, especially in areas with substantial COVID transmission.

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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

Land of Plenty

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Excellent, sufficiently numbing and tingly tasting Sichuan food is the draw here. Highlights include Madame Song’s seafood noodles, poached rabbit, and crispy tofu with roast chile and cumin. It’s all served in a white-washed space that’s polished and trendy.

Diners eating and talking at tables with white tablecloths in a white-walled room at Land of Plenty.
Diners at Land of Plenty.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

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.

La Grenouille

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A truly iconic stalwart of French haute cuisine, La Grenouille is Manhattan’s last remaining place to sample the fanciest of midcentury Gallic fare. It opened in 1962, and has been serving dover sole, whitefish quenelles, lobster raviolis, and the laborious classical French ilk ever since. Temporarily closed through Sept. 8.

A white plate with a hand spooning sauce on it, next to fish, green beans, and a half lemon placed on the dish.
Dover sole at La Grenouille.
Bill Addison/Eater NY

Koba Korean BBQ

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Short for Korean barbecue, this fast-casual, moderately priced spot offers what they’re calling traditional Korean — bulgogi bowls, kimchi fried rice, bibimbap, and ssambap — priced between $10 and $15. It’s the only Manhattan location at the moment, with the midtown spot in the Bread Factory temporarily closed.

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.
Nick Solares/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. Among the signature items are littleneck clams with Tabasco relish, avocado crab Louis, seafood gumbo, honey mustard duckling, ham steaks with pickled pineapple, and prime ribs carved tableside with deviled bones.

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.  

Urbanspace at 570 Lex

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Food hall brand Urbanspace’s location on Lexington has several good stall options. Stop by for a quick meal of Italian heroes from Cappone’s, a cappuccino and an egg sandwich from Little Collins, or a selection of bao from Bao by Kaya.

In the center of the photo, two people talk as they walk up the stairs of a two-level shopping mall. On the lower level, people move about.
The entrance to Urbanspace.
Alex Staniloff/Eater NY

Totto Ramen

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This beloved 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.

A post shared by Sun Noodle (@sunnoodles) on

Hide-Chan Ramen Midtown East

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The restaurateur behind Totto Ramen and Anthony Bourdain-endorsed Yakitori Totto, Bobby Munekata is behind Hide-Chan, founded in Japan by Hideto Kawahara in 1993 — with an emphasis on tonkotsu ramen, characterized by a rich, creamy pork broth. Diners can order nearly a dozen styles, from classic to spicy, with miso or extra pork. Noodles are available soft to extra firm. Prices start around $15 for a bowl of ramen. And yes, there is beer, wine, sake, and soju.

Ole & Steen

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Danish import Ole & Steen occupies a fairly large outpost in Midtown East, with ample table space set up for lunch breaks and coffee stops. The baked goods run the gamut from flaky croissants and cinnamon swirls to fancy fruit tarts and cakes. For those looking for heartier fare, a robust breakfast and lunch menu includes turkey sausage breakfast rolls and a packed roast beef sandwich with mango chutney and horseradish mayo. 

Danish sweet rolls are spectacular.
Danish pastries from Ole & Steen.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Ophelia Lounge NYC

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Excellent views, accompanied by fancy cocktails, are the main attractions at this swishy cocktail lounge, located in a space with rich history. Perched on the 26th floor of the Beekman Tower, the rooftop bar has sweeping views of the East River, with outside space as well as an enclosed patio area. Drinks like the Ophelia’s Ascension (bourbon and Jamaican pepper-infused mezcal) are accompanied by snacks like steak tartare or hamachi crudo. The digs were once frequented by Frank Sinatra, and, before that, served as a residence for young professional women formerly in sororities circa the 1920s.

Aburiya Kinnosuke

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This Japanese robata grill, set in an intimate, dark-wooded space, offers an array of proteins to choose from, including beef tongue and pork belly. There’s also a smaller range of seafood, offered raw in a sashimi assortment, or grilled, including miso black cod and mackerel. Sides to round out a carnivorous feast (or surf-and-turf, depending on the order) here include edamame, stir-fried vegetables, and tamagoyaki omelets.

Grand Central Oyster Bar

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The iconic seafood destination, which reopened last September after a pandemic hiatus, 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 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.  

A long underground bar with backed bar stools is set up under an arching tunneled ceiling with yellow glowing lights. Grand Central Oyster Bar

Overlook

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Overlook — a sports bar often populated by Chicago Bears, Cubs, or Islanders fans when a game is on — serves a particularly great burger, plus tasty wings. The pleasantly divey space is covered with a surprising treasure trove of cartoons on a huge wall, and the place was dubbed “the Sistine Chapel of cartooning” by The New York Times. Check the website for a rotating cast of food and drink specials on weeknights.  

Sakagura

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Tucked in a cool subterranean space below a Midtown office building, Sakagura serves up Japanese small plates, along with over 200 sakes. It’s been around since 1996, and touts itself a pioneer of sake selection and education in NYC, with events and tastings regularly offered. Sakagura was largely prix fixe during the pandemic, but more extensive izakaya-style a la carte offerings have since returned. Among the offerings are raw fluke with ponzu, dashi egg omelets, housemade cold soba, and stone grilled A5 wagyu.  

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.  

Sarge’s Delicatessen & Diner

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For over 50 years, Jewish deli and diner Sarge’s has been cranking out towering pastrami sandwiches, pints of belly-warming matzoh ball soup, and a host of classic diner plates on its 200-plus item menu. It’s a comfortable spot to slide into a faded brown booth and unwind during off hours, but be prepared to throw some elbows at the counter to get in an order during the lunch rush.

Pio Pio

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The Pio Pio chain is one of the city’s most reliable spots for solid, affordable rotisserie chicken and assorted Peruvian fare. Key menu items include the spicy ceviche, empanadas de pollo, lomo saltado (filet mignon sauteed with soy sauce), arroz chaufa (Peruvian-style Chinese fried rice), and of course the succulent and tender chicken, paired with fries and a garlicky green sauce.  

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

Land of Plenty

Excellent, sufficiently numbing and tingly tasting Sichuan food is the draw here. Highlights include Madame Song’s seafood noodles, poached rabbit, and crispy tofu with roast chile and cumin. It’s all served in a white-washed space that’s polished and trendy.

Diners eating and talking at tables with white tablecloths in a white-walled room at Land of Plenty.
Diners at Land of Plenty.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

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.

La Grenouille

A truly iconic stalwart of French haute cuisine, La Grenouille is Manhattan’s last remaining place to sample the fanciest of midcentury Gallic fare. It opened in 1962, and has been serving dover sole, whitefish quenelles, lobster raviolis, and the laborious classical French ilk ever since. Temporarily closed through Sept. 8.

A white plate with a hand spooning sauce on it, next to fish, green beans, and a half lemon placed on the dish.
Dover sole at La Grenouille.
Bill Addison/Eater NY

Koba Korean BBQ

Short for Korean barbecue, this fast-casual, moderately priced spot offers what they’re calling traditional Korean — bulgogi bowls, kimchi fried rice, bibimbap, and ssambap — priced between $10 and $15. It’s the only Manhattan location at the moment, with the midtown spot in the Bread Factory temporarily closed.

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.
Nick Solares/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. Among the signature items are littleneck clams with Tabasco relish, avocado crab Louis, seafood gumbo, honey mustard duckling, ham steaks with pickled pineapple, and prime ribs carved tableside with deviled bones.

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.  

Urbanspace at 570 Lex

Food hall brand Urbanspace’s location on Lexington has several good stall options. Stop by for a quick meal of Italian heroes from Cappone’s, a cappuccino and an egg sandwich from Little Collins, or a selection of bao from Bao by Kaya.

In the center of the photo, two people talk as they walk up the stairs of a two-level shopping mall. On the lower level, people move about.
The entrance to Urbanspace.
Alex Staniloff/Eater NY

Totto Ramen

This beloved 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.

A post shared by Sun Noodle (@sunnoodles) on

Hide-Chan Ramen Midtown East

The restaurateur behind Totto Ramen and Anthony Bourdain-endorsed Yakitori Totto, Bobby Munekata is behind Hide-Chan, founded in Japan by Hideto Kawahara in 1993 — with an emphasis on tonkotsu ramen, characterized by a rich, creamy pork broth. Diners can order nearly a dozen styles, from classic to spicy, with miso or extra pork. Noodles are available soft to extra firm. Prices start around $15 for a bowl of ramen. And yes, there is beer, wine, sake, and soju.

Ole & Steen

Danish import Ole & Steen occupies a fairly large outpost in Midtown East, with ample table space set up for lunch breaks and coffee stops. The baked goods run the gamut from flaky croissants and cinnamon swirls to fancy fruit tarts and cakes. For those looking for heartier fare, a robust breakfast and lunch menu includes turkey sausage breakfast rolls and a packed roast beef sandwich with mango chutney and horseradish mayo. 

Danish sweet rolls are spectacular.
Danish pastries from Ole & Steen.
Robert Sietsema/Eater NY

Ophelia Lounge NYC

Excellent views, accompanied by fancy cocktails, are the main attractions at this swishy cocktail lounge, located in a space with rich history. Perched on the 26th floor of the Beekman Tower, the rooftop bar has sweeping views of the East River, with outside space as well as an enclosed patio area. Drinks like the Ophelia’s Ascension (bourbon and Jamaican pepper-infused mezcal) are accompanied by snacks like steak tartare or hamachi crudo. The digs were once frequented by Frank Sinatra, and, before that, served as a residence for young professional women formerly in sororities circa the 1920s.

Aburiya Kinnosuke

This Japanese robata grill, set in an intimate, dark-wooded space, offers an array of proteins to choose from, including beef tongue and pork belly. There’s also a smaller range of seafood, offered raw in a sashimi assortment, or grilled, including miso black cod and mackerel. Sides to round out a carnivorous feast (or surf-and-turf, depending on the order) here include edamame, stir-fried vegetables, and tamagoyaki omelets.

Related Maps

Grand Central Oyster Bar

The iconic seafood destination, which reopened last September after a pandemic hiatus, 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 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.  

A long underground bar with backed bar stools is set up under an arching tunneled ceiling with yellow glowing lights. Grand Central Oyster Bar

Overlook

Overlook — a sports bar often populated by Chicago Bears, Cubs, or Islanders fans when a game is on — serves a particularly great burger, plus tasty wings. The pleasantly divey space is covered with a surprising treasure trove of cartoons on a huge wall, and the place was dubbed “the Sistine Chapel of cartooning” by The New York Times. Check the website for a rotating cast of food and drink specials on weeknights.  

Sakagura

Tucked in a cool subterranean space below a Midtown office building, Sakagura serves up Japanese small plates, along with over 200 sakes. It’s been around since 1996, and touts itself a pioneer of sake selection and education in NYC, with events and tastings regularly offered. Sakagura was largely prix fixe during the pandemic, but more extensive izakaya-style a la carte offerings have since returned. Among the offerings are raw fluke with ponzu, dashi egg omelets, housemade cold soba, and stone grilled A5 wagyu.  

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.  

Sarge’s Delicatessen & Diner

For over 50 years, Jewish deli and diner Sarge’s has been cranking out towering pastrami sandwiches, pints of belly-warming matzoh ball soup, and a host of classic diner plates on its 200-plus item menu. It’s a comfortable spot to slide into a faded brown booth and unwind during off hours, but be prepared to throw some elbows at the counter to get in an order during the lunch rush.

Pio Pio

The Pio Pio chain is one of the city’s most reliable spots for solid, affordable rotisserie chicken and assorted Peruvian fare. Key menu items include the spicy ceviche, empanadas de pollo, lomo saltado (filet mignon sauteed with soy sauce), arroz chaufa (Peruvian-style Chinese fried rice), and of course the succulent and tender chicken, paired with fries and a garlicky green sauce.  

Related Maps