Scores of great Midtown West restaurants are ready to accommodate bustling pre- and post-theater crowds. There is no shortage of disappointing tourist trap establishments in this part of town, but consulting this list will ensure that you eat and drink well across the culinary spectrum. Remember: It’s okay to let servers know if you have a musical or play to catch when first sitting down, but consider arriving earlier than usual as many restaurants remain short-staffed.Read More
The Definitive Guide to Theater District Dining
From a quick bite to a leisurely meal and everything in between
Ardesia Wine Bar
Mandy Oser’s Hell’s Kitchen hangout remains a fine spot for a pre-theater glass of Spanish orange wine, French sparkling wine, and scores of other selections across the list. Also stick around for chorizo croquettes, smoked bluefish dip, shishito peppers, or spiced lamb skewers. Accepts reservations.
Find some of the city's best Cuban sandwiches, vaca frita (skirt steak fried to the texture of soft jerky), and mojitos. Warning: The mojitos are strong, which is especially dangerous on Tuesdays when they're just $6 apiece. Swing by after a show for live Cuban music every night. Reservations are available.
This is the go-to affordable Japanese late-night dining spot of choice in the Theater District. The menu is long, like at any izakaya, but highlights include the namesake rice bowls — try the one with soft eel — chicken katsu curry with a rich, beefy sauce, and sizzling crab omelets drenched in heady seafood jus. Note that tipping is included in menu prices. Reservations available.
This is where you go for very good skewers of charcoal-grilled chicken for a set price of $100. Eater NY awarded three stars in a review, praising the foot-to-beak approach to poultry cooking. Expect nuggets of crunchy knee bone (yes, eat it), medium-rare breast meat (it's totally safe, probably), and “main arteries” (edible rubber bands). If none of this sounds appealing, let the chef know and the chicken experience will be more mainstream. Reservations available. There’s also a $180 option at the select counter.
Southern Thai restaurant that serves dishes including a spicy lumpu salad; jor pu, fried tofu skin, stuffed with crabmeat, shrimp, and pork; and khao yum, a fish dish with jasmine rice and crab roe. Chef Nate Limwong grew up in Surat Thani, on the coast of southern Thailand, runs the kitchen.
Hell’s Kitchen has long been a hotbed of Thai cooking; one of the top new additions to that community is LumLum, courtesy of sisters and owners Sommy and Mo Hensawang. Drop by for the squid ink soup, the branzino with bird’s eye chiles, and the regal Thai river prawns with chile lime dressing. Accepts reservations.
The Prohibition-era bar and steakhouse continues to serve some serious cuts of meat and solid classic cocktails. Be sure to start off with the bacon-studded clams casino, then pair a funky dry-aged rib-eye with fries and a blue cheese-drenched wedge salad. The Prime rib roast is first come, first served and often sells out, so go early if that’s the craving. Accepts reservations.
Meske offers breathtakingly flavorful and affordable Ethiopian fare and just a short walk from the Richard Rogers theater, home to the not-quite-affordable “Hamilton.” Keep it simple: Order an Ethiopian lager and the combination platter, a heady pile of berbere spiced lentils, collards, and meats on injera, the traditionally sour and spongy bread. No reservations.
Aldo Sohm Wine Bar
This isn't one of those hip natural wine bars found in Paris or downtown Manhattan; this is a classic place to enjoy classic wines in expensive Zalto stems, a place where the entry-level Champagne runs $32. Also go for the charcuterie, the crispy duck leg, or the heady merguez sausage in pita. Reservations available.
Jasmine's Caribbean Cuisine
Restaurant Row in the Theater District is where first-time restaurateur Jasmine Gerald and famed chef Basil Jones show off the multitudinous flavors of Jamaica and the larger Caribbean. Smoked jerk wings, spicy and pungent, are a good place to start. Then try out some tender brown stew chicken dripping in rich sauce. Also don’t miss the jazzy pasta, a creamy rasta pasta-style classic laced with peppers, jerk-style seasonings, and parmesan. Accepts reservations.
It would be hard to envision a Theater District guide without this mainstay that’s been feeding both Broadway-goers, stars, and stagehands for decades. Grab a seat at the bar, order a strong Manhattan or martini, get a solid burger, and toast to the end of the night at in one of the greatest cities in the world — you may even see some Broadway stars. Don’t miss the homemade banana cream pie. Reservations available.
The Rum House
This is the definitive answer to “Where can I listen to live old time-y music in Times Square without a cover charge?” The dimly lit space in the Hotel Edison is an oasis of (crowded) civility on 47th Street, and while the kitchen offers a few small bites — popcorn and warm pretzels — the drinks are the draw, from a solid classic daiquiri, to a rum old-fashioned, to a non-frozen riff on the piña colada. No reservations.
This longtime Kosher spot remains a gem of a French steakhouse in the Theater District. Swing by for some of the city’s most tender beef jerky, buttery roast chicken, and a variety of steaks, the best of which is the exceedingly marbled butcher’s cut, a wonderfully fatty rib cap for $59. Accepts reservations.
Los Tacos No. 1
This fast-casual taqueria is ideal for when the curtain call is in 20 minutes or less. If that sounds like too much of a concessionary recommendation, consider that Los Tacos is one of the city's most heralded taco stands. The right move is the al pastor, pork spinning on a spit, crisped on the griddle, stuffed into a corn tortilla, and garnished with pineapple. No beer or booze here: instead, there’s horchata, grape soda, and Fanta. No reservations.
The Lambs Club
Swanky old-school restaurant in the Chatwal Hotel serves continental cuisine a la carte or a tasting menu in the stately black and red dining room aligned with photos of actors who had been members of what was once a members-only club. Upstairs, there’s a lighter menu at the bar and a fabulous Art-Deco vibe. Don’t miss it.
This Central Asian spot might just be one of the best places to eat grilled meat in all of Midtown West. Owner Farida Gabbassova-Ricciardelli and chef Umitjon Kamolov serve serious charcoal-grilled shashlik; the chicken thigh skewers balance crisp skin with fatty juiciness and tender flesh. Be sure to try the Uzbek national dish that is plov, rice pilaf made sweet from aromatic carrots and funky with tender chunks of heady lamb. As of 2022, there’s also, a Fidi location, too. (For kosher Uzbek fare, check out the excellent Taam Tov in the Diamond District.) Accepts reservations.
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