Jetsetter and Zagat Present: NYC’s Best Sleeps and Eats
Ready to take a bite of the Big Apple? To celebrate our exclusive collaboration with Zagat, Jetsetter's Nikki Ridgway and Zagat editor Kelly Dobkin round up the top hotel restaurants for dining in and best local spots for eating out from Midtown East to Williamsburg
The Surrey / Upper East Side
Eat In: In an elegant Beaux-Arts mansion, the Surrey feels like an art lover’s Upper East Side pied-a-terre, just a short stroll from Museum Mile. Designed in a Coco Chanel–inspired monochrome palette, enormous Salons and Suites (no simple “guestrooms” here) have upscale embellishments like hand-painted wardrobes, fireplaces and private balconies. Downstairs in his namesake café, chef Daniel Boulud oversees a menu that’s governed by classic French cooking, seasonal ingredients and flavors from around the world. Linger over a long brunch with a local crowd each Sunday, or grab a night cap at Art Deco Bar Pleiades after hours.
Eat Out: Start your day with the power breakfast crowd at Sant Ambroeus at the newly renovated Loews Regency, a favorite of local politicos. Or, for a slightly more affordable option, head to the attached Sant Ambroeus Cafe for an Italian pastry and steaming hot latte. For lunch, venture east to Park Avenue and try the iconic burger at classic spot, J.G. Melon. Experience the younger, hipper UES at gastropub The Penrose for a low-key dinner or the swanky East Pole for a veggie-focused feast. Finish with a drink at the brand new The Gilroy, or back on Madison, at the iconic Cafe Carlyle.
Trump International Tower / Columbus Circle
Eat In: With a storied 1 Central Park West address, the Trump International Hotel lives up to its locale in a showy mix of marble, crystal and gold. Most of the 167 oversize rooms and suites have full kitchens, but with one of NYC’s best gourmet restaurants a few floors below, there's little reason to break out the silverware. Jean Georges restaurant, named for proprietor and chef Vongerichten, dishes up haute nouveau French fare given an Indochinese twist — think Santa Barbara sea urchins with yuzu, peekytoe crab dumplings and crispy confit of suckling pig. Understated it isn’t, but you can snag the same quality cuisine in a less formal setting at resturant-within-a-restaurant, Nougatine, or on the summer terrace. Or simply retire to bed and splurge on some Michelin-starred room service.
Eat Out: Get in a New York state of mind over a cup of joe from FIKA while you explore nearby Central Park or MoMa. Slightly east of Columbus Circle you'll find newcomer Betony, a must-visit for cocktails and modernist-inspired cuisine. There’s no discounting the array of dining experiences to be had at the nearby Time Warner Center, including the iconic Per Se, the relaxed bistro fare at Landmarc or the meat-focused Porter House NY. Next door at the Mandarin Oriental enjoy stunning park views at Asiate, or a casual meal at The Smith near Lincoln Center. For inspired Italian dining, check out Marea or Lincoln Ristorante.
The New York Palace / Midtown
Eat In: Once the gilded 19th century manse of railroad baron Henry Villard, the New York Palace lives up to its name with an Italianate courtyard filled with topiary leading to a grand marble staircase with gilded filigree. The look in the sundrenched rooms is decidedly more understated with a palette of white, cream and dusty rose and muted brocade textiles on pillowy beds. Start your day with an espresso and an éclair from the jewel-box bakery, toast a successful spot of sightseeing amid the hand-carved walls and barrel-vaulted ceiling of the Tavern on 51 bar, then settle in for an elegant eight-course tasting menu courtesy of legendary French chef Michel Richard at the new Villard restaurant.
Eat Out: Head for coffee at the Australian-inspired Little Collins, followed by a classic NY breakfast (bagel and lox) from the iconic Ess-A-Bagel. For lunch, explore the options at Plaza Food Hall, located beneath the famed Plaza Hotel, where you'll find lobster rolls, sandwiches, sushi and more. For dinner a number of classic spots are nearby including Eric Ripert's top-rated Le Bernardin and Nordic-inspired Aquavit, or try the more recent additions like Rotisserie Georgette and inventive Asian-inflected American (including killer pork buns) at David Chang's Ma Peche.
Ace Hotel NYC / Lower Midtown
Eat In: Two blocks east of Penn Station, the Ace Hotel NYC has a lower Midtown address but a vibe that’s pure Downtown. Vintage furniture and flea market finds fill the lobby, while upstairs, petite guestrooms are brightened with wall murals, tartan bedding and quirky extras like record players. Begin your hotel eat-a-thon with a morning caffeine fix and pastry at Stumptown Coffee then grab a seat at one of the communal tables for a gut-busting sandwich from No. 7 Sub. Get your name on the list early for a meal at April Bloomfield’s knockout gastropub the Breslin, or pull up a stool at the raw counter of the next-door John Dory Oyster Bar and splurge on platters of littleneck clams, oysters and more. Post-dinner, order a small batch brew in the lofty lobby bar and engage in some of the best people watching in NYC.
Eat Out: A short jaunt north and east will take you into the heart of Koreatown where you can enjoy top floor views at upscale Korean eatery, Gaonnuri. On a sunny day you'll want to head south to Madison Square Park to check out the Lebanese-inspired fare at Ilili Box (post-April) or get in line for a Shake Shack burger and a concrete. Eataly's shops and restaurants will keep you busy shopping and eating. Just south of the Ace, enjoy Southern-inspired New American at Maysville for dinner or venture over to Park Avenue to check out newcomer General Assembly or score a cocktail at the Gansevoort Park Avenue rooftop. Finish off any night with a drink at The Library Bar at the nearby NoMad Hotel.
The Mercer / SoHo
Eat In: Soho’s game changing hip hotel, The Mercer opened on its namesake street in 1998 and continues to attract a creative, downtown crowd today. The open lobby feels like a friend’s living room, with oversize leather sofas, bookshelves stacked with artsy tomes and magazines, and whitewashed brick walls. The 75 rooms echo this cozy hallmark thanks to generous square footage (rare in this downtown ‘hood), designer Christian Liaigre’s industrial but intimate all white style and huge picture windows overlooking Soho’s busy streets. Hideout in your suite and get acquainted with the 24-hour room service menu that’s supplied by the Mercer Kitchen below, but reserve at least one night for a meal at the two-floor, 200-person restaurant. Executive chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten works his Michelin-starred magic on the seasonal ingredients, serving up American Provencal fare in the open concept dining room.
Eat Out: This cobblestone 'hood is stacked with classic NYC eateries and newcomers that are quickly on their way to becoming icons themselves. Navy offers seafood and veggie-focused fare from Top Chef alum Camille Becerra, or try the innovative Thai cuisine from Per Se vets at Uncle Boons. For lunch, longtime fixture Balthazar will transport you to Paris with its bistro-inspired fare and elegant design or check out the lunch counter at Parm for updated takes on red sauce classics. Trendy West SoHo spot Charlie Bird is perpetually packed for its Italian and American fare from Jay-Z and Beyonce's personal chef, and Rubirosa is a go-to for pizza, Italian and wine in a pinch. The steak tartare and mussels escabeche at Ignacio Mattos' Estela are also not to be missed.
The Standard / East Village
Eat In: Recently revamped by hotel design supremo Andre Balazs, the Standard East Village 2.0 gave new polish to the handsome, minimalist guestrooms (the knockout city views remain unchanged) and revived the public spaces with a newly compact lobby, late-night sidewalk bistro and hyped farm-to-table restaurant, Narcissa. Bookend your day in NYC at Café Standard, first over eggs and a fresh smoothie in a corner banquette at breakfast, then with signature cocktails and hearty all American bar snacks after hours. For a more formal foodie scene, head across the open hallway to Narcissa — so named for a beloved cow from Balazs’ Rhinebeck farm — where chef John Fraser dishes up seasonal, New American fare in the Scandi-style dining room.
Eat Out: This Downtown Manhattan enclave is a destination for just about any world cuisine you might be craving. Ramen import Ippudo NY serves some of the best bowls in the city (if you're willing to wait for it). Other solid options include down-home BBQ at Mighty Quinn's, modern-inspired Mexican at Empellon Cocina, gutsy takes on bar food at Alder or Korean-inspired fare at classic Momofuku Ssam Bar. For drinks head to Pouring Ribbons or Death & Co. (you'll need a reservation for the latter) or go low-key at The Lobby Bar at Bowery Hotel. Finish off an evening of revelry with late night pierogies at Veselka.
King & Grove / Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Eat In: With a heart-of-the-action locale near McCarren Park and Bedford Avenue, party-loving King & Grove Williamsburg is all modern glass and steel from the outside, but interiors favor a textured 1970s look, with mirrored walls, a white oak and blonde palette and floor-to-ceiling windows in guestrooms. Corton alum Paul Liebrandt is the master chef behind Elm, the hotel’s fine-dining hotspot that puts the emphasis on fresh ingredients from the land and sea, prepared raw or made for sharing. Join the mix of guests and locals on the tobacco-colored leather banquettes, bar stools and seats at the chef’s counter, then round out the night with drinks at the rooftop bar or seasonal outdoor pool.
Eat Out: Begin your Williamsburg adventure with cocktails and oysters at the atmospheric Hotel Delmano (note: not an actual hotel). On Saturdays, Smorgasburg on the East River is essential for samplings of unique local fare. Stroll through McCarren Park and grab lunch at neighborhood favorite, Five Leaves. For dinner, the offerings at Reynard in the Wythe Hotel are can't-miss. Follow up with a cocktail at the hotel's rooftop bar, The Ides, or nearby St. Mazie. Venture north to Greenpoint to visit craft beer destination Torst and its attached new Nordic eatery, Luksus. Or for something more casual, newcomer El Born for tapas.
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