Photo: L&W Oyster Co.
Until recently, the area north of New York City’s Madison Square Park — dubbed “NoMad” by clever developers — was a black hole for food.But with the arrival of trendy hotels like The Ace, The NoMad, and the Gansevoort Park Avenue Hotel, it’s starting to become a dinner destination in its own right.
The neighbourhood’s boundaries are flexible, but we’re defining it as the area between 25th and 30th Streets to the south and north, and Lexington and Sixth Avenues to the east and west.
Some of these spots are new and have generated tons of buzz, others are under-the-radar mainstays. But one thing is certain: they’re all delicious.
The Breslin is a modern take on the English pub: a gastropub that serves British-inspired dishes in a cool setting.
Executive chef April Bloomfield (of Spotted Pig fame) serves creative dishes like lamb scrumpets with mint vinegar and Caesar salad with anchovy croutons. But the best thing to order here is the grilled lamb burger with feta, cumin mayo, and thrice-cooked chips.
Located inside the Ace Hotel, the Breslin is a chic but relaxing room that has become one of the hottest late night spots in the city. They don't take reservations, so be prepared to wait.
The team behind Almond opened L&W Oyster Co. this fall in the former Bar Breton space on Fifth Avenue, and seafood lovers are thrilled.
The place is casual, with a quirky nautical theme and fun design components like magnet boards and lights that look like they were pilfered from a fishing boat.
But the real draw is the fresh oyster selection, with a rotating menu from both coasts and served with innovative accompaniments like a celery salt lime granita.
Follow them up with a lobster BLT or Brooklyn Clam Chowder, and you're sure to leave satiated.
This fine restaurant inside the hotel of the same name opened just last year, but it has already created a lot of buzz in the NYC restaurant world.
The restaurant was created by the same duo behind the uber-successful Eleven Madison Park, which has 3 Michelin stars.
People are raving about the food -- especially the $78 roasted chicken for two -- served in this opulent, airy space.
This Belgian restaurant serves an incredible burger that's topped with a fried egg, gruyere cheese, red onions, pickles, and mayo.
There's also delicious moules-frites, the Belgian 'hangover pasta' (pasta with ham, gruyere, a runny egg, and pepper), and a large assortment of Belgian beers.
Resto is open for lunch and dinner, but it's busiest late at night; it's open for dinner until 11:30pm.
Tucked away in a sidestreet in Curry Hill, Tiffin Wallah serves authentic vegetarian-kosher southern Indian cuisine.
Here you can order gigantic dosas (crepes) filled with spiced potatoes, paneer (cheese), and more.
The lunch buffet is a great deal at $6.95 per person -- but be prepared to fight the mobs then.
Hill Country is a little taste of Texas in New York City.
Order at the counter, and then feast on heaping portions of brisket, ribs, mac & cheese, baked beans with burnt ends, and more. The food is fantastic -- it's regularly rated as one of the best barbecue restaurants in New York City.
Downstairs, they have regular live music performances -- honky tonk, rockabilly, blues, and country music -- that will really make you feel like you're in Texas.
On the corner of 31st and Lexington, Vezzo is right on the cusp of NoMad, but its thin-crust pies are so crisp and cheesy that we're going to go ahead and include it.
The uptown sibling of Gruppo, Spunto, and Posto, Vezzo serves up uber-thin pizzas with fresh toppings at decent prices. We're addicted to the Meatball Classic and the Shroomtown, made with three types of mushrooms and truffle oil.
The wine list has a ton of reasonably priced options, making Vezzo a great location for a low-key date.
Stumptown is like a temple devoted to coffee.
The hipster coffee shop, which came from Portland, focuses on high-quality fair trade coffee beans from around the world.
Some say it's a little pretentious, but true coffee lovers will feel right at home here.
Penelope serves American comfort food in a cozy setting that feels like you could be in the dining room of a friend's country home.
Though it's open for lunch and dinner, the best time to come here is during brunch, when the restaurant offers a $15 price-fixed menu that comes with a drink. Expect hearty dishes like the farmer's market omelette, nutella french toast, and yia yia's spinach pie.
New Yorkers may call Chinese food a 'comfort food,' but the fare at Chinese Mirch is not for the faint of heart.
The Curry Hill mainstay famously puts an Indian spin on Chinese cuisine, bringing heat and spice to traditional Cantonese, Hakka and Szechuan-style cooking.
The gobi manchurian (cauliflower florets with fresh ginger, garlic, and onion) gets high marks, as does the chilli chicken.
And the restaurant, which also has locations in New Jersey, California, and Texas, just launched a food truck so hungry patrons can enjoy its food on the go.
It may be a bit of a scene, but there's no question that The Hurricane Club makes some of the finest cocktails in NoMad.
Step up the the tiki bar in the centre of the South Pacific-themed dining room and order one of the restaurant's signature rum drinks, like the #77, made with spiced rum, coconut, cardamom, and passion fruit.
We're also partial to the Waikiki margarita, made with a dash of aji panca pepper and rimmed with Hawaiian pink sea salt.
Drinking with a group? The Hurricane Club also offers fruity concoctions that are made to share, including a $59 watermelon filled with vodka, mint, rhubarb, and lime. Grab a straw and dig in!
In the mood for sharing? Then head to ilili, the upscale Lebanese/Mediterranean mezze palace on Fifth Avenue.
Start off with the labne -- a creamy yogurt served with fresh mint -- and try one of the restaurant's fresh salads.
The duck schwarma and lamb & beef meatballs also get high marks. Even the dinner items, like lamb chops with salsa verde and a whole branzino, can be easily shared.
But don't expect to leave without dropping around $60 per guest -- small plates can add up quickly.
Ravagh Persian Grill doesn't get high marks for decor, but the low-key joint on East 30th Street has some of the best Middle Eastern fare around, and is great for groups and families.
The chicken, lamb, and steak kebobs are all grilled to perfection and come with an enormous side of grilled vegetables (ask for extra veggies instead of a side of rice).
In the mood for something heartier? Try the Khoresh Fesenjan, a chicken stew made with crushed walnuts and pomegranate paste.
Famous TV personality Anthony Bourdain once reigned in the kitchen here.
Today, the brasserie continues to turn out classic French favourites like steak-frites, duck confit, and escargots in a bustling, lively brasserie setting.
Located on a quiet stretch of East 30th Street, Wine:30 is a favourite with the locals for its extensive wine list, delicious bites, and heated backyard garden.
The wine selection does not focus on a specific region; instead it rambles from Tuscany to Mendoza to Napa Valley. Ask the helpful waiters to help you choose a bottle at any price range.
Wine:30 also has a gorgeous wine cellar available for private events and tastings.
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