The Chelsea & Flatiron Guide
There’s a reason that everyone wants to have their office in Flatiron—in addition to being easily accessible from basically any part of the city, its streets are chock-full of great restaurants, bars, and shops. We’re regulars in these neighborhoods on the weekends, too, as the combination of Union Square Farmers Market, Chelsea Market, and Eataly makes it a great place to get errands done. Chelsea’s also a major destination for aesthetes, with amenities like the High Line, plus many of the city’s best private art galleries.
15 East15 E. 15th St., Union Sqaure | 212.647.0015
They use incredibly fresh fish in particularly inventive ways here, which has earned them a well-deserved Michelin star. We like to dine at the bar and give in to affable chef Masato Shimizu's omakase, which is full of some pretty unusual and surprising flavor combinations—not always the easiest thing to achieve when it comes to sushi.
ABC Kitchen35 E. 18th St., Union Square | 212.475.5829
Helmed by chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, this airy, all-white space—attached to ABC Home—is a temple to inventive, seasonal, and local cooking sourced from nearby farms and cooperatives. It doesn't come as much of a shock that the fare is GMO-free and also grown and made without pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, insecticides, antibiotics, or hormones. It's not surprising because you can taste the well-sourced provenance on the plate, whether in the form of house-made ricotta ravioli or fried organic chicken in a hot butter sauce. (We never said the offers were ascetic.)
All’onda22 E. 13th St., Greenwich Village | 212.231.2236
Chef Chris Jaeckle teamed up with restaurateur Chris Cannon (Michael White’s former business partner) to open this well-dressed restaurant in the village. The first floor—occupied solely by the bar—is generally packed, thanks in no small part to the fact they are currently not taking reservations for two. The menu is Venetian with touches of Japan—evidenced by the crudos (a la Marea). Everyone these days has their version of the uni bucatini, but Jaeckle has one of the best we’ve tried.
Bar Jamón125 E. 17th St., Gramercy | 212.253.2773
This is a Batali-Bastianich collaboration, so expect nothing less than delicious tapas—excellent meats, manchego cheese, boquerones—all served up as authentically as if you were in Madrid. If you come just for drinks, you won't be disappointed by the list, and you can pretty much make a meal out of a few of their authentic offerings. (If you're still hungry, head next door to Casa Mono.)
Beechers900 Broadway, Flatiron | 212.466.3340
While it’s pretty hard to screw up a grilled cheese sandwich, the oversized, overstuffed versions here are made using Beecher’s own cheese, a lot of which is made right on site (watching the cheese makers do their thing through the massive windows is nothing short of mesmerizing). The main café is ideal for weekday lunches and the Cellar downstairs is a more dressed-up small-plates-and-wine restaurant. And if you need a hostess gift but are short on time, the nuts, jams, small but mighty selection of wine, and of course, cheeses, pack up nicely.
Casa Mono125 E. 17th St., Gramercy | 212.253.2773
Mario Batali and Andy Nusser's tiny tapas spot opened over a decade ago, but the vibe and food is still just as great—particularly on those days when you're really missing Spain. The menu leans pretty heavily on proteins, but the more veggie-driven dishes (asparagus with octopus, spring leeks vinaigrette) hold their own, too. Meanwhile, Mono's sister property next door, Bar Jamón, is great for a post-dinner nightcap. Both spaces can accommodate full buyouts for private parties.
Cosme35 E. 21st St., Flatiron | 212.913.9659
So NYC has never really gotten snaps for its Mexican food, but Cosme is said to break the trend. It's probably because it's from chef Enrique Olvera, of Mexico City Pujol fame—trust us when we say he’s legit. The PDR is just as sleek and modern as the rest of the restaurant, and while it'll cost you, a prix-fixe private meal here is an incredibly special experience.
Eleven Madison Park11 Madison Ave., Flatiron | 212.889.0905
A meal here is a total treat. This Michelin-starred, Art Deco-esque restaurant is also an investment, both in time and money. But it’s absolutely worth it, as the kitchen, which is now under the direction of chef Daniel Humm, sends forth molecular gastronomy-inflected dishes that are pristine and precise. On the tasting menu, you’ll choose the main ingredient—the rest is up to the kitchen, meaning that each dish is a wonderful surprise.
Gallow Green542 W. 27th St., Chelsea | 212.564.1662
Gallow Green is actually the rooftop of the McKittrick Hotel. When you first walk in, you might expect a woodland nymph to pop out from behind one of the lush arches. The cozy garden vibe here is neither pretentious nor touristy, and the views of the city are some of the best. Their unusual cocktails are keeping with the theme, with names like the Green Grass (a mezcal drink with pineapple syrup and thai spices) and the Dahlia (vodka steeped with roses, orange, and cranberry).
Gramercy Tavern42 E. 20th St., Gramercy Park | 212.477.0777
For over 20 years, this venerable Danny Meyer restaurant has been continually packed, thanks to the delicious, seasonal, and local American cuisine, a movement that’s currently stewarded by chef Michael Anthony, of Blue Hill fame. The woodsy dining room, complete with Robert Kushner’s vegetable mural, is so comforting. Their private room is a great classic spot for a private event.
Javelina119 E. 18th St., Gramercy Park | 212.539.0202
Tex-Mex isn’t a type of cuisine you’d normally associate with New York City, but after a meal at this cheerful spot in Gramercy (a few blocks north of Union Square), you might rethink that idea. Grab some friends and order the traditional queso (yellow cheese tomatillos, serrano peppers, pico de gallo) and a round of prickly pear margaritas before diving into your entree. The chile relleno is reliably tasty, as are the grilled shrimp tacos, topped with salsa cruda, pico de gallo, cotija cheese, and cilantro. The central location makes it a great group dinner spot, but there’s also a second location on the Upper East Side.
The John Dory1196 Broadway, Nomad | 212.792.9000
This is another great April Bloomfield accomplishment. Her inventive, incredibly flavorful fish dishes—they're not afraid to use a little salt or a few anchovies—are complimented by a colorful, kitschy space. Besides lunch or dinner, this is also a great spot for an impromptu afternoon drink along with a couple of fresh oysters.
Le Coq Rico30 E. 20th St., Flatiron | 212.267.7426
The name—try saying it three times fast—translates to “The Bistro of Beautiful Birds,” and is an offshoot of three-star Michelin chef Antoine Westermann’s original poultry-focussed restaurant on Rue Lepic in Paris. Before opening, Chef Westermann spent more than a year traveling through Hudson Valley and Pennsylvania, meeting with local farmers to learn their farming practices and philosophies. (As a result, all the birds come from small family farms.) Come for the slow-cooked egg and Plymouth barred rock chicken, and don’t hesitate to order the quarter rotisserie chicken or the macaroni au gratin. There’s an entire section devoted to dishes featuring pasture-raised eggs, too. Photos: Asia Coladner
Maialino2 Lexington Ave., Gramercy | 212.777.2410
Maialino is NYC restauranteur Danny Meyer's trattoria outpost at Gramercy Park Hotel. The kitchen is helmed by Nick Anderer, who previously had stints at kitchens in Rome and Milan and Italian ones Stateside, like Mario Batali's Babbo. (Anderer is also still a big part of the pizza joint, Marta, too.) The dinner menu is very well done, and they have a nice, separate space for private parties. But less expected is that this is also an ideal spot to grab a cup of coffee or stay and sit for a bit if you find yourself in Gramercy during the afternoon.
Maman Nomad22 W. 25th St., Nomad | 646.838.0700
If you've visited Marché Maman, or one of the other Maman cafés, you're familiar with founders Benjamin Sormonte and Elisa Marshall's talent for creating utterly chic, French-inspired spaces you want to live in. Their latest outpost, Maman Nomad, checks all these boxes. The first uptown presence for the duo, the gorgeous café and restaurant serve up decadent lunch and brunch options, including healthy homemade soups and quiches, plus their famous nutty chocolate chip cookies. Go for a relaxed brunch or afternoon coffee–or, in a pinch, grab something to go.
Marta29 E. 29th St., Nomad | 212.651.3800
After Shake Shack's IPO, Danny Meyer has moved on to a comfort food that's actually even more precious to New Yorkers than a burger and fries: pizza. Marta, his pizza venture with Chef Nick Anderer, is situated on the first floor of the Redbury Hotel, in a high-ceilinged space with a mezzanine and a generous bar. They're open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and yeah, the pizza is insanely good.
Miznon435 W 15th St., Chelsea | 646.490.5871
In a city full of Middle Eastern food carts, Israeli celebrity chef Eyal Shani’s Chelsea Market restaurant goes beyond serving just the regional classics. Shani’s known for pillowy pita bread, but instead of the usual suspects (shawarma, falafel), Miznon fills it with ratatouille, hake, and even a cheeseburger. The whole roasted cauliflower, which is first pressure-cooked in salt water, then roasted whole with just olive oil, is served with Israeli-imported tahini and is absolutely delicious.
The Nomad1170 Broadway, Nomad | 212.796.1500
Daniel Humm of the Michelin starred Eleven Madison Park runs a food program here that is as delicious as it is elegant, all appropriate to the Jacques Garcia-designed surroundings. Choose between the clubby Parlour with velvet seats and Persian rugs or the shimmering Atrium under a massive skylight for your meal's venue—both are a treat. There are several private rooms available here, but opt for the rooftop if possible—you can actually stage a small table in the hotel's iconic cupola.
Ruby’s442 3rd Ave., Gramercy | 212.300.4245
This hangout for Australians (for real) offers an insanely delicious burger, along with meal-worthy salads, making it a great pit-stop for a quick bite. Due to its popularity, the original location in Nolita has doubled in size (expanding into next door’s space) since opening in 2003. This is actually their second location.
Sarabeth’s381 Park Ave. S., Gramercy | 212.335.0093
Sarabeth’s started out as a bakery in Chelsea Market in the 80s, where owner Sarabeth Levine perfected cookies, scones, and cakes (with unabashed amounts of sugar, flour, and butter). After she became legendary, she opened Sarabeth’s and basically launched the craze that is weekend Brunch. Years later, it’s still hard to get a breakfast reservation at any of her roomy, all-American, restaurants, but it’s so worth it for luscious pancakes and french toast, not to mention ideal omelettes. There are additional locations in the Upper East Side, Midtown, Upper West Side, and Tribeca.
Studio at The Freehand23 Lexington Ave, Flatiron | 212.475.1924
Although restaurateur Gabe Stulman has five restaurants under his belt in the West Village (including Joseph Leonard and Jeffrey’s Grocery), this is his first venture into hotel dining. Studio is located on the second floor of the cool-kid hangout of the moment, the Freehand (which also has outposts in Miami, Chicago, and L.A.), in the Flatiron district. The theme is an homage to Stulman’s Jewish-Moroccan background, with influences drawn from North Africa and the Middle East. You could make a meal out of the small plates here, and we’d go for the spring pea hummus, served with a side of lamb merguez and pita; the berbere shrimp with fennel and blood orange; and the eggplant mirza with roasted tomato. The space itself resembles a private club more than a traditional restaurant, full of low-slung, sheepskin-covered leather chairs, cozy banquettes, and a soothing palette of warm browns and dark blues.
Upland345 Park Ave. S., Flatiron | 212.686.1006
Come to Chef Justin Smillie's (formerly of Il Buco Alimentari) Upland (named for the chef's hometown) for a taste of California in the heart of NYC. Designed by Roman & Williams, the space is understandably warm and inviting—the light-filled dining room’s checkered tablecloths and wooden accents compliment the menu’s rustic, ingredient-driven offerings: sausage-and-kale pizza, salt-cured torchon of foie gras, cioppino, and a bourbon-spiked pecan pie.