24 W. 56th St., Midtown
The Joe's Shanghai flagship in Chinatown is the stuff of legend, which means there's invariably a line snaking out the door. The Midtown location has the same famous soup dumplings (they're hot, round, and come in a sweet bamboo basket) without the associated wait.
72 W. 36th St., Times Square
Keen’s is awfully old-school (est. 1885), and that actually makes it a nice pick for after-work drinks, as it's blessedly absent of any sort of scene. Like any respectable steakhouse, they’ve got a miles-long Scotch menu. The enormous muttonchops are the famous, must-order menu item.
A Voce (Closed)
10 Columbus Circle, Midtown
A Voce's location on the third floor of the Time Warner Center offers sweeping views of Central Park and Columbus Circle, and its location makes it an easy spot for a working lunch or easy dinner. The cuisine is casual Italian, but the plating and the décor are both distinctly modern. There’s also a location on Madison Avenue in Flatiron.
Shun Lee Palace
155 E. 55th St., Midtown
This go-to Chinese takeout spot remains virtually unchanged since it first opened in 1971; it has a die-hard following (particularly on Christmas), as they excel at all of the classic dishes, like Peking duck, beef with broccoli, and egg rolls.
21 W. 39th St., Times Square
This classic, no-frills Szechwan spot is a great lunch option if you work in Bryant Park—just remember to make a reservation, as the wait can get a little lengthy on weekdays. Must-orders are the dan dan noodles and mapo tofu.
The 21 Club
21 W. 52nd St., Midtown
While there are several dining areas at the 21 Club, the most energetic by far is the Bar Room, where the ceiling is famously covered in toys donated by the club's famous regulars (they've hosted every president since FDR). But even in the bar, men have to comply with the dress code, which was only recently adjusted to allow men without neckties at lunch—you'll still need a jacket any time of day. The menu is classically American (the burger is actually really good), but it's much more about the atmosphere than the food.
The Regency Bar & Grill
540 Park Ave., Midtown
The Regency's Bar was traditionally known as a breakfast option, but after an extensive remodel and re-staffing of the kitchen last year, it's become a solid option for lunch and dinner as well. The menu is pretty all-American so you can't go wrong with anything, but the grilled squid is gorgeously presented (on a bed of quinoa—a surprisingly good combination) and the dry-aged rib-eye, which is meant for two people, is perfectly cooked.
630 9th Ave., Midtown
Though not particularly splashy or trendy, Marseille has been a Hell's Kitchen linchpin for years—in fact, it's probably the best post-show dinner spot in the district. The menu is traditional Mediterranean—a nice mix of proteins, veggies, and grains—and as is customary to eateries around these parts, there's an excellent prix fixe option, which can be ordered pre- or post-show. Get the hummus and the octopus.
The Shop at the Andaz
485 5th Ave., Midtown
The Shop on the first floor of the Andaz in Midtown is actually divided into two spaces—a tiny shop in the front, and a cozy 38-seat, sit-down restaurant in the back, where you'll find a great lunch and dinner, with a seasonal menu that leans heavily on produce sourced in New York State. The adorable spot up front serves Blue Bottle coffee and Dough Doughnuts (which are otherwise only available at Dough's outpost in Brooklyn).
Chambers Hotel, 15 W. 56th St., Midtown
Situated inside the Chambers Hotel, Chef David Chang's Má Pêche, which stands for "mother peach" was a very welcome addition to Midtown's largely old-school culinary landscape when it opened almost six years ago. Served in a very Chang-like communal style, the breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus all have that same Asian-inflected American classic vibe. As to be expected from the Momofuku family, a seat can be pretty hard to come by at peak hours, but unlike some of the other Momofukus downtown, they do take reservations.
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