Explore New York City

If You're Visiting These NYC Attractions, Here Are the Restaurants Not to Miss

You’re in the Big Apple, so naturally your agenda is packed with world-class attractions and museums. But once you‘re finished, where to go when hunger strikes?

Trying to pack in all the great sights this city has to offer is an exhausting and exhilarating task that will most likely also leave you hungry. So the big question is: once you have seen something on your Top 10 list (or Top 11), where do you go to eat? We know you don’t want to have to walk far (those feet must be aching by now!), but you want something special, something, well, New York City-ish.

The following is a list compiled with just that in mind. Each of these restaurants offer something special, are open for lunch and dinner, and, best of all, are within 5-15 minutes walking distance from the attractions: in other words, no Uber required.

Statue of Liberty

One of the most enduring icons of freedom and opportunity, the 151-foot Statue of Liberty, created by Frederic Auguste Bartholdi and standing in New York Harbor, is steeped in symbolism. Broken shackles around her feet signify independence and unrestrained forward movement, while her torch represents enlightenment: The seven rays of her crown stand for the seven seas and seven continents.

Restaurants Nearby:

Pier A Harbor House, a cavernous, bi-level restaurant, offers yummy, seafood-centric offerings such as blackened swordfish tacos, classic fish and chips and Maine lobster rolls. Insider tip: Expansive views of Lady Liberty and New York Harbor.  Distance from Castle Clinton National Monument (where you pick up ferry to Statue of Liberty): 6 minutes

Merchants River House is a family-friendly American bistro with a copper-topped bar and blue-checkered tablecloths that gets high marks for its simple, hearty fare (chicken and bacon mac ‘n’ cheese, burgers as well as chicken scaloppine with mashed potatoes). Insider tip: Equally great views of the Harbor. Distance from Castle Clinton: 12 minutes

The Harrison Room at Pier A Harbor House
The Harrison Room at Pier A Harbor House (Courtesy Pier A Harbor House)

Empire State Building

The towering skyscraper known as the Empire State Building was listed as one of the Seven Wonders of the World upon its completion in 1931. Today, visitors still have it on their must-see list, a sleek Art Deco icon whose upper floors change colors for holidays and other events.

Restaurants Nearby:

State Grill and Bar is a handsome bar/restaurant favored by Midtown professionals.  Wide-ranging choices include everything from steak frites to branzino to pastrami Reubens, plus inventive cocktails like the “Georgia Caliente” with whiskey, agave nectar, triple sec and peach-jalapeño purée. Distance from Empire State Building: less than a minute

Keens Steakhouse is a legendary NYC steak palace keeps it simple, with a cozy bar and top-of-line steaks and chops, known fo its legendary mutton chop. Don’t forget to check out the ceilings, filled with one of the largest collections of churchwarden pipes in the world. The collection goes back to a 17th-century British tradition, where gentlemen left their pipes at the door before entering an inn or tavern. Distance from ESB: 6 minutes

Dining room at Keens Steakhouse
Dining room at Keens Steakhouse (Courtesy Keens Steakhouse)

Rockefeller Center

Vowing to create an enormous complex of Art Deco-style buildings in Midtown, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. persevered as the sole financier of the project for nine years starting in 1930, despite the havoc wrought by the stock market crash in 1929 and subsequent Great Depression. Today, just as it did in the 1930’s, the bronze statue of Prometheus shimmers overlooking the sunken plaza at 30 Rock. At the Top of the Rock, on a clear day, you can see for 80 miles.

Restaurants Nearby

Rock Center Café is one of those NYC restaurants that is well-known by tourists, yet also favored by locals (especially Rock Center businesspeople during lunch) for its sleek ambience and quality meat, chicken, fish and pasta dishes. Insider tip: With a table close to the windows, you can watch the ice-skaters in the winter. In the summer, you can dine alfresco.

Morrell Wine Bar & Cafe is a small, stylish resto with, predictably, flights of wine and dozens of wines by the glass, as well as an impressive international wine bottle list. Eats range from charcuterie, cheeses and an Italian-centric menu that includes superb pasta plates. Insider tip: Keep your eyes peeled for your favorite celebrities from NBC television shows: The NBC studios are located in Rock Center. Distance from Rock Center: 1 minute

Interior of Rock Center Cafe
Interior of Rock Center Café (Courtesy Rock Center Café)

National September 11 Memorial & Museum

The memorial, built in the footprints of the World Trade Center Towers, opened in 2011, with the museum opening three years later. Both structures are a heart-wrenching reminder of the most vicious attack on America in the history of the nation.

Restaurants Nearby

For the biggest bang for your traveler buck, check out either Brookfield Place or Westfield World Trade Center, two of the city’s newest (and vast!) transportation, shopping and dining hubs. At Westfield World Trade Center, Eataly’s Osteria Della Pace delivers on its promise of authentic Italian, with crispy octopus and buffalo mozzarella, as tender as it comes. At Brookfield, the famed steakhouse outpost, Del Frisco’s Grille and the French fare at Le District are both worth a visit. Insider tip: if you have it in you, check out the vast upscale shopping options in both these centers. Distance from museum: Brookfield Place, 6 minutes; Westfield World Trade Center, 5 minutes

Brookfield Place
Brookfield Place (Courtesy Brookfield Place)

One World Observatory

Located at the top of the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, the three-level observatory is a heady experience. Visitors enter through the Global Welcome Center and ascend in sky pod elevators to the 102nd floor in less than 60 seconds, while watching a time-lapse video of the building of Manhattan from the 1500’s to the present day. Once on top, floor-to-ceilng windows afford uninterrupted views in every direction.

Restaurants Nearby

The Wooly Public, on the main floor of the Woolworth Building, has become a popular, mural-filled atmospheric pub with an all-day menu filled with cleverly-named offerings such as Holy Shishitos! (shishitos with lime and sea salt) and a choice of a public, private or beet burger, all served with terrific, house-cut fries. Insider tip: If you have the time, it’s worth taking the Woolworth Building lobby tour. Distance from Observatory: 6 minutes

Nobu Downtown, which moved from its TriBeCa location in 2017, is part of the famed Japanese/sushi empire from chef Nobu Matsuhisa. Insider tip: Check out some of the signature dishes like yellowtail sashimi with jalapeño or black cod with miso. Distance from Observatory: 7 minutes

Nobu Downtown
Nobu Downton (Eric Laignel)

Guggenheim Museum

One of the most significant architectural icons of the 20th century, Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous spiraling landmark was initially received with mixed reviews. After it opened, in 1959,  NYC Parks Commissioner Robert Moses said it looked like "an inverted oatmeal dish." Yet architect Frank Lloyd Wright had a method behind the madness: The shape of the building is a play on a ziggurat, a type of ancient Mesopotamian temple that narrowed as it rose. In Wright's design, the building widens as it rises. He also wanted the building to have curved surfaces to convey "an atmosphere on the unbroken wave." 

Restaurants Nearby:

From Lois Levine, Where In New York editor in chief: I was fortunate enough to visit Parlor Steak & Fish when I first arrived at Where, and the first impression that I got is that the place was a rarity—a truly local,  upscale steak restaurant. Small and elegant, the wait staff is courteous and knowledgeable and the steaks, fish dishes and sides are generous and top notch. Here you can get the classic NYC steakhouse experience in a more intimate setting. Distance from Guggenheim: 10 minutes

Sarabeth’s on the Upper East Side is one of several NYC locations. The restaurant earned has maintained its reputation for fresh, sumptuous American food since it opened in 1983. Leave room for desserts like s’mores in a jar or berry bread pudding. Distance from Guggenheim: 6 minutes

A steak topped with garlic at Parlor Steak & Fish
A steak topped with garlic at Parlor Steak & Fish (Courtesy Parlor Steak & Fish)

Central Park and the American Museum of Natural History

In laying out the 843 acres of the country’s first landscaped park, architects Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux employed a staggering 20,000 laborers to sculpt terrain, dig bonds and blow up rocks. Today, some 25 million people visit the park to commune with nature, enjoying its seemingly endless paths and over 150 varieties of trees. Right outside the park, at Central Park West and W. 79th Street, you will find the American Museum of Natural History, one of the world’s preeminent scientific and cultural institutions.

Restaurants Nearby: 

Loeb Boathouse, located in the park, is a pretty restaurant and lounge whose food offerings include creamy burrata, cedar plank salmon and other fine brunch, dinner and lunch dishes. Insider tip: Try to get a seat by the windows, overlooking drifting boats on the adjacent lake. Distance from museum: 15 minutes

Storico is on the main floor of the New-York Historical Society and offers delicate, elegant Italian-influenced dishes in a cheery, yellow-and-white setting. Insider tip: The NYHS is one of this editor’s favorite NYC museums. It’s worth the price of admission to see the short film “New York Story,” in the auditorium on the first floor. Narrated by Liev Schreiber, it is a love story to New York like no other. Distance from museum: 2 minutes

Storico (Courtesy Storico)

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The largest art museum in the United States, the “Met” has a permanent collection of over two million works and is the second-most visited art museum in the world. Some of its world-famous pieces include John Singer Sargent’s “Portrait of Madame X,” the “Death of Socrates” by Jean Louis David and the Temple of Dendur, an actual Egyptian temple, ca. 10 B.C., that was given to the United States by Egypt in 1965.

Restaurants Nearby:

Sistina is a sophisticated Italian bistro with Old World decor and marvelous pastas including ravioli goat cheese with artichokes and spaghetti primavera. Insider tip: Try to get a table in the Winter Garden, where you can get a glimpse of neighboring gardens and NYC’s sky. Distance from the Met: 6 minutes

E.A.T. Café is a part of the Eli Zabar empire, the man behind one of the city’s most authentic Jewish delis. Everything here is spectacular, from the pot roast sandwiches to the smoked fish plates. Insider tip: You can go home, assured you had the authentic New York Jewish Deli experience while visiting! Distance from the Met: 7 minutes

Smoked fish and capers platter at E.A.T. Cafe
Smoked fish and capers platter at E.A.T. (Margarita Ma Garcia Acevedo)

Museum of Modern Art

The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) offers an overview of modern and contemporary art that includes architecture and design, drawing, painting and sculpture and names such as Andy Warhol, Vincent van Gogh, Henri Matisse and Roy Lichtenstein.

Restaurants Nearby:

Fig & Olive offers a Mediterranean-inspired menu and an elegant, upscale atmosphere with apricot-colored banquettes and gleaming wood floors. Insider tip: This restaurant is a celebrity magnet, so keep alert. Distance from MoMA: 5 minutes

P.J. Clarke’s gives its own best definition, from its website: “Since 1884, we’ve been serving up the same thing: fresh food, frosty drinks and good, old-fashioned conversation. We could talk for hours about our history, our star-studded cast of diners, blah, blah, blah. But for now, that’s besides the point. Grab yourself a stool at the bar and order a cold one.” Insider tip: You must experience one of P.J.’s amazing, juicy burgers, end of story. A fine grilled portabello burger is on hand for vegetarians. Distance from MoMA: 12 minutes

Bar at P.J. Clarke’s
Bar at P.J. Clarke‘s (Courtesy P.J. Clarke’s)

Whitney Museum of American Art

Devoted purely to the art of the United States, the Whitney presents the full range of 20th-century and contemporary American art, with a special focus on works of living artists. In 2015, the Whitney moved from its Uptown location on Fifth Avenue to a Renzo Piano-designed building in the Meatpacking District that has wowed visitors almost as much as the exhibits (the elevators themselves hold works of art).

Restaurants Nearby:

Untitled, the upscale restaurant in the museum by famed restaurateur Danny Meyer, offers beautifully presented, seasonal American fare. Insider tip: In case you are unfamiliar with Danny Meyer’s destination restaurants Gramercy Tavern and Union Square Cafe, you might be familiar with his hamburger chain, Shake Shack.

Bubby’s is the alternative to Untitled if you are seeking something more casual. Hearty American breakfast, lunch and dinner choices are offered here, along with a hipster crowd. Insider tip: The pies here are THE thing, everything from a mouthwatering Michigan sour cherry to local apple. A mere $7 a slice, $2 extra for à la mode. Distance from Whitney: 1 minute

Shaved asparagus and turnips from Untitled restaurant
Shaved asparagus and turnips from Untitled (©Alice Gao)