The restaurant scene in New York is very fluid, so I would do your research before you go, and book the top end restaurants at least a month in advance. Here are some of my favorites (they have been around for years, which is a good sign):-
Marriott Marquis Hotel in Times Square – it has a revolving Restaurant and Bar. Just go for the Bar (The View), its a great way to see New York, and yes I do believe it is the hotel where Arnie took the horse into the lift in True Lies.
Dylan Hotel – it’s a boutique Hotel in an excellent location, just next to Grand Central station so perfect for public transport, which along with walking is the only way to do Manhattan.
Roof Garden Cafe at the Metropolitan Museum – open from May through to November (weather permitting – except for Mondays), fabulous views over Central Park. The elevator to the roof is hard to find, so you may need to ask a guard.
The Gotham Bar and Grill is a class act, and one of New Yorks Michelin Star restaurants. It was recommended by a friend who has been making annual pilgrimages here from Scotland for well over 15 years now. We have not been there quite so often, but have managed to visit a few times for lunch. We found it to be a quiet refuge from the crowds, an excellent place to relax and enjoy good quality food and wine. On one visit they had a power cut, which the staff handled with ease, turning what could have been a disaster into a pleasant candle lit experience.
The following video gives a good overview of what the restaurant is all about:-
The name of course I have always found amusing especially since the chef is called “Alfred” and my Scottish friend has mentioned in the past a very helpful member of staff called “Robin”. 😉
Update : October 2009 – The Gotham Bar and Grill successfully maintained its Michelin Star in this years awards.
I enjoyed Eleven Madison Park, the place has style.
To get a feel for it, I would recommend viewing the rather fun short, speed-ed up film showing the restaurant in action over a 7 hour period.
On the food front I especially remember a sharing dessert platter.
It was way too big for us to finish, which may have been the idea, as they were only too happy to box it up for us to take back to our Hotel. It was absolutely yummy, just thinking about it gives me a sugar rush!.
UPDATE February 2010 – It seems like Eleven Madison Park is not loosing its touch, Andy Hayler gave it very high marks in his recent review.
It’s an excellent venue for Sunday brunch, with a really good buzz. You can not reserve the outside seating, that is allocated on a first come basis, but if you do book, I would recommend trying to get a table near the windows.
Tom Collichio’s Craft restaurant in New York is the epitome of style over substance. Not clever to make the menu font so small, to justify the gimmick of giving out reading glasses to the “short sighted”.
My main problem with the meal was that you are meant to mix and match the elements that you order. Excuse me but surely that is part of the art in preparing a course and one that the chef should take care of. He or she should be the expert in matching the ingredients on the plate. That’s what I’m paying you for.
This video explains why they choose this mix and match concept:-
Did not work for me, not surprised it lost its Michelin star.
Service 0 (the man at the next table was choking and was ignored! – eventually with a lot of effort his wife managed to get him a glass of water).
Ambience !! (not important if everything else is wrong).