There’s more to Times Square dining than Red Lobster’s Cheddar Bay Biscuits! Like the Ultimate Feast and signature salad combos. Oh, and the food at these other 10 options. Check 'em out:
Best grasshopper tacos: Toloache
251 W 50th St
The menu is highlighted by the smoky, earthy Oaxacan-style dried grasshopper taco, but nine notably insect-less versions are also offered. But remember: the whole point is telling your friends you ate a grasshopper taco.
Best sushi: Sushi of Gari 46
347 W 46th St
Omakase or a la carte, Gari 46 keeps it simple, fresh, and reasonably priced, at least for Times Square. And, if you can believe it, after 8 years we still don't know who the hell Gary is.
Best singing waitstaff if you’re into that kind of thing: Ellen's Stardust Diner
The 1950s-themed singing waitstaff variety show is something like Jack Rabbit Slims from Pulp Fiction, but your trip to this super tourist destination won't end in an adrenaline shot to the chest. Probably.
Best for $25 bottles of wine: Becco
355 W 46th St
Come for the impressive $25 bottle list (seriously, there're at least 80 varieties), but stay for the daily table-side pasta because it's unlimited, and you could theoretically stay and continue to eat until the place closes/you hurt.
Best wings: BonChon
207 W 38th St
"Bonchon" is Korean for "my hometown", so head there for secret sauce-covered fried chicken wings, drumsticks, and strips that taste just like they're made at mom-and-pop places in Korea. But also like they're made at the 100 other global BonChon locations.
Olive Garden with the best view ever at an Olive Garden: Olive Garden
2 Times Square
Thrillist Editorial Director Ben Robinson has tried to come here on five separate occasions, but he never got a table once, presumably because it was crowded with view-seeking tourists and not because Olive Garden just doesn't like Ben. He's really not a bad guy. Anyway, he did manage to sneak a peek out of the huge dining room windows while staffers weren’t looking, and that Times Square view was really terrific.
Best interior design: Lamb's Club
132 West 44th St
From the red leather banquettes to the functional 1920s limestone fireplace, everything at Iron Chef Geoffrey Zakarian's restaurant is Art Deco, old-school, and glamorous.
Best absolutely delicious Japanese bar food: Sake Bar Hagi
152 West 49th St
Tucked away down some windy stairs is a tiny, semi-secret sake den with tons of fried- and skewered-meat small plates that you won't be able to stop ordering and ordering.
Best sandwiches: Num Pang
148 W 48th St
The elevated bánh mì here is simply the best. It might not be traditional, but with perfect fillings like peppercorn catfish, hoisin meatballs, or coconut shrimp on a perfect roll, with a perfect amount of too much mayo, it's truly better than all the rest.
Best dinner and a show: Queen of the Night
235 W 46th St
Every aspect of this decadent, immersive theater experience is part of the show, including the effing delicious food. Lobster-filled bird cages, whole suckling pigs, and mammoth rib racks are brought out to each table by server-performers, and if you want to try it all you better barter. One of our writers, who is definitely not this writer, was prompted by the actors to make out with a stranger in a dark closet, and then was later given a blue Fla-Vor-Ice, which was definitely not part of the menu.
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Carrie Dennis is an Associate Editor for Thrillist. She still doesn't know who she made out with. Follow her on Twitter @CarrrieDennnis.
1. Toloache251 W 50th St, New York
2. Ellen's Stardust Diner1650 Broadway, New York
3. Becco355 W 46th St, New York
4. BonChon Sports Bar207 W 38th St, New York
5. Olive Garden2 Times Sq, New York
6. The Lambs Club132 W 44th St, New York
7. Sake Bar Hagi152 West 49th Street , New York
8. Num Pang Sandwich Shop148 W 48 St, New York
9. Sushi of Gari402 E 78th St, New York
Helmed by Julian Medina (former exec chef at SushiSamba and 2-starred fish taco mecca Pampano), Toloache is an upscale-festive, two-story Mexican spot that incorporates South American, European and Asian influences -- a rare combo yielding sexually-liberated, socialist tostadas that are also good at math.
The 1950s-themed singing-waitstaff variety show here is something like Jack Rabbit Slim's from Pulp Fiction, but your trip to this super tourist destination won't end in an adrenaline shot to the chest. Hopefully. What you will end up with, fortunately, is a menu full of classic New York grub -- think stacked corned beef and pastrami sandwiches -- and a public serenading.
The more-affordable sibling of Lidia Bastianich's Felidia, this Italian eatery on Restaurant Row in the Theater District has become known for its impressive (and cheap) wine bottle offerings. Becco -- derived from the Italian verb beccare, meaning to peck, nibble, or savor -- lives up to its name through its authentic menu and, more important than the wine, its unlimited tableside pasta, which is available at both dinner and lunch and features three daily preperations.
"Bonchon" is Korean for "my hometown," so head there for secret sauce-covered fried chicken wings, drumsticks, and strips that taste just like they're made at a mom-and-pop place in Korea. Split the medium combo half-and-half to try the soy garlic (perfectly sweet), and then the spicy wings (soy first, or else you won’t be able to really appreciate the taste). The restaurant has modern decor and friendly, attentive service, and is great for on-the-go or sit-down meals.
One should typically always know what to expect from this chain restaurant: Tuscan farmhouse-style decor complete with a fireplace somewhere in the room, booth & table seating, and breadsticks, breadsticks, BREADSTICKS. The Times Square location is almost always busy, which is a node to the venue's stellar and unique city views.
Set in a room that once housed America's first professional theatrical club (The Lambs, est. 1874), The Lambs Club is an "empire deco" clubhouse where red leather banquettes, torch-like silver lamps, and a functional 1920s limestone fireplace are loomed over by hanging portraits of original Lambs members. Expect bites like white gazpacho abundant with peekytoe and green grapes, heritage pork ravioli with broccoli rabe & Pecorino, and beef tartare topped with pickled chanterelles.
If the Japanese clientele is any indication, this tourist-free underground bar in Times Square is as close to an authentic Tokyo drinking den as you’ll get in Midtown, and perhaps all of Manhattan. The typical izakaya fare includes sake, shochu, and ice-cold Sapporos, plus small bites like chicken yakitori, deep-fried fish and meats, and an insanely popular cod roe pasta.
Num Pang is an NYC mini-chain doling out modern variations on the classic Viet-Cambodian lunch staple, banh mi. The Midtown outpost offers their signature take on the sandwich (traditional pork pate can be swapped out for grilled khmer sausage, barbecue brisket, or grilled cauliflower, among others), plus a solid variety of green salads and spicy vegetable sides and soups.
Masatoshi "Gari" Sugio is legendary in NYC for dishing out one-of-kind sushi and meals like tuna with tofu cream and foie gras sushi. He's opened multiple locations throughout the city over the years, but the original Upper East Side still reigns supreme.