Where to Eat and Drink at the Revamped Rockefeller Center
Recent additions include exciting new restaurants from the teams at Olmsted, Atoboy, and more.
Rockefeller Center is waving goodbye to its reputation as a tourists-only attraction thanks to a massive revitalization project currently underway at the iconic Midtown destination. A new wave of head-turning and big-name–backed eateries and bars is turning Rock Center into the city’s latest culinary and nightlife destination.
From highly praised debuts like NARO, by the founders of trailblazing eateries Atoboy and Atomix, and the swanky Pebble Bar to this week’s opening of chef Greg Baxtrom’s latest venture called Five Acres, there are plenty of spots that have New Yorkers reconsidering their stance on these Manhattan blocks.
So if you’re among the crowds who will be dropping by this season to catch a glimpse of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree or ice skate at The Rink at Rockefeller Center, we’ve got you covered with some of the coolest spots to eat and drink at Rockefeller Center in NYC right now.
Recent restaurant openings at Rockefeller Center
Chef Greg Baxtrom showcases his knowledge of fine dining and hyper-seasonal fare with his first Manhattan venture. Named for his family’s five-acre farm outside of Chicago, Five Acres highlights recipes and techniques Baxtrom learned while working at famed restaurants across the country, such as Alinea in Chicago and Per Se in NYC. At the 65-seat, greenery-covered eatery, locally sourced ingredients are at the center of the all-day menu; Highlights include Delicata Squash Vase (whipped ricotta, prosciutto chips) and Crab Cake (bruleed bone marrow aioli), as well as larger plates like Grilled Guinea Hen (salsify hazelnut tart, juniper). On the beverage program, globally sourced wines are joined by house cocktails like the Vale of Cashmere (reposado, pear brandy, egg white).
Imaginative takes on American comfort classics are the specialty for NYC-native and chef Homer Murray. For his latest project, Murray launches a Manhattan counterpart to his popular Brooklyn-based 21 Greenpoint. Alongside guest favorites like the Cheeseburger, location exclusive plates include the Crunchy Broccoli Salad (apple, cajun pecans) and Open Faced Crab Toast (mayo, lemon, parsley). Drinks-wise there’s specialty cocktails like Homer’s Day Off (tequila, hibiscus), as well as a selection of beer and wine.
The team behind popular downtown Italian restaurant King, recently debuted a spacious, 140-seat sibling dubbed Jupiter. Helmed by partners Clare de Boer, Jess Shadbolt, and Annie Shi, as well as executive chef Gaz Herbert (River Cafe in London), the food program features a large all-day menu of regional Italian classics like Beef Sott’olio (chargrilled beef filet, horseradish) and Risotto Di Mare (saffron, whole langoustine, squid), as well as pasta signatures such as Tagliarini al Pomodoro (tomato, marjoram, ricotta). Pair them with an extensive list of predominantly Italian wines as well as house cocktails like the Jupiter Vesper (gin, vodka, fig leaf). Guests can sit within the dining room or opt for a more casual experience at the 12-seat, red-marble bar.
This elegant new French brasserie is from the team behind Tribeca’s highly-lauded Frenchette. At Le Rock, the culinary program is helmed by chef Walker Stern’s (Dover) and offers guests a selection of weekly specials along with permanent Touts Le Temps menu items in a spacious 130-seat eatery. Among the highlights are Steak Haché and Escargots plus elaborate desserts like the Plateau de Dessert (confection stand filled with seasonal treats).
Creative takes on traditional Korean cuisine reign supreme at NARO. Led by the trailblazing team behind eateries Atoboy and Atomix and named after Korea’s first space launch, NARO sheds a contemporary spotlight on hansik (customary Korean food), made using hyper-seasonal ingredients. Led by chef Nate Kuester (Cafe Boulud, BAPBAP), the current multi-course tasting menu features plates like Pyeonyuk (beef shank, tomato, caviar) and King Crab Bibimbap (rice, soybean paste stew, pickled bamboo), alongside desserts like Pear Pavlova (blood orange coulis, pear hibiscus sorbet). For plant-forward diners, a vegetarian tasting menu is also available. Currently, the dining room is reservation only, but the bar is open for walk-ins with an a la carte program.
Since opening last year, this elevated eatery/bar has commanded a steady fan base for its classic Italian plates and expert cocktails. Led by chef Ignacio Mattos (Estela, Altro Paradiso), the all-day menu offers from in-house baked breads and croissants to paninis and pastas. Standout dishes include house made Ricotta, Crostini di Fegato (liver pâté), and Salsiccia (pork sausage, turnips). Pair plates with a selection of spritzes, the house Rockefeller Martini, or wine.
Exciting new bars at Rockefeller Center
Mix one part all-star team (known for industry hits Ray’s and The Jane Hotel Ballroom), one part celebrity investors (Pete Davidson and Jason Sudeikis included), with one part legendary location (the former Hurley’s, which operated for more than a century and was a known hangout spot for NBC stars like Johnny Carson and the crew from Saturday Night Live), and you’ve got a new hot spot where all the cool kids are flocking to: Pebble Bar. Located inside a historic townhouse at Rockefeller Center, expect three, separate floors with a 35-seat eatery and oyster bar at the top. Along with classic cocktails, beers from New York breweries, wine, and seasonal specialty drinks, enjoy seafood-focused plates from executive chef Carlos Barrera (The Lobster Club).
Casual Restaurants at Rockefeller Center
When a quicker bite is all your schedule allows for, there’s a solid crew of fast-casual spots at the ready within Rockefeller Center. From sustainably focused chef JJ Johnson comes globally inspired Rice Bowls at this outpost of his Harlem-based restaurant, FIELDTRIP. For Asian American fare, chef David Chang’s fried chicken joint Fuku is a go-to for spicy, sweet, and tangy sandwiches, fingers, and fries. NYC-born Black Seed Bagels also operates a shop here and is known for melding NYC and Montreal-style baking techniques for a menu featuring a range of sweet and savory wood-fired bagels.
Bakeries and dessert destinations at Rockefeller Center
Rockefeller Center is also home to an impressive array of bakeries and dessert destinations. Recently opened and the fifth locale for the company, Breads Bakery is popular for baked goods like the signature Chocolate Babka, plus location-exclusive items like the New York Pretzel (served with mustard) and Pockets of Sunshine Babka (lemon cream), which was invented in collaboration with Today Show host Al Roker. Lady M serves up innovative takes on the multi-layer cakes called Mille Crepes, while Magnolia Bakery is worth braving the line for its famous Banana Pudding plus cupcakes and cookies. For doughnut lovers, the Bed-Stuy-born Dough Doughnuts serves up seasonal flavors like White Chocolate Peppermint and Irish Coffee Cream Filled. Finally, drop by the chic children’s toy store FAO Schwarz for a whimsical candy shop experience.
Classic bars at Rockefeller Center
Other spots to grab libations include the Brooklyn-based Other Half Brewing for a variety of IPAs, stouts, sours, and more. City Winery offers an outdoor wine garden, with enclosed bubbles for warmth and a lengthy selection of wines plus light bites. And, if you’re looking to throw a party with your friends, the iconic Rainbow Room and the adjacent Bar SixtyFive can be rented out for an evening.
Nearby hotspots to Rockefeller Center
An impressive addition to the city’s portfolio of powerhouse food halls, Urban Hawker draws inspiration from Singapore’s iconic street food and open-air markets. Just a block away from Rockefeller Center, the 11,000-square-foot dining experience features 11 Singapore-based vendors making their stateside debuts, alongside six NYC-based eateries. Stalls include: the first outpost of the renowned East Village dessert destination Lady Wong; Daisy’s Dream, a family-run business from Singapore specializing in Nasi Lemak; and White Restaurant, an acclaimed Singapoean eatery known for its White Beehoon (white rice vermicelli noodles in chicken broth simmered for eight-hours).