Where to Eat in NYC’s Theater District and Midtown West
Before or after a Broadway show, or whenever.
Even with all of the recent challenges brought upon by Omicron, Broadway shows on the Great White Way continue to dazzle audiences. And not only can you snag discounted seats at the New Amsterdam Theatre through new programs like Broadway Roulette, but the annual NYC Broadway Week offering 2-for-1 tickets is also just around the corner from January 18 to February 13.
And while pre- and post-show dining options often get a bad rep thanks to the oversized national chains that fill up most of the main drag and Times Square, the Theater District spans much further than you may think, and has plenty of great dining options. So whether you’re looking to have a multi-course meal at the recently reopened legendary spot, Sardi’s, before the opening number, or need to scarf down some tacos after the final curtain closes, we’ve got you covered with our ultimate guide to dining near Broadway.
Chef Ignacio Mattos, owner of estela and Altro Paradiso, opened this all-day cafe, bakery, and bar at Rockefeller Center earlier last year. Located just outside of the Theater District proper, Lodi was designed as an ode to Italian aperitivo culture, making it the perfect spot for a pre-show bite. Spreads of antipasti, meats, and cheeses make up the bulk of the menu, but you can also order up a larger secondi course or one of the cafe’s popular paninis for something a little heartier.
Osteria La Baia
This stylish new restaurant near Rockefeller Center is an ideal destination for Broadway dining. Osteria La Baia’s menu focuses on coastal Italian fare, with five different types of crudo and antipasti like wood-grilled octopus to start, and also includes several wood-grilled options like a whole branzino and lamb chops. For larger dishes, the restaurant offers pizza, pasta, and entrees including dover sole saltimbocca and rabbit alla cacciatora.
How to book: Via website
This new food hall that opened last year in the AXA Building offers a super casual dinner option for those needing a quick bite pre- or post-show. Urbanspace Food Hall houses outposts of several well-known NYC eateries, so you can get Roberta’s wood-fired pizzas, lobster rolls from Seamore’s, and coffee and pastries from Partners Coffee without ever leaving Midtown. The space also hosts Tomo Tomo, a ramen and tsukemen restaurant from chef Tomo Kubo and the team at the East Village’s Tabetomo, and Call Me Pasta, a fast-casual concept from A Pasta Bar in SoHo, along with other restaurants to round out the slate of nine spots.
Aldo Sohm Wine Bar
For libations and light bites before a show, head to Aldo Sohm Wine Bar. The namesake concept from the iconic sommelier of nearby Le Bernardin, the bar is a casual spot to enjoy wines by the glass, bottle, or flight with food options that have also been touched by the accomplished team at the award-winning restaurant. The wine bar stocks more than 40 wines by the glass and over 200 bottles on its ever-changing menu, as well as charcuterie, artisanal cheeses, and dishes like whole roasted cauliflower, spicy lamb merguez, and a tarte flambée with applewood smoked bacon, caramelized onions, and chives.
Danji, is a Korean restaurant that’s a neighborhood favorite with upscale small plates run by chef Hooni Kim. The restaurant’s menu covers yellowtail sashimi, crispy vegetable dumplings, and bulgogi beef sliders with spicy pickled cucumber and scallion salsa along with larger dishes like braised short rib with root vegetables and rice, sizzling kimchi fried rice with bacon, and soy-poached cod with spicy daikon. Order a la carte or opt for the $68 per person tasting menu that includes a slate of the restaurant’s greatest hits.
Venture to the northernmost end of the Theater District, and you’ll find some of the best Cuban food in town. Guantanamera’s Midtown location offers all the classics from cubano and pernil sandwiches to larger format chicken, fish, and beef entrees served with maduros, congri, and other sides. The restaurant is also one of the few places you can still find happy hour deals these days, with Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday each dedicated to offering a different cocktail for just $6. The restaurant also hosts live Cuban music every night, so swing by after a show to keep the performances going all night long.
Located just a few blocks from Times Square, Joe Allen has been a go-to for Broadway performers, crew members, and visitors for nearly 50 years. It makes sense, considering the restaurant’s website lists up-to-date curtain times for shows running at the theaters in the vicinity. The casual tavern offers homestyle dishes like meatloaf, a half-roasted chicken with mashed potatoes, and burgers, and the restaurant is also open daily for brunch.
La Grande Boucherie
With four restaurants around the city, you may have dined at one of the Boucherie restaurants before. But until you’ve visited this Midtown dining room, you’ve never seen anything like this before. With nearly 400 seats inside in a 5,500-square-foot space and 174 seats outside in an almost equally sized covered, open-air pedestrian walkway along 6 1/2 Avenue, La Grande Boucherie is one of the largest restaurants in NYC. And the brasserie’s menu is equally expansive, covering all the bases of French fare like massive seafood towers, plenty of charcuterie and fromage, steak frites, and coq au vin. Keeping in line with the restaurant’s massive scale, the menu also has an entire section of large-format dishes for sharing, from a whole roasted chicken and a 48-ounce dry-aged porterhouse steak to a whole confit suckling pig for eight or more guests that must be ordered 24 hours in advance.
If you’re just considering Le Bernardin—a staple of NYC fine dining for 35 years helmed by chef Eric Ripert—for dinner before your upcoming show, it’s probably too late to snag a seat. But if you’re looking for an extra indulgent way to round out your night in the Theater District, plan ahead and try to score a reservation at this seafood-focused French restaurant. Prix-fixe menus start at $185 per person for four courses (or $115 for a three-course lunch before a matinee) and go all the way up to $480 for the chef’s tasting with a wine pairing. The restaurant’s lounge is a somewhat more cost-effective option, where you can order cocktails and appetizers like scallop ceviche, salmon rillette with toast, or a lobster roll on a black truffle bun.
Los Tacos No. 1
This city-wide favorite has four locations across Manhattan, and luckily for showgoers, one is located right in Times Square. Los Tacos No. 1 was started by two friends from Southern California and another from Tijuana, Mexico, and the casual taco stand has a simple menu offering up some of the best carne asada, adobada, and pollo asado tacos in town along with tostadas, quesadillas, and chips with salsa or guacamole. The stand does not have proper seating but offers plenty of counter space to stand and eat—and the operation moves fast, so have your order ready, and don’t forget: no ticket, no taco.
This Rat Pack-era restaurant has been a staple in Midtown for decades so if you’re looking to have a classic NYC night from start to finish, head to Russian Samovar. Upstairs, the restaurant and piano bar is often bustling with entertainment, and house-infused vodka is always flowing from behind the bar. For the Broadway set, there’s a prix-fixe theater menu for $45 with favorite Russian dishes like borscht, beef stroganoff, and stuffed cabbage and an opportunity to stop by after the show to party until 4 am.
With celebrity caricatures lining the walls of this old-school, white-tablecloth dining room, it’s no wonder Sardi’s has been a Broadway institution for decades. Between theater superfans, the performers who appear on stage, and other Broadway professionals that stay tucked away in the wings, this restaurant sees a steady pre- and post-show crowd for classic dishes like French onion soup, cannelloni au gratin, and filet mignon with a red wine reduction.
With 10 locations around the city, chances are you’ve checked out Serafina before, making this Italian restaurant a safe pre- or post-show bet. Believe it or not, the idea for the restaurant came when Vittorio Assaf and Fabio Granato were lost at sea and were dreaming of the perfect pizza, so you’ve got to try the classic pizzas. But the menu is rounded out by pasta, entrees like chicken Parmigiana and Milanese, and an array of antipasti.
This iconic Cuban restaurant has been a staple in Manhattan since 1963 and is now run by the original owner’s daughter and granddaughter, Sonia and Monica Zaldivar. Victor’s Cafe pays homage to classic Cuban dishes like ropa vieja, salmon carnaval, and cubano sandwiches in a bright and greenery-filled setting that’s goal is to transport you to Cuba.