Where To Eat Before Or After A Broadway Show
Whether you're looking for something quick or want to have a nice sit-down dinner before you attend the Beetlejuice musical, here are your best options.
The next time you're seeing a Broadway show and want to eat at a place that's more impressive than the Hard Rock Cafe, use this guide. Whether you're looking for something quick (because you're always running late) or want to enjoy a nice sit-down dinner before you fall asleep halfway through Phantom, these are all your best options.
photo credit: Mowarin Hensawang
LumLum is a Thai restaurant that specializes in seafood, and it’s our favorite spot for a casual meal in Hell’s Kitchen. The space is bright and beachy, with bamboo walls and rattan furniture, and you'll probably hear the Beach Boys playing when you stop by. Lean into the coastal theme, and get some crab fried rice and massive river prawns. Charred, juicy, and served with tart chile-lime sauce, the prawns are some of the best things you’ll eat in the area.
Utsav serves classic Indian food with the speed and ferocity of someone who’s as stressed about making curtain call as you are. This 46th Street spot is ideal if you want something warm, spicy, and delicious but you don’t want to worry about waiting for a table. (The space is giant.) We like the dal makhani and butter chicken, but you can’t really go wrong.
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It’s rare to find a fun and relatively affordable group dinner option near Times Square, but Donburiya meets the criteria. Almost everything on the menu at this Japanese izakaya costs less than $20, including their specialty donburi bowls, massive onigiri, and carafes of hot sake. Just know that Donburiya feels more like a bar where someone might stand on a table than it does a calm sit-down restaurant, but that’s part of the fun.
photo credit: Noah Devereaux
Kashkaval is a dimly-lit Mediterranean restaurant where you should bring a date, a parent, or really anyone you feel comfortable sharing a plate of fondue with. (They serve three different kinds.) Things stay relatively quiet here, so you'll be able to enjoy a peaceful meal before you wade through crowds of people screaming for Patti LuPone's autograph.
photo credit: Quality Bistro
Maybe you have a few clients to impress or you just want to have a memorable dinner at a place with more gold accents than the cover photo for Drake’s sophomore album. Go to Quality Bistro, the massive French restaurant from the people behind Quality Eats and Don Angie. There are several different loud, dark rooms to choose from, and the French-leaning menu has everything from bone marrow and filet mignon to a tarte flambee that tastes like Detroit-style pizza.
The Lambs Club
The Lambs Club, from the chef who formerly ran Marea and Ai Fiori, is a very Midtown restaurant. The design is Art Deco, the booths are red leather, and the seats are filled with people who just left work and could really use a martini. It’s a fancy place, and it’s a little stuffy, but if you’re going to have a pricey meal in the area, this is a reliable option. The Italian-leaning “Contemporary American” food is uniformly well-executed, and your server will probably ask if you're seeing a Broadway show as soon as you sit down.
As with any NYC neighborhood where tourists outnumber actual New Yorkers two to one, the Theater District has plenty of places to eat pizza. But if you’re looking for a spot that’ll appeal to people who aren’t currently on vacation, go to B-Side. This dark restaurant/bar looks like a ’70s rec room, and it’s where you can get a great Neapolitan pie absolutely buried in soppressata, chili oil, and hot honey.
If B Side is busy and you don’t necessarily need a place that qualifies as “cool,” go to Capizzi. It’s more of a straightforward neighborhood Italian spot decorated with wine bottles and vintage knick-knacks, and the pizzas here are thin, slightly crunchy, and similar in spirit to the ones at Lucali. Is this place as good as Lucali? Of course not. But this is still a nice, calm spot to eat a pie or two with a nephew who wants to see the Frozen musical.
Jasmine's Caribbean Cuisine
Jasmine's is a colorful place where you can sit under some hanging plants and drink a rum punch or a piña colada. So if you're looking for a pre-theater spot that isn't boring, come here. The food is broadly Caribbean, and you can stop by for some empanadas and a plate of well-seasoned jerk chicken before you catch Dear Evan Hansen.
You’re probably going to see someone famous at Bar Centrale. In other words, you probably won’t get a seat at Bar Centrale. But just call for a reservation. Book a week in advance, and you’re good to go. Walk up the steps of the nondescript townhouse and enjoy a cocktail and some small plates in the dark, discreet space before or after a show.
It’s possible you rushed to the show straight from a meeting and forgot that your body needs calories to function. As soon as you leave the theater, go to Los Tacos on 43rd Street. This place makes some of our favorite food in the neighborhood—but there aren't any seats, so you'll have to eat standing up. Order a few tacos and lean against a counter while you gather your thoughts on the inconsistent lighting design in whatever show you just paid hundreds of dollars to see.
photo credit: Noah Devereaux
Pure Thai Cookhouse
Pure Thai Cookhouse serves some of The Best Thai Food In NYC, and it’s the ideal spot to sit on a stool and eat a few curry puffs and a bowl of noodles topped with crab and pork. The only catch is, the narrow space is only about the size of your average subway car, they don’t take reservations, and you’ll most likely encounter a wait. But if you have 30 minutes to kill, we encourage you to put your name in, walk around the block a few times, and come back for some springy noodles.
Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ
Dinner and an activity before your show doesn’t have to consist of a hot dog and a walk through the Swatch store in Times Square. At Gyu-Kaku, you can grill your own Japanese BBQ and try a ton of different things for around $25-30 per person. We’d recommend making a reservation, because this restaurant gets packed with groups and families, especially during the daily Happy Hour, when there’s a giant two-person set meal option for $75.
You have about 60 minutes until curtains. Instead of attempting a three-course meal, try Casellula. This airy wine bar serves a bunch of shareable small plates and a few larger options like the “pig’s ass sandwich” with two types of pork and melted cheese. It’s also open until 1am on weekends, so keep it in mind for after the show, when you should sit at the bar and ask your server to bring you flights of cheese and wine.
photo credit: Noah Devereaux
Briciola calls itself a wine bar, but it’s really more of a full-on restaurant. They serve a bunch of small plates and 10 different pastas, all of which cost $18 or less. And the food is pretty solid, especially for the price. The only real catch is that this place is tiny and all of the seating is communal. On the plus side, it’s open until midnight, so you can stop by post-show if you spent all of Act II dreaming about carbs.
Natsumi is as casual as sushi on West 50th Street can be, which is to say slightly fancier than what you’ll find in most neighborhoods. But regular rolls here are almost all under $10. The fish is high-quality, and they also have a bunch of different sushi sets. It sort of feels like a hotel lounge from the early 2000s where people talk business and tourists speak French, but it’s pleasant enough if you want to get some reasonably affordable sushi before or after a show.
photo credit: Noah Devereaux
44 & X
44&X is ideal for pre-theater dinners, and not just because they have a full list of cocktails with Broadway-pun names. This restaurant has a giant dining room and a long bar, and it stays pretty quiet since it’s on 10th Avenue. Come with family or friends who are interested in eating some steak or a nicely-cooked piece of salmon.
photo credit: Ghost Media
If you actually want to catch your show, you probably don’t want to come here before. The waits at Ippudo can get pretty long—but the ramen is worth a wait, so stop by for a post-show meal. Your theater partner will be impressed with your neighborhood know-how, and you’ll want them to stop talking to you so you can eat more ramen.
Aria Wine Bar
The original Aria Wine Bar is in the West Village, and this Hell’s Kitchen location is essentially a clone. The ceilings are a little higher, and the space is less cramped, but they serve the same reasonably-priced Italian menu, and, just like the other location, there are little wooden tables and exposed brick walls. Be sure to make a reservation if you’re stopping by before a show, because there tends to be a wait, and you don’t want to miss the first half of Pretty Woman: The Musical.