Where To Eat Near Columbus Circle
The 11 best restaurants around 59th Street.
Columbus Circle is home to some of New York’s most expensive restaurants (Per Se, Masa, Jean Georges), but those aren’t what we’re talking about here. Because if you’re eating a meal at one of those places, you’re probably not doing it simply because you happen to find yourself around 59th Street and 8th Avenue. There are some very nice restaurants on this list (hey, you’re already dressed for the opera, right?), as well as some casual ones and a takeout option.
You might know Kwame Onwuachi from his DC restaurants or his run on Top Chef, but he’s also the guy who single-handedly made Lincoln Center cool again. Tatiana, located inside David Geffen Hall (the one with the Philharmonic) feels like a quiet nightclub and serves food that blends Afro-Caribbean flavors with iconic New York dishes. Think: egusi dumplings and a mizuna caesar salad with Trini green seasoning. The one thing you must order is the Wagyu short rib pastrami suya. It’s the best new pastrami sandwich in Manhattan.
photo credit: Christian Harder
This spot by the team behind restaurants like Don Angie, Zou Zou's, and Quality Italian might be in the weird mallscape of the Deutsche Bank Center (formerly the Time Warner Center), but it’s one of our favorite places for over-the-top Italian food. The space offers a whimsical take on a Roman feast, complete with animal statues wearing neon collars and actual fountains. Start with a pepperoncini-laced dirty martini and an order of roni cups and ranch, get one of their signature filet mignons, and finish with a slice of unreasonably good tiramisu ice cream cake.
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There are a few different ways to experience Torishin in Hell’s Kitchen, but no matter what path you choose, you’ll have an unforgettable meal. You can order à la carte skewers, do a tasting menu, or sit in a private room with a chef who will make you a meal so memorable that you’ll daydream about chicken for weeks. Just don’t come here expecting an elegant dining experience. It’s a cramped space where you’ll hear whole conversations happening at the table next to you, so you’ll have the most fun if you throw back some sake and get just as loud.
Midtown West is rich with excellent yakitori joints, and here’s another one. This somewhat hidden second-floor spot near Columbus Circle has a mind-boggling selection of skewers, and you’ll genuinely have a hard time narrowing down what to order. Definitely go for some juicy tsukune and tender chicken oysters as well as pork neck (mostly fat, not complaining) and okra with bonito flakes (our favorite among the vegetables). This place is casual with lots of counter seating that’s good for solo dining, but coming with one or two other people will enable you to try a lot more things.
Eat at Marea, and you won’t know if you’re feeling a lot of emotions because you just saw Aida or because the pasta here is even more moving. This fine-dining restaurant near Columbus Circle is one of our favorite places to eat pasta in NYC because instead of the usual suspects, you get octopus and bone marrow fussili and lobster mezzaluna. The rest of the menu has some decent seafood mains, but we suggest sharing a bunch of pastas. Even though this is a fine-dining spot where you’ll see lots of people in suits, it’s a warm and inviting atmosphere that never feels too stuffy.
photo credit: Marconi Gonzalez
El Fish Marisqueria
This Mexican seafood spot on the Upper West Side serves a lot of delicious things from the sea in a lot of formats. There are lobster tacos, tuna tostadas, grilled oysters, clam chowder tortilla soup, and a variety of whole fish options, just to name a few. El Fish is run by the chef behind Toloache, Coppelia, and a few other Mexican restaurants in the city, and it’s a smooth operation that’s a bit more upscale than their other spots. That’s not to say it’s especially fancy here, but it’s nice enough to fit the bill if you’re looking for something upscale before going to the ballet and can’t get into Tatiana.
photo credit: Noah Devereaux
A lot of the best restaurants around Columbus Circle are very busy and pretty expensive, but if you’re just looking for a quiet, semi-casual meal in the area, head to Kashkaval. It’s a dimly-lit Mediterranean restaurant that’s generally quiet without being too romantic. Bring a date or parent here to share wine, Turkish flatbreads, and some skewered meats. There’s a fondue list with four different variations, and you can get your fondue portioned for one.
Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill
Blue Ribbon has expanded its brand so far and wide, it’s basically become our own upscale Cheesecake Factory. Somehow, these people manage to keep quality up wherever they go, which is how they pull off this Blue Ribbon Brasserie/Blue Ribbon Sushi mashup located in a hotel lobby. Anywhere we can eat both excellent sushi and excellent fried chicken gets points in our book. This place stays buzzy but low-key, and it’s one of the better spots for a fun dinner around here.
Most of New York’s great steakhouses are housed in dim, wood-paneled rooms designed to make you feel like you’re playing D&D, but Porter House NYC turns that trope on its head. Here, you eat your red meat atop the ivory tower of the Deutsche Bank Center, in an elegant space overlooking Central Park. The porterhouse is one of the priciest in the city at $170, but it’s cooked perfectly and comes with an unparalleled view. At lunch, you can get a three-course $48 steak frites situation that’s easily the best steakhouse lunch deal in this part of town.
photo credit: Kenny Yang
The Original Soup Kitchen
“No Soup For You” merch aside, the service at this legendary soup spot is actually quite friendly, and the food is worth returning for. All the soups are loaded with ingredients, so even a small cup (most of which cost $5-$7) is relatively filling. Every order comes with a large slice of soft bread, a tiny apple, and a piece of chocolate, so you can get a substantial meal here for the cost of a fancy coffee drink. This place is takeout-only, so plan to eat in the park just four blocks away.
You have family in from out of town, and they want to go somewhere “hip.” But they also want to be able to walk from their hotel, so take them to Quality Italian. It’s almost like a Midtown version of Carbone, which sounds like it would be a disaster, but it actually works quite well. And though the big chicken parm served in a pizza dish gets a lot of the attention, you can also eat a nice, simple piece of fish here too.