The Best Restaurants Near Bryant Park
photo credit: Dan Ahn
Bryant Park actually has a fair amount located directly inside of it: the library, an ice skating rink, and the largest patch of grass between Central Park and downtown.
There's also a lot to eat in the surrounding area, if you know where to look. From spicy kathi rolls, to a Japanese option and some pretty serious sandwiches, your lunch break is officially ON. Go.
Don Don’s pork jowl, fresh from the grill, is one of the best things you’ll eat within walking distance of Bryant Park. It’s included in the $80 combo plate at this pork-centric KBBQ place, which also comes with collar, tenderloin, and belly. You’re going to need at least one other person to help you eat all of that, so bring a couple of friends, and round out your meal with some kimchi fried rice. You’ll have a fun time grilling your own meat while you listen to a peppy K-pop soundtrack that pairs well with soju.
The Kati Roll Company specializes in Kolkata-style rolls involving kebabs and paneer wrapped in pan-fried parathas. The Bryant Park location has a few tables if you want to take a quick breather with a cup of chai, but kathi rolls are also an obvious choice for a portable lunch on the go. There are around five vegetarian and five meat options, with everything from shami kebab and chicken tikka to egg with tons of mint chutney mixed in, and our favorite: a tangy achari paneer roll flavored with spicy vegetable and fruit pickles.
You may recognize Angelina Paris from the social media accounts of Parisian girls who like their hot chocolate extra thick. At their first US outpost, you can get that same delightfully luxe drinkable chocolate experience, but you can also get a luxurious breakfast before heading into the office. There’s something about drinking your coffee in a room that looks like it’s in Versailles that makes even the most Mondayish Monday feel better. It’s also a great choice for an expense-account lunch meeting, or as a place to send out-of-towners.
The Lambs Club 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 fancy, and a little stuffy, but if you’re going to have a pricey meal in the area, this is a reliable option. Reservations aren’t hard to come by, and the Italian-leaning “Contemporary American” food is uniformly well-executed. Like The Lambs Club itself, this $30 burger isn’t anything revolutionary, but it’s memorable enough to justify the price tag.
The midtown outpost of Strip House has the same cheeky, burlesque-inspired decor as its Greenwich Village location, and it’s one of the better options in the neighborhood for food. There’s a sandwich board outside, advertising their “famous” 24-layer chocolate cake. Save some room, because this tall cake lives up to its reputation. The lunch scene is sleepy, but being able to sit alone at the quiet bar with just our thoughts and an 8-ounce strip steak is actually a rare joy in this area. It’s a livelier spot at dinnertime.
If you work around Bryant Park, pick one day of the week to be “Alidoro day” and slowly work your way through the very long list of hot, cold, and breakfast sandwiches at this outpost of a beloved Italian sandwich shop (the original location is in Soho). There’s plenty of seating, and on days when absolutely nothing but a fancy cheesesteak can make your day better, they have one—with both black garlic mustard and truffle cream on it.
Both the space and the menu at this outpost of a Japanese chain are huge, and a meal at Ootoya can be affordable if you order right. It isn’t going to be the best Japanese food you’ll ever have, but they do a good pork katsu curry and the pressed salmon sushi is fun to eat with its three different preparations. That’s only a fraction of the menu, however. Don’t be afraid to try new things. Come here the next time you’re in the neighborhood and you want to eat some decent Japanese food without spending a stupid amount of money.
It’s important to have a go-to coffee shop in every neighborhood where you know you’ll never have to worry about your coffee being under-extracted or burned. Around Bryant Park, that coffee shop is Culture Espresso, which has a flawless cortado and one of the city’s best chocolate chip cookies. There’s a fair amount of seating here, but no wifi, so it’s better for a break or a no-laptops chat with a coworker than a place to get work done.