Cafe Boulud on the UES is the casual version of Daniel. But that’s kind of like saying a debutante ball is the casual version of a wedding - it’s still not very casual. When you arrive at this French restaurant, someone will call you “monsieur” or “mademoiselle,” you’ll see a room of people wearing sport jackets, and you may even encounter a server carrying a single black truffle in a case we can only describe as the glass with the rose from Beauty And The Beast. The French food here, like foie gras and buttery striploin, is all classic and expertly-prepared. But, between the plating, the bunker-esque dining room, and stiff formality of it all, Cafe Boulud feels distinctly stuck in ‘90s gastronomy culture. Come to Cafe Boulud if you have a lot of money to spend on Wednesday night dinners near Central Park - there’s pretty much no other reason to eat here.
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It’s time to up your Indian food game. We really can’t get enough of this place. The food at Om is authentic, light, and incredibly good.
Flex is a restaurant import from Prince Edward Island, which immediately gives it some credibility - "P.E.I" as they call it, is the source of some of the best mussels the world has to offer.
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Balthazar, you had a good 16-year run, but it’s time to step aside. Lafayette is now the quintessential French bistro of bustling downtown NYC.
The original Pastis closed in 2014, and now there’s a new location (also in the Meatpacking District). It isn’t as cool, but the food is still great.
Cafe Gitane is the quintessential Nolita place to “see and be seen,” especially if you’re hoping to see some avocado toast.
Suggested by our writers
Daniel is a New York City fine dining classic. Save it for a special occasion and eat in the salon, where things are a bit more laid back.
An unexpectedly great Greek restaurant on York Avenue. If we just had a better way to get up here, we'd be here all the time. Who wants to carpool?
Eleven Madison Park
Fancy though it may be, Eleven Madison Park is surprisingly lively. But make no mistake, this is fine dining at its most serious.
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