If you want to eat a Michelin star meal in NYC, then you’re spoilt for choice. 77 restaurants hold at least one star, but some are more equal than others. 7 restaurants make our list, but many of them have a long waiting list and eye watering prices. Yet there are options for those of us who aren’t the President.
Jean-Georges - Head of State Ready
Its presence within Trump Tower probably had a bearing on the President’s choice of entertainment venue, but that Jean-Georges is one of the best restaurants in the city is in no doubt.
One of an elite group of 6 Manhattan restaurants to have collected 3 Michelin stars - stars it has held for more than a decade - Jean-Georges offers contemporary French cuisine made with the freshest ingredients sourced locally. Set up by Jean-Georges Vongerichten in 1997, it is rated as one of the top 5 French restaurants in the Americas.
And while it backs up incredible cuisine with elegant interiors, Jean-Georges is far from prohibitively expensive. While dinner guests can choose from a prix fixe menu and a selection of set menus, it’s the lunch guests who can find the best deals and the most free tables.
If you’re a wine aficionado, though, Jean-Georges can become expensive. A 38 page wine list hides some absolute wonders, such as the Château d’Yquem dessert wines.
The River Café - Welcome to America
The first thing you’ll notice about The River Café is the views. Nestled under the Brooklyn Bridge, you get views across the New York skyline, including a first rate view of what most people associate with entering America: the Statue of Liberty.
But The River Café did not simply sit on its laurels as a great location, it decided to offer you an incredible meal and amazing ambiance. In fact, The River Café has become something of a lover’s paradise.
But back to the food, and The River Café’s Michelin Star is well earned. Founder Michael Buzzy O’Keeffe was dedicated to only the highest level of cuisine, from the freshest ingredients. And The River Café actually invented the term “free range chicken”.
So if you’re looking for great location, great food, and great ambiance, all in one romantic package, The River Café may well be for you. Unless, of course, you choose…
Marea - Bring the sea to Central Park
Right next to one of the city’s biggest tourist attractions lies one of its biggest dining gems, the Italian seafood restaurant, Marea. Almost right next to Columbus Circle, Marea aims to bring you on a guided tour of the sea, through its cuisine.
And it can back it up. Boasting 2 Michelin stars, Marea was voted the best Italian Restaurant in NYC by Zagat. And it’s easy to see why.
Their menu is not just superb, it backs up their style, boasting a whole host of wonderful seafood dishes prepared by chef Michael White and his team.
Their 4 course prix fixe menu is definitely worth a try, while they offer custom tasting menus with wine pairings, should you want to try something even more exotic. Coupled with excellent service and a price point that won’t burn a whole in your wallet, Marea is most definitely worth a stop on your culinary journey.
Café China - This is Shanghai, in New York
No culinary journey is complete without a journey east. And while you can explore Arabic cuisine at home, true Chinese cuisine just has to be tried. And Café China is possibly the best place to try it in New York.
Run by a Chinese couple, they have decorated the restaurant in the style of 1930’s Shanghai, turning a little corner of East 37th Street into a paradise for Chinese food lovers trying to escape the MSG heavy, greasy wares of most Chinese restaurants in NYC.
In fact, Café China use no MSG. None at all. Their menu is varied and extraordinarily inexpensive for the quality, while the decor is inventive and interesting. All in all, a must stop on your gourmet journey around New York.
Aureole - Urban Elegance
Charlie Palmer’s flagship New York restaurant, Aureole, offers diners a taste of the celebrity chef’s progressive American cuisine in a stunning downtown location.
Sat within the Bank of America Tower, this Michelin star haven for American cuisine has been going for 28 years, and the soups in particular were picked out as great choices.
While you can sit down to enjoy a meal in the restaurant, you can also go for lunch in the bar, offering an option to taste the wares of Michelin starred chef Christopher Lee in a more informal setting.
Aska - Two star Scandinavian excellence
One of New York’s newer Michelin star restaurants, Aska was awarded 2 stars in the 2017 guide, the first time a new entry has gained 2 stars since Atera. And the Scandinavian restaurant has definitely earned those 2 stars.
Created by Swedish chef Fredrik Berselius, Aska brings a distinct culinary philosophy to their dinner menu, while their informal Edda Bar offers a chill out area to relax over snacks and drinks.
But it is their menu that stands out, and not just when it comes to taste. Plates are photogenic, with herb sprigs and flower stalks bringing more than just incredible flavors to the dish. But the natural flavors and delicate compositions put together by chef Berselius make Aska a great stop off. And 2 Michelin stars do not lie.
And lastly, a restaurant that does not have any Michelin stars, and does not even exist yet. But such is Nusret Gökçe’s fame, you can be sure there will be queues when he opens his steak house in New York.
Gökçe, who shot to fame with viral videos of him sprinkling salt on steak outside his Dubai restaurant, Nusr-Et, has become known as Salt Bae, with celebrities like Leonardo Di Caprio and Ben Affleck fans. And now he’s coming to New York.
Rumored to be opening on West 53rd Street, a table is going to be nigh on impossible to get hold of if the celebrity meat lover’s viral success is anything to go by. But with fans like his, Nusr-Et is definitely worth a visit once it opens.
So there you have it, 7 great restaurants to go on a culinary NYC journey. And soak up the Michelin star fare without taking out a second mortgage.