A Few of My Favorite NYC Restaurants
(Photograph taken at La Biblioteque, NYC)
Who doesn’t appreciate restaurant recommendations, especially if you planning on spending a long weekend in NYC, as I did recently. I always enjoy hearing about new restaurants from friends, especially when I’m traveling. The three restaurants that I’m about to tell you about are not new or trendy but rather the steadfast ones that I return to again and again.
Having grown up in NYC and having spend a good chunk of my adult life there, I tend to spend too much time reminiscing about how the city use to be. A case in point is my lament about what happened to all the Greek coffee shops that use to populate every third block of this fair metropolis.
Stepping through the doors of Il Cantinori Restaurant in Greenwich Village, feels to me like no time has passed and I’m being welcomed back by a dear friend. Opened in 1983 in an old farmhouse, in my book it serves the best Tuscan inspired food in New York. I’ve been going there for 20 years and Il Cantinori does not disappoint.
From the beautiful flower arrangement at the bar to the white clothe setting, from impeccable service to a wonderful dining experience. But it’s the food, food, food that is the star here! It is always fabulous and consistent. If you are ever planning on ditching your protein diet, do so here and order one of their many pasta dishes. You’ll thank me later.
When I start to feel overwhelmed by the crowds and noise of the city, I venture into Central Park at 72nd and Fifth Avenue, which is a stone’s throw from where I grew up, and walk a few blocks to the Boathouse Restaurant. True to its name – rowboats drift about the adjacent lake, as they have for over 150 years. It is the ultimate urban oasis, which also serves good food.
Because of its dramatic backdrop, especially in the evening, it’s the perfect restaurant to celebrate a milestone. This past weekend, we hosted a dinner for Mallory’s birthday. We managed to close down the restaurant, which is kind of a feat in the city that never sleeps.
Because Central Park is closed to cars and taxis at night, after dinner we hopped onto the Boathouse van. Somehow, Eric convinced the van driver to drop us off at the Carlyle Hotel for after dinner drinks. The look on the doorman’s face as we all piled out of the vehicle, was priceless.
Le Bibliotque, on East 60th Street, is another of my all time favorite NYC restaurant. Though the second coming of this bistro hotspot boasts 110 seats instead of a former 35, the mood is that of a chic and intimate dinner party.
The lighting is just dark enough, and the candles on white-paper-covered tables illuminate the blush banquettes and post-modern art that adorns the walls. As for the restaurant’s classic French bistro fare, old standards await (foi gras and moules frites) both well prepared, but the greatest delights of the menu come in some unexpected creation. For example, a crab avocado dish is decked with red peppers – adding a nice spice and crunch. And the signature poulet Cajun? It is buttery, flavorful, and tender and lives up to its reputation.