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What is the best restaurant in the Lincoln Center/Columbia Circle/UWS area?

Thinking about heading to hear the NY Philharmonic's Messiah in December, and looking for the "best" restaurant nearby - for dinner either before or after the concert. By "best" I truly mean best food, not most expensive/pretentious/hyped/etc. If you think the best food up there is at a pub, by all means recommend! I am not familiar with this area.

Thanks all!

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  1. I had a great dinner a few weeks ago at Picholine. There seemed to be many guests who were going to Lincoln Center (many people were leaving from 7:15 - 7:30).

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    Picholine
    35 West 64th St., New York, NY 10023

    1. Per Se is the best, but it's a very long meal.

      If you want dinner before the concert, Jean Georges, Picholine, Lincoln, Marea, or Boulud Sud would be good options.

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      Per Se
      10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

      Jean Georges
      1 Central Park W, New York, NY 10023

      Picholine
      35 West 64th St., New York, NY 10023

      Marea
      240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

      Lincoln
      142 W 65th St, New York, NY 10023

      Boulud Sud
      20 W 64th St, New York, NY 10023

      9 Replies
      1. re: peter j

        Agree with both ellenost and peter j. Per Se is the best restaurant in the area (and the hype surrounding it has nothing to do with it, it's just really THAT good) BUT since you want dinner in conjunction with Lincoln Center Per Se would not be the way to go. So I would absolutely lean towards Picholine especially if you like to dress up for Lincoln Center, it would make for a really nice complete evening.

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        Per Se
        10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

        Picholine
        35 West 64th St., New York, NY 10023

        1. re: Spiritchaser

          Thanks all, I just looked at Picholine's menu and it looks great!

          Would that also be your recommendation if we wanted to dine after the concert? I see they have a post-theatre menu as well.

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          Picholine
          35 West 64th St., New York, NY 10023

          1. re: ccalabro

            It could work but personally I like some (not a lot) of activity in a restaurant and after theater gets pretty darn "quiet" at Picholine. If you are going to go the after concert route then maybe Bar Boulud would be a better bet, more life.

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            Picholine
            35 West 64th St., New York, NY 10023

            Bar Boulud
            1900 Broadway, New York, NY 10023

        2. re: peter j

          I agree with this completely. Lincoln and Picholine would be my two top choices (Jean Georges is a slightly longer meal that is probably worth keeping for another occasion.)

          If you are serious about "best," and it is an early show, you could probably do a full dinner at Per Se afterwards, but that would depends completely on timing.

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          Per Se
          10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

          Jean Georges
          1 Central Park W, New York, NY 10023

          Picholine
          35 West 64th St., New York, NY 10023

          Lincoln
          142 W 65th St, New York, NY 10023

          1. re: nmprisons

            Show is at 7:30, so we likely wouldn't get anywhere until around 9:30 I would guess? Not sure how long the concert will run.

          2. re: peter j

            No mistakes on this list.

            But Per Se is "best" but logistically hard (lunch lets out at about the right time)
            J-G is also great in a jewel box of a room
            Marea is not as good in my eye, they have a service issue there... sort of heads up their arses actually, ticked me off last year
            Picholine I love, beautiful room, great food.
            Boulud Sud, awesome and less formal

            -----
            Per Se
            10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

            Jean Georges
            1 Central Park W, New York, NY 10023

            Picholine
            35 West 64th St., New York, NY 10023

            Marea
            240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

            Boulud Sud
            20 W 64th St, New York, NY 10023

            1. re: peter j

              >> Per Se is the best, but it's a very long meal.

              That's true for the tasting menus served in the main dining room. However, you can also eat in the salon (the room you walk through to get to the main dining room) and order a la carte from the salon menu, as many or as few courses as you want. That way you don't have to spend anywhere near as long as in the main dining room. (It also may not include the endless parade of amuses bouches and mignardises of the main dining room meals.) I don't think they take reservations for the salon, but most of the time you can walk right in, especially if you get there when they open for a pre-theater seating. I have not eaten in the salon but this is what we were told when we asked about it while having lunch in the main dining room a few months ago.

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              Per Se
              10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

              1. re: nsxtasy

                The salon does include amuses bouches and mignardises regardless of the number of dishes that you order.

                1. re: fm1963

                  Thanks for the clarification. Sounds like a great choice!

            2. If you're willing to do (and can get a reservation, or perhaps find a spot at the salon) a long meal experience after the concert, then Per Se is definitely the best restaurant in that area.

              That being said, I do think Lincoln http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/809840 is definitely the best restaurant to eat at without a big fuss.

              1. After theater meal: think about tapas at Gastroarte.
                Bar Boulud a great choice.

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                Bar Boulud
                1900 Broadway, New York, NY 10023

                Gastroarte
                141 W 69th St, New York, NY 10023

                1. Another good choice is Telepan

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                  Telepan
                  72 W. 69th Street, New York, NY 10023