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Best "not-so-well-known" Fine-Dining-Restaurants in Manhattan?

kai.m Jan 27, 2014 12:34 PM

Hi all,

Iam fom europe and Iam planning a fine-dining-trip to New York City (5 days). But: I really have no clue, where to go – apart from the famous top-end-places like EMP, Per Se, Daniel, Jean-Georges or Atera etc...

Which restaurants (apart from the ones mentioned above) do you recommend? I like modernist cuisine alot, but I appreciate very well made "classical" cuisine as well.
What I don't like is your run-of-the-mill fine-dining-place, where everything is kind of nice, but nothing really memorable.

Thanks alot!


  1. exploringny Jan 27, 2014 02:21 PM

    Hi Kai,

    It really depends what your main goal of this experience would be. If it was me, I would recommend trying trying food types you won't normally find where you are from in Europe. NYC has some amazing Indian food, Tamarind comes to mind but there are plenty of others. Also, trying one of the ramen places in the city is a great option. Ippudo is a solid choice and has two different locations, Totto is another good choice here and does chicken broth based ramen. Not sure if you are into BBQ, but I recently went to a place called Brisket Town in Brooklyn and that was an amazing meal. Tapas also is done extremely well in the city, a few places I have enjoyed are the Kuma Inn, Sala One Nine, Alta, and Barbuto. Then a favorite of mine for mussels is Flex Mussels... if you go stay for the donuts for desert, they are amazing. Hope that helps!


    1. a
      alepenazzi Jan 27, 2014 03:38 PM

      They're not really "not-so-well-known" but you could try out Aquavit (unless you're from a scandinavian country), Jungsik, The Nomad, 15 East and Tamarind Tribeca and I promise you won't be disappointed...

      3 Replies
      1. re: alepenazzi
        ellenost Jan 27, 2014 05:52 PM

        In addition to Jungsik and The NoMad, I highly recommend Momofuku Ko, Picholine, Betony and Juni for fine dining. BTW, I've dined recently at all of these restaurants as well as EMP and Atera, and had extraordinary dinners at all of them!

        1. re: ellenost
          zeeEats Jan 29, 2014 01:18 PM

          One more nod for Jungsik. Piora is another solid option, albeit not as fine dining as EMP, Le Bernardin and the like.

          In the same vein as Ko, the Kappo dinner at Ma Peche is also a fun experience, and a great value for chef's counter.

          1. re: zeeEats
            ellenost Jan 29, 2014 01:23 PM

            I can't believe I forgot to mention the kappo at Ma Peche (especially since I'm going this week). Thanks for recommending it!

      2. ipsedixit Jan 27, 2014 06:24 PM

        I would look at Aldea and Skal.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ipsedixit
          mwhitmore Jan 28, 2014 08:30 AM

          Thanks for suggesting Skal. Hadn't heard of it, menu looks interesting, and they keep New York (late) hours.

        2. t
          travelmad478 Jan 27, 2014 06:28 PM

          Jungsik for sure. Louro (not really fine dining in terms of white tablecloths and formal service, but excellent food). Le Bernardin. One of Michael White's restaurants, for the pasta.

          1. Bob Martinez Jan 28, 2014 07:52 AM

            In Manhattan, Annisa.

            In Brooklyn, the Elm.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Bob Martinez
              linguafood Feb 3, 2014 03:50 PM

              Ha, shoulda scrolled down first. You beat me to my Annisa rec.

            2. Spiritchaser Jan 28, 2014 08:27 AM

              The NoMad, Betony, Bouley, Picholine

              Duh, you wanted not well known, I think my Bouley suggestions doesn't really hold up to that critrea.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Spiritchaser
                Ttrockwood Jan 28, 2014 01:58 PM

                Bouley's pre fixe lunch is a great option for the OP as well

              2. b
                bronwen Jan 28, 2014 09:14 AM

                They are very well known but their names don't come up quite as much as EMP, Per Se, Daniel etc.
                La Grenouille, Picholine, Delmonico's, Four Seasons

                1. b
                  Blumie Jan 28, 2014 10:19 AM

                  Consider Junoon for excellent fine dining Indian in a beautiful setting. My principal complaint is the overly formal service, but as long as your braced for that (or it's to your liking), the food is excellent.

                  5 Replies
                  1. re: Blumie
                    GaryUES Jan 29, 2014 08:13 PM

                    Junoon isn't Indian; it's billed as Middle Eastern, tho they mix in some other items. I seem to be the outlier in thinking that their price to value ratio isn't great. However, the red haired barmaid mentioned below is terrific; she gave me sips of several wines to ensure that I got something I liked.

                    1. re: GaryUES
                      squid kun Jan 29, 2014 08:39 PM

                      Did Junoon recently switch formats? Its website calls it a "modern Indian restaurant"; the online menu (http://junoonnyc.com/pdfs/JunoonMenu.pdf) includes tandoor meats, dals, biryanis, naan and paratha and other Indian breads.

                      1. re: GaryUES
                        Spiritchaser Jan 30, 2014 04:11 AM

                        In what write up is Junoon "billed" as Middle Eastern?

                        1. re: GaryUES
                          Blumie Jan 30, 2014 05:39 AM

                          Are you sure you're thinking of the right place? (And who is this "red haired barmaid" of which you speak?) Junoon absolutely is Indian and absolutely is not Middle Eastern. You're obviously confusing Junoon with some other place.


                          1. re: Blumie
                            wasny Feb 3, 2014 04:32 PM

                            Probably Taboon.

                      2. j
                        JC2 Jan 29, 2014 09:15 AM

                        definitely Jung Sik. Food is clever, original, absolutely fine dining

                        1. c
                          cambridgedoctpr Jan 29, 2014 05:00 PM

                          i really like Bernadin, Jean-Georges, 11 Madison, et al. and so i am not sure why they should be excluded.

                          That said, why not consider "ethnic" dining which is even less likely to be duplicated in Europe. I do not want to eat at 3 star restaurants every night; i prefer to mix it up.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: cambridgedoctpr
                            ipsedixit Jan 29, 2014 06:09 PM

                            i really like Bernadin, Jean-Georges, 11 Madison, et al. and so i am not sure why they should be excluded.

                            Read the title of the OP.

                            1. re: ipsedixit
                              hazelhurst Feb 3, 2014 04:25 PM

                              I think one of the remaining "hide out" places would have to be Veau d'Or. You won't get trendy sorts in there and I suspect its customers wouldn't bother you if you were on fire.

                              1. re: hazelhurst
                                bropaul Feb 3, 2014 04:54 PM

                                Now that's the kind of place that sounds right for me! "its customers wouldn't bother you if you were on fire." LOL!

                            2. re: cambridgedoctpr
                              kmzed Jan 30, 2014 10:38 AM

                              I don't know where in Europe the OP is coming from or where in Europe you have been or what you mean when you say "ethnic dining", but there are Asian, African, South American, Indian, Australasia, Near Eastern and Middle Eastern eateries in every corner of Europe. I have found it much easier to find Iranian, Goan, Ecuadoran, Algerian, Afghan, Mozambiquan and Georgian food in the eurozone than I ever have in NYC.

                              In addition, I often see European food like Greek and Portuguese food referred to as "ethnic" in NYC.

                            3. l
                              luckiestduck Feb 3, 2014 03:28 PM

                              It's far from not so well known, but I would include Union Square Cafe.

                              1. linguafood Feb 3, 2014 03:48 PM

                                Annisa. Fantastic and unusual, and not crazy expensive.

                                1. r
                                  RogueFoodie Feb 3, 2014 05:32 PM

                                  For modernist cuisine: Betony. Another option would be Tomato Rouge

                                  A great steakhouse is in the Financial District: Mark Joseph's. It's absolutely fantastic - though it has some typical steakhouse menu options, the preparation is unique.

                                  2 Replies
                                  1. re: RogueFoodie
                                    thegforceny Feb 3, 2014 05:54 PM

                                    It is Rouge Tomate

                                    1. re: thegforceny
                                      RogueFoodie Feb 3, 2014 05:59 PM

                                      Thanks for the catch - it's a bit unintuitive, so I usually miss it.

                                      Riverpark deserves more attention, too.

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