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NYC Travel Guide: Eat out With Zagat, Eat in With Jetsetter

By Kelly Dobkin
March 17, 2014
Photo by: Evan Sung

Whether you're dining in or eating out, experience NYC like a local with this handy guide to the Big Apple, presented in partnership with Jetsetter. Below, you'll find seven hotel destinations that offer their own exciting and unique dining options for eating in (many available for room service), which are thoughtfully curated by Jetsetter. Then let Zagat fill you in on where to eat out near our hotel during your stay. From exotic bites to late-night cocktails, check out our guide to Uptown, Midtown, Downtown and Brooklyn below.

And for more NYC-focused lists that include many of these destinations, click here.

-By Kelly Dobkin and Nikki Ridgway (Jetsetter)

  • Photo by: East Pole

    UPTOWN

    The Upper East Side: The Surrey

    Eat in: Housed in an elegant Beaux-Arts mansion, the Surrey feels like an art lover’s Upper East Side pied-a-terre, just a short stroll from Museum Mile. Designed by Lauren Rottet in a Coco Chanel-inspired monochrome palette, public spaces are adorned with original artworks by Richard Serra, Mel Bochner and more, and enormous salons and suites (no simple “guestrooms” ici) have upscale embellishments like hand-painted wardrobes, deep-soaking tubs, fireplaces and private balconies. Downstairs in his namesake cafe, chef Daniel Boulud oversees a menu that’s governed by classic French cooking, seasonal ingredients and flavors from around the world. Settle in for a long brunch on Sunday (available until 3 PM) or get your drinks order in at Art Deco Bar Pleiades before the 1930s jazz evening each Friday.

    Eat out: Start your day with the power breakfast crowd at Sant Ambroeus at the newly renovated Loews Regency, a favorite of local politicos. Or, for a slightly more affordable option, head to the attached Sant Ambroeus Cafe for an Italian pastry and steaming hot latte. For lunch, venture east to Park Ave. and try the iconic burger at classic spot J.G. Melon. Experience the younger, hipper UES at gastropub The Penrose for a low-key dinner or the swanky East Pole for a veggie-focused feast. Finish with a drink at brand-new The Gilroy nearby, or back on Madison, at the iconic Cafe Carlyle.

  • Columbus Circle/UWS: Trump International Hotel

    Eat in: Occupying some of the most envied real estate in NYC, the Trump International Hotel lives up to its 1 Central Park West address in a showy mix of marble, crystal and gold, fawning service and rare views across Central Park. Most of the 167 rooms and suites have full kitchens that can be stocked in advance, but with one of NYC’s best restaurants a few floors below, there is little reason to break out the silverware. Jean Georges, named for proprietor/chef Vongerichten, which dishes up haute nouveau French fare given an Indochinese twist - think Santa Barbara sea urchins with yuzu, peekytoe crab dumplings and crispy confit of suckling pig. Understated it isn’t, but you can snag the same quality cuisine and a less-formal setting at Nougatine (a distinctive space between the windows and show kitchen within Jean Georges) or on the summer terrace. Or simply retire to bed early and splurge on some top-rated room service.

    Eat out: Start your day with a cup of joe from FIKA while you explore nearby Central Park or MoMa. Slightly east of Columbus Circle you'll find newcomer Betony, a must-visit for cocktails and modernist-inspired cuisine. There’s no discounting the array of dining experiences to be had at the nearby Time Warner Center, including the iconic Per Se, the relaxed bistro fare at Landmarc or the meat-focused Porterhouse NY. Next door at the Mandarin Oriental enjoy stunning park views at Asiate, or a casual meal at The Smith. For Italian-inspired options, head to Marea or Lincoln Ristorante.

  • MIDTOWN

    Midtown East: New York Palace

    Eat in: Once the gilded 19th-century manse of railroad baron Henry Villard, the Palace lives up to its name with an Italianate courtyard filled with topiaries leading to a grand marble staircase with gilded filigree. The look in the sun-drenched rooms is decidedly more understated with a palette of white, cream and dusty rose and muted brocade textiles on pillowy beds. Start your day with an espresso and an éclair from the jewel-box bakery, toast a successful spot of sightseeing amid the hand-carved walls and barrel-vaulted ceiling of the Tavern on 51 bar, then settle in for an elegant eight-course tasting menu courtesy of legendary French chef Michel Richard at the new Villard restaurant.

    Eat out: Start your day with coffee from the Australian-inspired Little Collins, followed by a classic NY breakfast (bagel and lox) from the iconic Ess-A-Bagel. For lunch, explore the options at Plaza Food Hall, located beneath the famed Plaza Hotel, where you'll find lobster rolls, sandwiches, sushi and more. For dinner, a number of classic spots are nearby including Eric Ripert's top-rated Le Bernardin and Nordic-inspired Aquavit, or try the more recent additions like Rotisserie Georgette and inventive Asian-inflected American (including killer pork buns) at David Chang's Ma Peche

  • NoMad: Ace New York Hotel 

    Eat in: Two blocks east of Penn Station, the Ace Hotel has a lower Midtown address but a vibe that’s pure Downtown. Vintage furniture and flea market finds fill the lobby, while upstairs, petite guestrooms are brightened with wall murals, tartan bedding and quirky extras like record players and SMEG mini fridges. Begin your hotel eat-a-thon with a morning caffeine fix and pastry at Stumptown Coffee, then grab a seat at one of the communal tables for a gut-busting sandwich from No. 7 Sub. Get your name on the list early for a meal at April Bloomfield’s knockout gastropub, The Breslin, or pull up a stool at the raw counter of the next-door John Dory Oyster Bar and splurge on platters of littleneck clams, oysters and more. Post-dinner, claim your corner of the cavernous lobby bar, order a small-batch brew, and engage in some of the best people-watching in NYC.

    Eat out: With so many great options inside the Ace itself, you may find no reason to leave. But a short jaunt north and east will take you into the heart of Koreatown where you can enjoy top-floor views at upscale Korean eatery Gaonnuri. On a sunny day, you'll want to head south to Madison Square Park to check out the Lebanese-inspired fare at Ilili Box (post-April) or get in line for a Shake Shack burger and a concrete. Eataly's shops and restaurants will keep you busy shopping and eating. Just south of the Ace, enjoy Southern-inspired New American at Maysville for dinner or venture over to Park Avenue to check out newcomer General Assembly or score a cocktail at the Gansevoort Park Avenue rooftop. Finish off any night with a drink at The Library Bar at the nearby NoMad Hotel.

  • DOWNTOWN

    SoHo: Mercer Hotel

    Eat in: SoHo’s game-changing hip hotel, The Mercer, opened on its namesake block in 1998 and continues to attract a creative, downtown crowd today. The open lobby feels more like a friend’s living room than check-in area, with oversized leather sofas, bookshelves stacked with artsy tomes and magazines, and whitewashed brick walls. The 75 rooms echo this cozy hallmark thanks to generous square footage (rare in this downtown ‘hood), designer Christian Liaigre's industrial but intimate all-white style and huge picture windows overlooking SoHo’s busy streets. Hideout en casa and get acquainted with the 24-hour room-service menu that’s supplied by The Mercer Kitchen below, but reserve at least one night for a meal at the two-floor, 200-person restaurant. Executive chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten works his magic on the seasonal ingredients, serving up American Provençal fare in the open-concept dining room where family-style long tables cement the Mercer’s home-away-from-home vibe.

    Eat out: SoHo is stacked with classic NYC eateries and newcomers that are quickly on their way to becoming classics themselves. Newcomer Navy offers seafood and veggie-focused fare from Top Chef alum Camille Becerra, or try the innovative Thai cuisine from Per Se vets at Uncle Boons. For lunch, longtime fixture Balthazar will transport you to Paris with its bistro-inspired fare and elegant design, or check out the lunch counter at Parm for updated takes on red-sauce classics. Trendy West SoHo spot Charlie Bird is perpetually packed for its Italian and American fare from Jay-Z and Beyonce's personal chef, and Rubirosa is a go-to for pizza, Italian and wine in a pinch. The steak tartare and mussels escabeche at Ignacio Mattos' Estela are also not to be missed.

  • Photo by: Michael Harlan Turkell

    The Standard East Village

    Eat in: Recently revamped by hotel design supremo Andre Balazs, the Standard East Village 2.0 gave new polish to the handsome, minimalist guestrooms (the knockout city views remain unchanged) and revived the public spaces with a newly compact lobby, late-night sidewalk bistro and deservedly hyped farm-to-table restaurant, Narcissa. Bookend your day at Café Standard, first over eggs and a fresh smoothie in a corner banquette at breakfast, then with signature cocktails and hearty all American bar snacks after hours; closing time is 2 AM on weekdays, 4 AM on Friday and Saturday. For a more formal foodie scene, head across the open hallway to Narcissa - so named for a beloved cow from Balazs’ Rhinebeck farm - where chef John Fraser helms the burners. Dishes are farm fresh and New American, and you can request a stool at the chef’s table and watch the skilled chefs at work.

    Eat out: The East Village is a foodie destination for just about any exotic cuisine you're craving. Ramen import Ippudo NY serves some of the best bowls in the city (if you're willing to wait for it). Other solid options include down-home BBQ at Mighty Quinn's, modern-inspired Mexican at Empellon Cocina. gutsy takes on bar food at Alder or Korean-inspired fare at classic Momofuku Ssam Bar. For drinks, head to Pouring Ribbons or Death & Co. (you'll need a reservation for the latter), or go low-key at The Lobby Bar at Bowery Hotel. Finish off an evening of revelry with late-night pierogi at Veselka.

  • Photo by: Alden Gewirtz

    BROOKLYN

    Williamsburg: King & Grove Williamsburg

    Eat in: With a heart-of-the-action locale near McCarren Park and Bedford Avenue, party-loving King & Grove Williamsburg is all modern glass and steel from the outside, but interiors favor a textured 1970s look, with mirrored walls, a white oak and blonde palette, and floor-to-ceiling windows in guestrooms. Corton alum Paul Liebrandt is the master chef behind The Elm, the hotel’s fine-dining hot spot that puts the emphasis on fresh ingredients from the land and sea, prepared raw or made for sharing. Meat lovers should split the signature pork belly with savoy cabbage. Opened in summer 2013, it attracts a mix of guests and locals who occupy the tobacco-colored leather banquettes, bar stools and seats at the chef’s counter before retiring to the rooftop bar or seasonal outdoor pool.

    Eat out: Start out your Williamsburg adventure with cocktails and oysters at the atmospheric Hotel Delmano (note: not an actual hotel). On Saturdays, Smorgasburg on the East River is essential for samplings of unique local fare. Stroll through McCarren Park and grab lunch at neighborhood favorite, Five Leaves. For dinner, the offerings at Reynard in the Wythe Hotel are can't-miss. Follow up with a cocktail at the hotel's rooftop bar, The Ides, or nearby St. Mazie. Venture north to Greenpoint to visit craft beer destination Torst and its attached new Nordic eatery, Luksus. Or for something more casual, check out newcomer El Born for tapas.

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