Best Restaurants in Union Square/Flatiron

April 3, 2018
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by Zagat Staff

In New York, all roads lead to Union Square/Flatiron. Or at least, a lot of subways do - and that means you likely eat a lot of meals in this area. Here’s where to get the best of them, whether you’re planning a date, group dinner, or just want something casual.

Gotham Bar and Grill
Greenwich Village · $$$$
Food 4.8 · Decor 4.6 · Service 4.6

“Longevity tells it all” at this circa-1984 Village “treasure” where Alfred Portale’s “picture-perfect” New American plates plus “savvy service” and a “gothamy” setting add up to “superior dining with no corners cut” ; longtime fans are “glad to pay the tariff” for an experience that “refuses to disappoint” , and the $38 greenmarket lunch “truly is a steal.”
Manzo
Italian · Flatiron · $$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.5 · Service 3.9

A “walled-off oasis” amid the “flurry of Eataly” , this full-service Italian steakhouse within the Batali-Bastianich food hall shows a “nice range” with “terrific” chops bolstered by “excellent” pastas and an “extensive wine list” ; the venue’s upmarket pricing carries over, but most report being “well fed” for the money.
Maialino
Italian · Gramercy Park · $$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.4 · Service 4.4

“Danny Meyer does things right, as usual” at this “love song to Rome” overlooking Gramercy Park, where “sublime” farm-to-table Italian fare and “stellar wines” come in “delightful” , “buzzing” digs via a “welcoming” pro staff; scoring a reservation can be “challenging” (though the “bustling” front bar welcomes “drop-ins” ), and while prices run “high” , at least “the tip is included.”
Shuko
Greenwich Village · $$$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.4 · Service 4.4

This “tiny” , “special-occasion” Village Japanese limits itself to “phenomenal omakase” , providing either “top-tier” sushi or traditional kaiseki spreads at a “transporting” bar that takes diners “straight to Tokyo” ; options starting at $135 mean “it ain’t cheap” , but the payoff is a real “wow experience.”
Novitá
Gramercy Park · $$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.7 · Service 4.1

A true neighborhood “standby” , this longtime Gramercy Northern Italian offers a “top-notch” menu dispatched by an “attentive” staff; despite “small” dimensions and “shoehorned” seating, the “crowds still come” , drawn by the “pleasant” atmosphere.
ABC Kitchen
Flatiron · $$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.4 · Service 4.3

Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s “hip” Flatiron “winner” “still delivers” with “original” , “all-around delicious” American cooking ordered from a “sophisticated” farm-to-table menu; a “stylish” , “airy” space further justifies the “spendy” tabs – and the “challenge to get a reservation.”
Craft
Flatiron · $$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.4 · Service 4.5

“Still inventive, still exciting” , this “grown-up” Flatiron American from Top Chef star Tom Colicchio offers “simply yet expertly prepared” food that’s “perfect for group sharing” , served in “warm, modern” digs by a “terrific” team; though the “one-percenter” pricing suggests “special occasions” , it’s a “worthy splurge” at any time.
Tocqueville
French · Flatiron · $$$$
Food 4.8 · Decor 4.6 · Service 4.5

“Sophisticated” dining “to be savored” awaits at this “top-of-the-line” Flatiron “oasis” , where chef Marco Moreira’s “knockout” French–New American plates pair with a “wine list that dazzles” in a “pristine” “adult” setting; it runs “expensive, of course” , but that makes a $29 prix fixe lunch even more of “a steal.”
Gramercy Tavern
American · Flatiron · $$$$
Food 4.8 · Decor 4.5 · Service 4.6

You can rely on “top-class” dining with “no gimmicks” at Danny Meyer’s enduring Flatiron New American, where chef Michael Anthony’s “outstanding” set menus are presented by “eminently suave” staffers in an “upscale-country” dining room arrayed with “gorgeous” flower displays; it’s “not cheap by any means” , though the front tavern offers a “reasonable” à la carte menu in a “colorful” walk-in setting; P.S. gratuity is now built into menu prices.
Eleven Madison Park
Flatiron · $$$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.8 · Service 4.8

“Brilliant as ever” , Daniel Humm’s New American “knockout” on Madison Square Park is “a total indulgence” where a “spectacular” tasting menu with pairings from a “massive” wine list provides a “culinary adventure” that’s “expertly” served in a “magnificent” art deco space; the “jumbo bill” is a given, but “throw the budget out the window” “you can’t afford to miss this place.”
15 East
Japanese · Union Square · $$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.1 · Service 4.4

“Inventive” preparations and “top-quality” fish result in “sublime” sushi at this “classy” Union Square Japanese also known for its wide sake selection; “personable” service and a “serene” , “minimalist” setting up its appeal for “adult dinners” , though the tabs have some saving it for “big occasions.”
Aldea
Flatiron · $$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.1 · Service 4.4

George Mendes’ “superb, creative twists” on Mediterranean cuisine come in “chic” , “grown-up” confines at this Flatiron “gem” , where sitting at the kitchen-facing counter makes for a “really fun” meal; “attentive” service is another plus, so while “expensive” , it's a “true dining pleasure” .
Ribalta
Italian · Greenwich Village · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.7 · Service 4.0

A “true Italian experience” , this “under-the-radar” Villager is “totally committed” to producing “authentic Neapolitan” pizza and other “high-quality” specialties from the Napoli region; run by a “helpful” crew, the “modern” , high-ceilinged space is at its most “vibrant” during “giant-screen soccer-watching.”
abcV
Vegetarian · Flatiron · $$

Jean-Georges Vongerichten goes vegan at his latest venture with ABC Carpet & Home, serving plates based on market veggies, noodles and grains, plus items like dosas and pancakes for breakfast. Banquettes made with handwoven Andean textiles lend warmth to the light-hued space, where there’s also a standing central bar for cold-pressed juices, tonics and kombucha, along with cocktails and biodynamic wines.
Nur
Flatiron · $$$

From Turkey to Israel to Palestine, this Flatiron Middle Eastern puts a contemporary spin on the flavors of the region, serving small plates and larger dishes to share, along with fragrant breads and desserts. Tiled floors, warm lighting and a marble bar set the mood for dinner and drinks.
ABC Cocina
Mexican · Flatiron · $$$
Food 4.4 · Decor 4.3 · Service 4.1

“Complex flavors” elevate the “imaginative” tapas at Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s “high-energy” Pan-Latin standout in ABC Carpet & Home, where the “beautiful” (if “noisy” ) setting is the backdrop for a “cool scene” ; reservations can be “hard to get” , but walk-ins can always pass the wait time “downing delicious drinks” at the bar.
Strip House
Steakhouse · Greenwich Village · $$$
Food 4.4 · Decor 4.1 · Service 4.3

“Sultry” , red-velvet decor provides the backdrop for “off-the-charts delicious” beef and “amazing” sides at these “sexy” steakhouses where “expertly mixed” cocktails help fuel an “animated crowd” ; you’ll need a “fat wallet” , but service is “attentive” , and it all makes for one “darn good” meal.
Daily Provisions
Gramercy Park · $

The bakery/cafe gets the Danny Meyer treatment at this Gramercy spot serving coffee, pastries and breakfast sandwiches and gougères in the morning, leading into lunchtime sandwiches and salads, and then rotisserie chicken starting at 3 PM. The compact space, accented with deep blue inside and out, also offers a few beers and wines, plus kombucha on tap, while loaves of bread are an all-day draw.
Babu Ji
Indian · Greenwich Village · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.7 · Service 4.1

“Full of excellent surprises” , this “hoppin’” Australian import in the Village features “transformative” modern takes on Indian staples – including an “incredible” tasting menu – chased with suds from the self-serve beer fridge; relocated to a new space, it’s a “popular” choice where frequent “waits” are the norm.
BLT Prime
Gramercy Park · $$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.3 · Service 4.3

“Perfectly marbled” prime cuts and “puffy” popovers are the big draws at this Gramercy steakhouse whose bi-level “modern” space comes “without the macho” ; “well-made” classic cocktails and “friendly” servers add further appeal – fans just “wish it were cheaper.”
Union Square Cafe
Brunch · Gramercy Park · $$$

After relocating from its original digs of 30 years, this Danny Meyer groundbreaker (his first restaurant) is back with a similar New American menu, which includes old favorites alongside new choices; the Park Avenue South space is bigger but retains a familiar warmth, and gratuity is built into menu prices.
SUGARFISH by sushi nozawa
Flatiron · $$$

From LA sushi chef Kazunori Nozawa comes this Flatiron instant hit offering a simple menu showcasing high-quality fish, including both à la carte and omakase options. Packed from day one, the elongated space is designed with exposed-brick walls and deeply grained woods.
Cote Korean Steakhouse
Flatiron · $$$$

Dry-aged steaks are the focus of this upscale Korean chophouse from owner Simon Kim (Piora), where guests cook the meat over in-table grills and can go for the prix fixe option of the Butcher’s Feast, rounded out with lots of sides and ice cream at the end. The group-friendly setting is accented with dark tones and light woods, and has a central marble bar.
Cosme
Mexican · Flatiron · $$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.0 · Service 4.1

“Creative, brilliant” contemporary Mexican cuisine from chef Enrique Olvera comes in “chic” , “modern” quarters at this “über-trendy” Flatiron “scene” ; you’ll “spend a bundle” – assuming you score a “hard-to-come-by” reservation – and the “quintessentially ‘buzzy’ room” gets “loud” , but most hardly notice after an “original, delicious” cocktail or two.