Eat Well, Do Good: Restaurants That Give Back

Help to fight hunger by dining out this fall
November 6, 2017
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by Zagat Staff

Serving New York City for 35 years, City Harvest is the world’s first food rescue organization, dedicated to helping feed New York City’s hungry men, women and children. This year, City Harvest will collect 59 million pounds of excess food from farms, grocers, restaurants, and manufacturers and distribute it free of charge to 500 soup kitchens, food pantries and community food programs throughout the five boroughs. The organization helps feed the nearly 1.3 million New Yorkers who face hunger every year thanks to generous individuals, businesses and organizations that include the following chefs and restaurants.

Le Bernardin
French · West 50s · $$$$
Food 4.9 · Decor 4.8 · Service 4.9

Prepare to dine on “a higher plane” at this “dazzling” Midtown “star” where Eric Ripert’s “world-class” tasting menus highlight “transcendent” French seafood, earning it No. 1 Food honors in NYC for the eighth year in a row; a “deep” wine list, “exemplary” staff and “soigné” surrounds further justify the “sky-high” tabs, so for a “dream-come-true” meal, this is “as good as it gets.”
The Lambs Club
American · West 40s · $$$
Food 4.3 · Decor 4.4 · Service 4.1

A “clubby sanctuary” , Geoffrey Zakarian’s art deco New American “stands out” in the Theater District with “swanky-in-red” decor and a “fabulous fireplace” setting the stage for “equally impressive” fare and “polished” service; it “nails” the “elegant throwback” feel, “but it’s not cheap.”
Landmarc
Brunch · West 50s · $$$
Food 3.9 · Decor 3.7 · Service 3.9

An “extensive” menu, “reliable” French-leaning fare and “big tables” make Marc Murphy’s “upbeat” TWC bistro “good for large groups” ; you’ll find “gorgeous views” and an after-work bar scene, but be warned: brunch is a “stroller-fest.”
Red Rooster
Southern American · Harlem · $$
Food 4.1 · Decor 4.0 · Service 4.0

“A scene to say the least” , Marcus Samuelsson's “electric” Harlem joint provides “delicious” Southern-accented American fare and “wow” cocktails with a side of “superb” people-watching; maybe it's “expensive for the neighborhood” , but nonetheless it's typically “packed” ; P.S. there's often live music downstairs at Ginny's Supper Club.
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.
Dinosaur Bar-B-Que
Barbecue · Gowanus · $$
Food 4.1 · Decor 3.5 · Service 3.7

“Funky” is the word on these “high-volume” smoke joints where the BBQ is “tender” and “juicy” , and the settings “loud, crowded” and “great for groups” ; they’re “welcoming to both bikers and families” alike, but be prepared for “hectic” atmospheres and “long lines.”
Oceana
Seafood · West 40s · $$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.3 · Service 4.4

“First-class” fish is the hook at this “fancy” Rock Center seafood spot, whose “huge” , “civilized” space includes a “lively” bar and a “pleasant” patio, all overseen by an “aim-to-please” crew; “expense-account” –ready prices have many reserving it for “entertaining clients” , though the pre-theater prix fixes are a comparative “bargain.”
Seamore's
Seafood · Little Italy · $$
Food 4.0 · Decor 4.0 · Service 3.9

Bringing a bit of the “Hamptons” to NYC, these “modern” fish shacks from Michael Chernow (The Meatball Shop) spotlight sustainable seafood served in “awesome” fish tacos and other “tasty” bites; the “light, airy” settings have a “beachy” feel, but because they're “super-trendy” , don’t be surprised when they're “noisy" ; P.S. look out for lots of rums at the Chelsea branch's downstairs bar.
Tribeca Grill
American · TriBeCa · $$$$
Food 4.3 · Decor 4.1 · Service 4.3

This “steady” TriBeCa “mainstay” from Drew Nieporent and Robert De Niro “remains a favorite” for “dependably good” (if “pricey” ) New American fare and a “sick wine list” ; the “warm” surrounds ensure “good people-watching” and the “attentive” staff makes you “feel at home.”
Dominique Ansel Bakery
Bakery · SoHo · $
Food 4.5 · Decor 3.5 · Service 3.5

Pastry chef “extraordinaire” Dominique Ansel and his “cult-status” Cronuts draw “crazy morning lines” to this SoHo “fantasy land of desserts” where you’ll also find other “transcendent innovations” plus “exceptional” French classics too; the counter crew can be “slow” and the “small” space gets “super-packed” , but if you head to the back garden, “it's like leaving the city.”
Marea
Italian · West 50s · $$$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.5 · Service 4.5

“Excellence abounds” at Michael White’s Italian “star” on Central Park South, where the “adventurous” seafood and “heavenly” housemade pastas “never fail to wow” ; the “impeccable” service matches the “sleek” , “convivial” setting – as well as the “power broker” prices (lunchtime set menus are a comparative “steal” ).
Momofuku Ko
American · East Village · $$$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.3 · Service 4.5

A “phenomenal experience” for an “open-minded foodie” , David Chang’s East Village “event” provides a “fascinating tour” of Asian-inspired American cuisine via “extraordinary” tasting menus crafted at a sleekly “comfortable” chef’s counter; the “steep” price tag is considered “well worth” it, so reservations are still as “tough” as “getting past heaven’s gates.”
Butcher Bar
Barbecue · Astoria · $$
Food 4.3 · Decor 3.9 · Service 4.0

“Melt-in-your-mouth” BBQ (including burnt ends “to die for” ) are the specialty of these smokehouse joints that source local, organic meats and butcher them in-house; the “roomy” , “welcoming” spaces feature plenty of “reclaimed wood” as well as a bar mixing Southern-accented cocktails.
Hecho En Dumbo
Mexican · NoHo · $$
Food 4.0 · Decor 3.4 · Service 3.5

A generally “innovative” take on Mexican cooking can be found at this NoHo hang where “elevated” small plates are paired with “amazing” margaritas; maybe it’s no longer the neighborhood “star” it once was, but it’s still “good for groups.”
Gabriel Kreuther
French · West 40s · $$$$
Food 4.8 · Decor 4.6 · Service 4.6

Prepare to be “wowed by” this French “standout” opposite Bryant Park, where chef Gabriel Kreuther produces “inspired” tasting menus with his signature “Alsatian twists” , served by a “seamless staff” in an “impressive” setting with “snazzy” “rustic” accents; though it’s “costly” , there’s also an à la carte bar menu if you’re “mindful of your pocketbook.”
Vandal
Spanish · Lower East Side · $$$
Food 4.3 · Decor 4.5 · Service 4.0

Earning an “A+ for creativity” , this “so cool” Lower Eastsider from the Tao Group and chef Chris Santos (Stanton Social) dispenses “elevated” global street fare offered tapas-style amid “stunning” murals (including one by Shepard Fairey); with a “secret entrance” and a downstairs DJ lounge, it’s got “hip” types “obsessed.”
Blue Hill
American · Greenwich Village · $$$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.4 · Service 4.6

A true “farm-to-table pioneer” , Dan Barber’s Village American “does a magnificent job” producing “unbelievably fresh and flavorful” American fare with “thoroughly satisfying” seasonal “integrity” ; set in a “lovely, calm” room run by an “especially caring” staff, it “isn’t cheap” but the performance is “worth repeat visits.”
Marc Forgione
American · TriBeCa · $$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.4 · Service 4.4

This TriBeCa “charmer” from “talented” Iron Chef Marc Forgione “excels in every way” with “superlative” New American cooking and “warm” , “knowledgeable” service in a “rustic” space with “romantic” vibes; it’s usually “mobbed” despite “platinum-card” pricing, so reservations are a foregone conclusion.
Olmsted
American · Prospect Heights · $$$

A chef with an all-star history (Per Se, Blue Hill at Stone Barns, Chicago’s Alinea) has teamed up with a farmer to open this Prospect Heights American drawing from super-local sources, including its own backyard garden. The woodsy interior brings nature inside with the beginnings of a live green wall, and has a chef’s counter for watching the action.
Untitled
American · Meatpacking District · $$$
Food 4.4 · Decor 4.0 · Service 4.1

Danny Meyer’s “sophisticated” New American in the Whitney Museum offers an “interesting” menu of “well-crafted” “farm-to-fork” bites in “arty” presentations befitting the location; the “airy” windowed space has an “unhurried” atmosphere, while outdoor seats make you feel part of the Meatpacking “scene.”
Grand Banks
Seafood · TriBeCa · $$
Food 4.4 · Decor 4.5 · Service 4.0

A swanky stop on the rosé and oyster summer circuit is this hangout on the deck of the historic F/V Sherman Zwicker boat docked at Pier 25, where you'll find craft cocktails, a handful of wines and small plates with a seafood focus.
Fusco
Italian · Flatiron · $$$

Chef-owner Scott Conant helms this elegant Gramercy Italian in the former Veritas space, emphasizing seasonal fare (including housemade pastas) in a white-tablecloth setting with tufted banquettes and crystal chandeliers. Along with cocktails, the bar is strong on Italian and French wines.
Butter
American · West 40s · $$$
Food 4.0 · Decor 4.1 · Service 4.0

This “upscale” Midtown New American from Alex Guarnaschelli offers “creatively prepared” dishes in a “striking” subterranean space; the “bustling” scene is “cool” for the area, even if it's a “business” crowd.
ATOBOY
Korean · NoMad

Sharing is the way to go at this NoMad Korean helmed by a Jungsik alum, where the affordable tasting menu provides a choice of small banchan dishes and rice. The understated space has mottled walls and rustic light-wood tables.
Asiate
Asian · West 50s · $$$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.8 · Service 4.5

“Elegant, calm” surroundings and “spectacular views” over Central Park make an “incomparable” backdrop for the “exquisite” New American cuisine at this “special-occasion” go-to “atop the Mandarin Oriental” ; the prices are equally “out of this world” (dinner is prix fixe–only), but “stellar” service helps take the sting out – and the 'express' lunch is a “steal.”
Aquavit
European · East 50s · $$$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.4 · Service 4.5

After more than 25 years, this “elegant, but low-key” Midtown “fixture” is still “pushing the envelope” , turning out “innovative” Scandinavian tasting menus of the “highest level” ; the “sleek” space is matched by “top-notch” service, and while prices are “steep” , sampling from its “huge” aquavit selection will have you thinking “you’re dining in Denmark.”
Épicerie Boulud
Breakfast · West 60s · $$
Food 4.1 · Decor 3.4 · Service 3.7

“Grab-and-go was never so delicious” say fans of Daniel Boulud's “high-class” counter-serve stops for “incredible” French pastries, “inventive” sandwiches and other “light meals” ; the Lincoln Center flagship includes a raw bar, and “prices are a bit steep” all around.
Ai Fiori
Breakfast · West 30s · $$$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.5 · Service 4.5

A “Michael White triumph” on the second floor of the Langham Place Fifth Avenue Hotel, this “classy” Italian delivers Riviera-inspired dishes, including “sublime” pastas, via a “polished, unobtrusive” crew; the “glamorous” setting feels “so magical” , you almost don’t mind the “astronomical” tab, especially if it’s a “special occasion.”
The Beatrice Inn
Steakhouse · West Village · $$$
Food 4.0 · Decor 4.1 · Service 4.0

This “grown-up” destination inhabits a storied West Village basement, where the New American fare is considered “good” enough, but it's the cocktails and clubby “mystique” that people “love” ; it's equally suited “for a group of friends or date night” , though plan on “upscale” pricing.