Best Restaurant Decor in NYC

October 25, 2016
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by Zagat Staff

Space might not be readily available in the Big Apple, but some restaurateurs do a lot with what they have. As a result, New Yorkers are spoiled with a plethora of breathtaking, beautiful restaurants. Here are our list of the top restaurants for decor in NYC.

Asiate
American · West 50s · $$$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.8 · Service 4.6

“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.”
Daniel
French · East 60s · $$$$
Food 4.8 · Decor 4.8 · Service 4.8

A “wow every time” , Daniel Boulud’s “luxurious” UES “icon” “sweeps you into another world” with “masterly” New French fare and a “rarefied atmosphere” defined by “magnificent” decor, “VIP” service and a “dressed-up” clientele (jackets are required); granted, the prix fixe–only tabs are “Himalayan” , but “you’ll understand why” – and the bar provides the “same stellar” quality à la carte.
Le Bernardin
Seafood · 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.”
Bouley at Home
Flatiron · $$$$

This multifaceted enterprise by David Bouley brings together dining and education, offering nine-course dinners – drawing on French and Asian traditions – at counters arranged around cooking stations, where chefs both prepare and serve the dishes. Designed with streamlined wooden cabinets, the setting has elements of a home kitchen, while also providing culinary classes and a bakery in the same space.
La Grenouille
French · East 50s · $$$$
Food 4.7 · Decor 4.8 · Service 4.7

Ever “intoxicating” , this Midtown “bastion” of “fine-dining nonpareil” remains a “top-tier” source of “fantastique” French classics and “exemplary service” in a “dressy” , jackets-required setting heightened by “stunning floral displays” ; the “steep tabs” are “not for the timid” , but the consistent “level of taste” makes you “feel special.”
The River Café
American · DUMBO · $$$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.8 · Service 4.6

“Is there a more beautiful setting in NYC?” swoon fans of this Dumbo waterfront “classic” whose “romantic” dining room offers “unbeatable” views of Manhattan, as well as a fairy-lit “Garden of Eden” just outside; “elegant” prix fixe–only American cuisine and “exceptional” service complete the “high-end” experience – for which an “expensive” price tag is “to be expected.”
Eleven Madison Park
Flatiron · $$$$
Food 4.7 · 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.”
Per Se
French · West 50s · $$$$
Food 4.6 · Decor 4.7 · Service 4.7

Thomas Keller’s Time Warner Center “high temple” of French–New American cuisine is “truly an event” given the “fabulous” tasting menu, “unimpeachable” service and “posh” , jackets-required surrounds overlooking Central Park; while the “through-the-roof” set price may limit visits to “once in a blue moon” , those of more limited means “love the à la carte option” in the lounge.
Jean-Georges
French · West 60s · $$$$
Food 4.8 · Decor 4.7 · Service 4.8

“Time after time” , Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s CPW flagship “lives up to its billing” with “exquisite” New French cuisine that “dazzles your palate” served “with balletlike precision” in “a serene, luxurious” setting that requires a jacket; it’ll cost a “king’s ransom” to settle the tab, but those “willing to splurge” can count on an “unforgettable” meal.
Rainbow Room
American · West 40s · $$$$
Food 4.3 · Decor 4.7 · Service 4.4

“The glamour of yesteryear” lives on at this “iconic” Rock Center supper club famed for its “incredible art deco room” and “stunning” 65th-floor views; now mostly hosting private events, it opens to the public for “opulent” Sunday brunch and dinner on select evenings ( “rob a bank” first) – or you can take in the “astonishing” vista from the weeknights-only bar, SixtyFive.
Del Posto
Italian · Chelsea · $$$$
Food 4.7 · Decor 4.7 · Service 4.7

“Hard to top” , this “magnifico” Chelsea Italian showcases the Batali-Bastianich “magic” with “inspired” cuisine and an “extraordinary” wine list in a “glamour palace” setting where “gracious” servers leave you “feeling totally pampered” ; just expect to “spend a whopping amount” , or try the lunch prix fixe for “a true bargain.”
Gabriel Kreuther
French · West 40s · $$$
Food 4.8 · Decor 4.7 · Service 4.7

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.”
The Grand Tier
American · West 60s · $$$$
Food 4.1 · Decor 4.7 · Service 4.4

Those long performance nights have a “delightful” prelude at this Lincoln Center New American, where the “tasty” if “limited” menu is served in a “dramatic” , chandeliered setting overlooking the Met foyer; tabs are “expensive” , but payoffs include “efficiency” and “dessert at intermission.”
Riverpark
New American · Murray Hill · $$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.7 · Service 4.5

“Out of the way and hard to find” , this “serene” hideaway in a Murray Hill office park offers Tom Colicchio’s “sophisticated” New American food showcasing “divine” seasonal dishes sourced from its own herb garden; the “special-occasion” pricing is offset by “inexpensive parking” and a “spectacular” East River view.
One if by Land, Two if by Sea
American · West Village · $$$$
Food 4.4 · Decor 4.7 · Service 4.4

“Steeped in history” and “romance” , this “historic” Village “rendezvous” set in Aaron Burr's former carriage house offers “excellent” American cuisine delivered by staffers who “take their job seriously” ; “mood-setting” touches – “candlelit rooms” , four fireplaces, a piano bar – distract from the “special occasion” –level tabs.
Tocqueville
French · Flatiron · $$$$
Food 4.8 · Decor 4.7 · Service 4.6

“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.”
Gotham Bar and Grill
New American · Greenwich Village · $$$$
Food 4.8 · Decor 4.7 · Service 4.7

“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.”
Vaucluse
French · East 60s · $$$
Food 4.4 · Decor 4.6 · Service 4.3

A “gorgeous” backdrop sets the “comfortably elegant” tone at Michael White’s “true UES” brasserie, where “delectable” French “classics” and the “fabulous” White Label Burger come via a “caring” staff; despite “occasionally jaw-dropping” tabs, the “grown-up” clientele declares it “a winner.”
Buddakan
Asian · Chelsea · $$$$
Food 4.4 · Decor 4.6 · Service 4.2

“Stunning” decor lends a “dark, sexy” backdrop to the “trendy” scene at Stephen Starr’s Chelsea multilevel “mega room” , a “bigger-than-life experience” where the “energetic” crowd is “blown away” by “flavorful” Asian dishes; just “bring earplugs” and sufficient funds to cover the “splurge.”
The Leopard at des Artistes
Southern Italian · West 60s · $$$
Food 4.3 · Decor 4.6 · Service 4.3

Hailed as a “worthy heir to Café des ­Artistes” , this Lincoln Center–area Italian occupies a “spiffed-up” space where Howard Chandler Christy’s “gorgeous” murals make it “hard to keep your eyes” on the “lovingly prepared” plates; it’ll “stretch your budget” , but the “Hermès” -clad crowd hardly blinks.