Midtown East Hot Dining Spots NYC
With the return of indoor dining to NYC, you can expect to feel safe and secure when dining out.
Restaurant owners and staff are all happy to welcome you and are doing their best to adhere to the City's Covid protocols from health checks on the servers and cooks to proper sanitizing procedures and,of course, social distancing.
So, please do not hesitate to return and see what's new at an old favorite. Or, explore your neighborhood and discover a new go-to date night or brunch spot.
The city is your oyster. There are so many diverse restaurants to choose from.
The area around Midtown East is filled with enticing culinary options so let's get started on our tour of the neighborhood.
Avra Estiatorio - Midtown East
This modern Greek seafood restaurant has long enjoyed a well-deserved reputation as one of the best places to dine in all Manhattan.
Beloved by locals who work and/or live in the neighborhood, Avra Estiatorio has kicked things into high gear, despite the ongoing pandemic.
With socially distanced tables, both in their dining room and beautiful outdoor space, which resembles the courtyard of a villa on the Greek Islands, you will feel quite safe here.
And, there is always plenty of hand sanitizer discreetly placed around the premises. Covid protocols are well-respected.
Rest assured, the time that you spend here will be a joyous escape; a mini-vacation in Greece, if you will!
In the main dining room, you will be greeted by a variety of intriguing decor elements such as imported limestone, distressed wood floors, stone-washed walls and exposed wood beams.
An impressive set of ornate French doors leads out to the charming and romantic courtyard.
Watch the chefs at work in the magnificent open kitchen as they slice, dice and fillet; their hands working as deftly as a magician.
Sit back with your friends and family and indulge. You deserve it. An important part of the Mediterranean dining experience is meze or small plates.
The appetizer-sized calamari is grilled to perfection. What makes the calamari even better is the fact that they are stuffed with, not one, but three delectable Greek kinds of cheese.
The superb and hearty fish and vegetable soup will instantly transport you to the sun-splashed Mediterranean as will the heavenly Ouzo mussels. These delectable morsels are steamed and then dressed with ripe tomatoes, anise, herbs and feta.
You should also check out the roasted beets. This tasty yet underappreciated veggie is marinated in a citrus-infused olive oil and the beets come with a side of garlic almond puree.
Just about everything on Avra's menu has something to recommend it. But, they are celebrated for their seafood and rightly so.
Freshly caught whole fish is flown in daily from Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Florida.
Your fish is sold by the pound at market price and is charcoal grilled with some olive oil, lemon juice and a dash of sea salt. That's all this flavorful catch of the sea needs.
Whatever you're in the mood for, Black Sea Bass, Pompano, Bronzino, Royal Dorado, or White Snapper; the kitchen has got you covered.
One of the chef's must-try entrees is Youvetsi, a tantalizing dish comprised of shrimps, scallops, clams and mussels, all in a broth of tomatoes, fish stock and herbs with a mound of orzo pasta and melted feta. Yum-Yum!
Another entree of interest is the Sea Bass Plaki. The fish is oven-baked and comes with herb-covered potatoes and Vidalia onions.
Don't pass up the chance to try Avra's grilled jumbo shrimp, which comes with a savory eggplant and potato Mousaka.
Location and Hours
141 East 48th Street
New York, N.Y. 10017
Monday to Saturday 12 PM to 10 PM
Sunday 12 PM to 9 PM
Aretsky's Patroon - Midtown East
There is a distinct old-world steakhouse feel to this upscale restaurant which is set in a handsome townhouse that used to be the home of the legendary New York eatery Christ Cella, which opened its' doors way back in 1923.
However, unlike most steakhouses, which tend to be rather nondescript in decor, catering to the business-suit crowd; Aretskys' Patroon has a personality all of its' own.
And, the restaurants' large dining room and spectacular rooftop space are the perfect setting for a romantic date night or getting together with friends after your workday is done.
Enjoy an appetizer and cocktail on the sexy rooftop, an oasis of al fresco dining
in Midtown East.
The decor is modern and urbane, with a striking zinc bar and teak paneling, with tables safely spaced six feet apart.
The interior of Aretskys' is just as welcoming. Upon entering the premises you'll get your temperature checked and you'll see the bus staff constantly busy wiping down surfaces.
Lined with ornate leather banquettes, this elegant room is decorated with a finely curated collection of black and white photographs going back to the turn of the century. The visual drama is courtesy of such noted photographers as Neil Leifer, William Klein, Loomis Deans and Charles Hoff.
By the way, if you're wondering and we know you are; the word patroon is derived from the era when the Dutch originally settled New York or as they called it, New Amsterdam. Patroon means "genteel landowner".
Located within walking distance of Grand Central Terminal and the United Nations, Aretskys' Patroon is a beacon of understated sophistication that attracts people from all walks of life, including the city's movers and shakers.
With more and more people returning to their offices, local business people have once again embraced Aretskys for lunch meetings.
Among the kitchens' array of tempting appetizers, you would do well to try the baby lettuce and herb salad with Manchego cheese, lemon juice and EVOO, the crab cake sliders topped with bacon and an outstanding tarragon aioli and the tuna tartare.
We told you that this wasn't the run-of-the-mill steakhouse fare.
As far as entrees go you can choose to go with one of their delicious fish offerings, with the grilled Atlantic Salmon, (with a side of Quinoa, lemon yogurt and a fresh tomato vinaigrette dressing) or the prime dry-aged burger that's topped with sauteed onions and roasted tomato, with all its' ripe juices oozing forth over your burger.
Have no fear, though. If it's a nice succulent steak that you're craving, Aretskys' Patroon has the very best cuts of beef.
You can order a 35 day, dry-aged prime sirloin that comes with a positively
addicting tamarind sauce. Or indulge those meat cravings with the filet mignon with Pommes Anna and a delectable Au Poivre sauce.
The dessert to have here is the authentic, new Orleans-style Beignets that are made with the kitchens' own special twist......hot fudge and creme Anglaise is added for your particular pleasure.
The team here never misses a beat. From the hosts and wait staff to the chefs, Aretskys' Patroon consistently elevates every day to the extraordinary.
Location and Hours
160 East 46th Street
New York, N.Y. 10017
Monday to Friday 11:45 AM to 10 PM
Saturday and Sunday Closed
La Pecora Bianca - Midtown East
One of the nicest spaces in Midtown, the dining room at La Pecora Bianca
is bright and airy with a warm and welcoming vibe.
You just can't help but smile when you walk through the doors. The servers are genuinely appreciative that you're dining with them, spoiling you to no end.
Hey, this kind of experience sure beats another night at the apartment sweating over a hot stove when you are already tired after putting in a full day on the job or guiding the kids through yet another virtual classroom session and homework.
The staff is, of course, well-versed in the latest Covid-19 safety protocols.
Everyone who works at the restaurant gets a daily temperature check the moment that they arrive. Face coverings are mandatory for all. And, you will be ordering off a single-use menu. No worries about other people who have already touched it.
All you need to think about is what delectable dish you will order.
There's a ton of good stuff to choose from. All pasta is made in-house. You can also add some creamy Burrata to any pasta dish for the nominal charge of six dollars. Gluten-free pasta is available upon request.
Signature pasta temptations include the Gramigna, a cute, curly shaped pasta that comes with house-made savory sausage, broccolini and chili flakes.
A classic tagliatelle pasta arrives at your table piping hot and covered in thick pork and beef Bolognese sauce. The rigatoni in vodka sauce is absolutely divine.
Nothing goes better with a bowl of pasta than a crisp, fresh salad. There are several excellent options to choose from on the menu. However, most regulars agree that the Toscano is something quite special.
This plate full of goodness consists of Tuscan kale, baby carrots, ricotta cheese and Parmesan dusted breadcrumbs.
The kitchen offers quite a few non-pasta options such as the slow-roasted pork chop, which is sided up with peperonata potatoes and a luscious grape mostarda.
Wash it all down with a nice, relaxing glass of wine or a cocktail. Locals rave about the slightly spicy Limoncello Margarita and the Rosato Negroni, a blend of gin, Lillet Rosa, Campari and grapefruit juice.
Actually dining here is an experience not to be missed. But, there are some days when you simply want to crash and watch Netflix.
So, don't hesitate to take advantage of La Pecora Bianca's date night at-home delivery packages.
With the Rose' Kinda Day option, you and your significant other will receive any two kinds of pasta of your choice plus a bottle of the house rose'.
The Negroni Rigatoni Repeat package gets you any two kinds of pasta from their extensive menu as well as a bottled Negroni cocktail.
For those home cooks out there, the restaurant offers an option whereby you can make your dinner from scratch in just a few, easy steps.
The Professional meal kit has all the pre-measured ingredients you will need to whip up a delicious pasta and sauce dinner. What could be more fun than working with your love in the kitchen, making dinner together, between sips of wine?
Location and Hours
950 Second Avenue
New York, N.Y. 10022
Monday to Thursday 11:30 AM to 10 PM
Friday 11:30 AM to 11:30 PM
Saturday 11 AM to 10:30 PM
Sunday 11 AM to 9 PM
Crave Fishbar - Midtown East
Executive chef and managing partner Todd Mitgang brings innovative seafood-forward dining and a whimsical, fun atmosphere to Midtown with his latest venture, Crave Fish Bar.
A sleek and sexy version of a Montauk, Long Island seafood shack, Crave Fishbar has a large dining room and also offers heated sidewalk cafe-style seating. But, the most coveted space is the balcony that overlooks Second Avenue.
There is no better spot to be found for a romantic rendezvous, than the cozy balcony. There is still something magical about the New York skyline, aglow with light, as the sun sets.
You will enjoy peace of mind when you know that keeping you safe during this pandemic is an integral part of Crave's hospitality. You are, after all, an honored guest and the customer's well-being is paramount.
Safety protocols include tables being spaced six feet apart. When that's not possible, you'll find plexiglass dividers set up between tables.
Hand sanitizer is available in touchless dispensers throughout the restaurant.
You can also view the menu, order and pay for your meal entirely on your phone. And, you'll be happy to know that, after they close their doors, the entire premises are deep cleaned and disinfected every night.
Make a trip to Crave Fishbar part of your weekend plans. Currently, they have an $18 Drink Like a Fish ninety-minute bottomless brunch special, which is available with the purchase of any brunch entree.
Chef Todd Mitgang brings bold flavors and an unusual blend of ingredients to his seafood creations.
For an appetizer, why not try the Nashville-style crispy fish tacos. It's hot but not overpoweringly so. The cabbage, cilantro and buttermilk dressing definitely helps to offset the spice factor.
Chef Todd's hand-made squid ink spaghetti with chopped shrimp, garlic and Fresno chili is lovingly bathed in a delectable clam stock. Make sure that you have enough bread on hand to soak up these succulent juices.
Most seafood places do some kind of Maine lobster roll. Todd and his crew, though, do one of the very best versions of this traditional comfort dish.
Accompanied by hand-cut fries, the lobster roll is dressed with warm butter and a " can't get enough of this " avocado and garlic aioli.
Another noteworthy dish is the grilled Faroe Islands salmon. Dressed with a superb sun-dried tomato pesto the salmon comes with farro and roasted eggplant.
Tasty sides range from garlic, egg and chive griddled rice to brussels sprouts in a chorizo vinaigrette.
At Crave Fishbar, though, it is always a good idea to save some room for dessert. The sweet treats here are nothing short of spectacular.
Let's start with the scrumptious Bourbon Pear Poundcake, which consists of a to die for pear custard, bourbon cranberry jam, cinnamon, almonds and a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
The chef's Carrot Cake is like no other, with a cream cheese mousse, local honey and roasted walnuts.
Also on offer is a milk chocolate and peanut butter cake that's topped with honeycomb and honey ice cream.
Location and Hours
945 Second Avenue
New York, N.Y. 10022
Monday and Tuesday Closed
Wednesday-Friday 4 PM to 10 PM
Saturday 11:30 AM to 10 PM
Sunday 11:30 AM to 9 PM
Naya - Midtown East
The futuristic, all-white environs of this Lebanese-Mediterranean restaurant are truly a sight to behold.
Designed by Michel Abboud of SOMA Architects, Naya has a very cool and chic lounge atmosphere with an edgy Blade Runner feel. One almost expects a young Harrison Ford and Rutger Hauer to come out of the kitchen and welcome you.
All kidding aside, though, this is a place that is well worth checking out even if you don't live in the immediate neighborhood.
Lebanese cuisine is all about three things; fresh meats, veggies and char-grilling.
The chefs do things right here; honoring the recipes created over generations by Lebanese moms and grandmothers, while adding creative touches of their own.
In early October, Naya re-opened for indoor dining at a limited capacity. So, be sure to make those reservations and score a cozy booth for your dinner. By the way, plexiglass dividers provide a nice measure of both privacy and safety.
As in Greek, Spanish and Italian cuisine, Mezze (small plates) are the focus
as far as an authentic Lebanese dining experience goes.
There is a plentiful selection of dips available, all served with warm pita bread. The Hummus Lahme' is topped with diced sirloin of beef. The Muhammara is a spicy and creamy red pepper dip with walnuts and pomegranate molasses.
One of the more unusual, but tasty dishes, is the Pumpkin Kibbe'. You will delight in a pumpkin and bulgur "pastry" shell that's stuffed with chickpeas, spinach and Swiss Chard.
Cooked in a light and flavorful red sauce, the Duo of Eggplant is filled with rice, onions, tomatoes and parsley.
Another fantastic vegetarian option is the slow-cooked artichoke hearts with vermicelli.
But, you really cannot go to an authentic Lebanese restaurant without trying a meat dish.
You will never run out of enticing choices here. One of their more inventive dishes is the Kibbe' Labniye', which consists of beef dumplings with pine nuts and cilantro, cooked in a yogurt sauce.
Charbroiled and succulent is the Kofta Kebob; patties of ground lamb that are served with rice and grilled veggies.
If you're really hungry, then go for the mixed grill option which features a little of each of their chicken and beef offerings.
A can't-miss dish is the Samke' Harra; broiled Branzino that's topped with walnuts, pine nuts and a slightly spicy Tahini sauce.
Location and Hours
1057 Second Avenue
New York, N.Y. 10022
Monday to Friday 5 PM to 9:30 PM
Saturday 12:30 PM to 9:30 PM
Sunday 12:30 PM to 8:30 PM