Soho, Meatpacking and the LES land them by far, so you may as well enroll in the points program at the W Union Square or camp out on a lounge poolside lounge chair at the Gansevoort to get to your favorites by foot each time you hit the city.
No, Gemma Ward did not suddenly start eating enough to interest herself in opening a top-notch Italian eatery smack dab in the middle of supermodel central ... this unseeming restaurant has become the vedette of Manhattan's Bowery Hotel. Gemma serves up rich dishes so beautifully set (hint: white truffle sauce atop your choice of carpaccio) you'd swear they just came swanking off a runway in Milan.
Mercer's Kitchen by Jean-Georges Vongerichten | 147 Mercer St | NYC | 212-966-5454
The library lobby of the Mercer Hotel is so inviting you'd swear to start reading books again --well, or at least flip through top magazines while awaiting your window table overlooking shoppers and strollers in Soho. How about a burger with fries ~ still sizzling when presented in the glossy wax paper basket ~ and a nice glass of Red to complete the scene. Très américain, non?
Ciprianis Downtown | 76 West Broadway | NYC | 212-343-0999
Whether you're here to scope out celebs, catch your next crush, or impress the hot catch already sitting across from you with extensive knowledge of the over-sized paintings flaunting Cipriani's walls, you've picked the right place. As if the gorgeous clientele won't get you drooling, the kitchen sends out food porn like no other. Non mangia bene --mangia benissimo!
Megu | 62 Thomas St | NYC | 212-964-7777
If you're gonna do sushi, do it right --because let's face it, when it comes to sushi, you either love it or you hate it. And as Japan's dear French friends say: "quand on aime, on ne compte pas [when one loves, one does not count]." Get ready to shell out serious plastic at Megu, sleekly designed by Yasumichi Morita.
DB Bistro Moderne | 55 W 44th St | NYC | 212-391-2400
DB = Daniel Boulud, duh. If this French etoilé's 4-star ranking won't reel you in, get caught on the tuna tartare --so light you'll have room for the fig-sangria cake later on. More of a white-wine drinker? Pour a glass of Riesling to go with a prim and proper Alsatian open sandwich. Or, pay your homage to The Burger –it’s indescribably good –regret nothing, not even the 35$ price tag for the meat ‘n’ buns on your quickly empty plate.
Nobu | 105 Hudson St | NYC | 212-219-0500
Kick off your evening with the house signature martini, named after Chef Nobu Matsuhisa: Vodka, Hokusetsu Sake, Ginger & garnished with cucumbers. Then spice it up with a bit of everything from the tasting menu, offering everything from chilled Kumamoto Oysters with Maui Onion Salsa to sizzling Washu beef (a step up from Kobe). Wash it all down with a choice from Nobu’s spectacular sake selection.
Aquavit | 65 E 55th St | NYC | 212 307 7311
Move over, Carrie ~ the Aquapolitan (think Aquavit takes on Vodka while Currant flirts with Cranberry) is new sexy in this ol' city. Gather round a plate of diverse amuse-bouche varieties to get your conversation and your mouth tastefully excited. The posh crowd will keep you awake with buzzing energy and non-stop conversation in the chic atmosphere of Aquavit.
Death & Co | 433 E. 6th St., nr. Ave. A; 212-388-0882
Sounds like another maker of a 1K$ pair of jeans, but in fact Death & Co. is more of an easy-going speakeasy-style bar. Sway in for a flaming tequila cocktail, swing to the rhythm as jazz starts to play, stay into the dead of night as the ambience seduces you.
Socialista | 505 West St | NYC | 212 -929-4303
When the city's hottest party planner encounters trouble at the door, you may have something to worry about. Pull strings, drop tops, do whateva you gotta do to get in cuz once you're there there's no denying you ARE the definition of 'It'. Once there, relax, princess, it’s your party now.
Kittichai | 60 Thompson St | NYC | 212-219-2000
Zone out at this zen haven of Thai fusion with hints of pan-Asian splendor. Here, fish is served whole, ribs are rubbed with chocolate, and seabass is flown in from Chile for your dining pleasure. Colorful drinks are eye-catching, yet the fruit-filled glasses are best enjoyed before or after dinner to avoid interference with the bright flavors.
La Esquina| 106 Kenmare St | NYC | 646- 613-7100
Any restaurant that invites its guests in through the kitchen has got to be damn proud of its cooking --so much so, that this culinary destination is known for its overwhelming snobbery --but, hey, if you can't take the heat, keep burning with desire for La Esquina's hot plates of Latin American envy.
Upstairs Bar | 529 Broadway | NYC | 212-431-4350
There's nothing better than happening to stumble upon the most amazing buzz spot [of the city] ... now that we've divulged the addy for ya, better luck getting in tomorrow. But if you and your hot entourage do make an entrance into Upstairs at Cafe Bari, you will have a good time. Point final.
Bar 89 | 89 Mercer St | NYC | 212-274-0989
Grilled cheese and Voss? Not only is the combination phenomenal, so is the rest of Bar 89's simple, lunchy menu and modern drink selection. Drink up ... the restrooms are by far the most unique on the East Coast. Any more tech-savvy and you'd be taking a wee in the Far East.
Antique Garage | 41 Mercer St | NYC | 212-219-1019
Yes, it literally used to be a garage --the door rolls up in warm weather. Enjoy the non-pareil plateware (not a single piece is like another), share a heaping plate of prosciutto and the enormous seared ahi tuna niçoise salad. Chat it up with the Maitre d’ who gets everyone talking with his upbeat Quebecois accent.
THOR|107 Rivington St | NYC |212-796- 8040
In its Philippe Stark-esque design and creative menu to boot, THOR offers a release for mind and palate. Savor flavors such as sautéed scallops with bacon and caviar or chocolate hazelnut torte with praline foam while overlooking the city streets in action. Or, check in for the night, break fast with Room Service, shop for a little something at Annie O. boutique on site and come full circle for lunch at the resto before heading out.
Butter | 415 Lafayette | NYC | 212 -253-282
Log cabin accents + industrial downtown chic supports + French bistro tableset (and slightly arrogant service) = Butter. On the menu, choose from classics like foie gras terrine (modernized with a zesty kumquat marmalade) or Butter’s new idea of noodles: duck egg fettucine with royal trumpet mushrooms.
At Moi Café, you are invited to partake in the discovery of the secret to what makes or breaks any travel, dining or leisure experience: the ambiance. It is subtle, yet presents an expert challenge to master. The key is to enjoy each moment with your favorite people. Then we all simply become the ambiance, unique and perfect ...