The Art of the Meal: Top New York City Museum Restaurants
It’s no surprise that New York boasts award-winning restaurants that are as enticing as the museums in which they are found. Next time you’re in town, be sure to enjoy a delicious bite or two in one of New York City’s best museum restaurants, just steps from priceless collections of art and artifacts.
Museum of Arts and Design
Ask for a window seat at Robert Restaurant, but only if you’re not afraid of heights! This upbeat restaurant on the ninth floor of the Museum of Arts and Design has sweeping views of Columbus Circle, Central Park, and New York’s Upper West and East Sides through floor-to-ceiling windows. You’ll find tasty items like eggs Benedict with lobster, as well as parsnip and leek soup, and mango cheesecake on the menu, served within a colorful, modern setting. At night, part of the restaurant becomes a lounge that’s a lively spot for a cocktail or a beer.
Whitney Museum of American Art
This bright, airy, bustling restaurant on the ground floor of the new Whitney Museum has a casual atmosphere, with high ceilings and glass walls that are great for people watching. You can sit inside or on the patio, depending on the weather, or dine on the eighth floor. Untitled serves main courses with an American influence, including roasted and fried chicken with biscuits and gravy, as well as appetizers like smoked whitefish salad, and desserts including spiced pear cake with caramel and almond brittle.
Flora Bar’s modernist setting in the MetBreuer, the Metropolitan Museum’s new space for contemporary art, complements its inventive, flavorful dishes. Choices include red shrimp with sea urchin and nori, chicken with celery and apple, and green tomato, basil, and pine nut tart. The excellent wine list showcases selections from both unknown and well-known winemakers around the world. If you’d rather have something a little quicker and more casual than a sit-down meal at Flora Bar, you can grab sandwiches and pastries at the museum’s Flora Coffee instead.
The Modern / The Bar Room
Museum of Modern Art
At the Museum of Modern Art, you can choose from two restaurants serving cuisine that’s as eye-catching as much of the art on display. The Modern is an award-winning fine-dining restaurant overlooking the museum’s sculpture garden, with a seasonal menu of beautifully presented dishes, like foie gras tart with wild huckleberries and sunflower seeds, and crispy skin sea bass with artichokes barigoule and minestrone broth. The Bar Room is a lively option, serving seasonal, modern cuisine, like braised duck leg with white turnips and rhubarb, and lobster spaghetti. You can settle into a seat in the Bar Room restaurant, or take one in the adjoining lounge or at the long marble bar.
Designed to look like one of the Brooklyn Museum’s storage rooms, the NORM restaurant is outfitted with shipping crates and a wall of paintings from the museum’s collection from different cultures and eras. Inspired by Brooklyn’s cultural diversity, the menu includes Indian, Mexican, Japanese, Middle Eastern, Indo-Chinese, Caribbean, and all-American influences. The Bombay snack mix is a zingy taste of southern India, with spicy fried legumes, coconut, cilantro, red onion and limes. The Free Bird Farms roast chicken has traditional Mexican flavors, braised in a chocolate mole poblano and served with a tamale and watercress salad. The NORM also serves vegetarian and gluten-free items, and spirits and beers from Brooklyn-based distilleries and breweries. Pumping up the creative vibe, artists curate the NORM’s music playlist.
Neue Galerie spotlights Austrian and German art created between 1890 and 1940, so it’s only natural that its restaurant, Café Sabarsky, was created in the style of a 1912 Viennese café. Café Sabarsky serves Austrian-influenced dishes, such as organic chicken paprika with spatzle, bratwurst with sauerkraut and roasted potatoes, and, of course, sacher torte and other tempting cakes and pastries. The menu also includes Viennese coffee drinks served with whipped cream, and a wide selection of teas from China, India, the U.S. and South Africa. The breakfast menu offers savory crepes filled with chilled smoked trout and horseradish crème fraiche, as well as those on the sweeter side, stuffed with house-made apricot confiture. You can also choose from a selection of Austrian lagers and wines.
Russ and Daughters
The Jewish Museum
New Yorkers have flocked to Russ and Daughters’ Lower East Side store and cafe for premium quality smoked fish and baked goods for more than a century. Now, you can also enjoy Russ and Daughters’ culinary delights at the Jewish Museum on the Upper East Side. Don’t miss the fish dishes like the exquisite smoked sable with goat cream cheese, soups, including borscht with pumpernickel bread, served hot with sour cream, and rich desserts, including challah bread pudding, and French toast made with chocolate babka, sour cream and berries. While you eat, you can also enjoy the whimsical, six-meter mural by artist Maira Kalman.
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Words: Eva Leonard
Photos: Courtesy of respective restaurants