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Our 10 Best Hotel Restaurants

Head to the Trilby for a calm brunch and nosh on these poached eggs and corned beef hash.
Head to the Trilby for a calm brunch and nosh on these poached eggs and corned beef hash.
Robert Sietsema

In recent years, hotel restaurants have gone from being spots for humdrum steak dinners to some of the most exciting dining destinations around, enticing locals as well as guests to pull up a chair. So to help those of you planning a trip to town -- and those who are in need of a little staycation (because, really, who isn't?) -- we present Our 10 Best Hotel Restaurants. (The best part: If you eat and drink too much, you can always check in to a room upstairs!)

10. The Trilby -- Although the Cooper Square Hotel has had some issues with its restaurants recently, we've fallen for the newest offering, the Trilby. Although it suffers from the occasional hiccup due to lackadaisical service, it has surprisingly lovely food, like a charred octopus appetizer and a seasonal tomato salad. The carrot cake, too, is a showstopper, but we're fans of the restaurant because it offers tranquil outdoor seating, almost like a private garden. In this bustling city, it's always a joy to find that unexpected oasis of calm. 25 Cooper Square, 212-475-3400

Not in the mood for a full on dinner?  Nibble on some cheese at Tenpenny.
Not in the mood for a full on dinner? Nibble on some cheese at Tenpenny.
Village Voice

9. Tenpenny -- Look beyond the nondescriptness of both the Gotham Hotel's exterior and the rather Midwestern strip-mall feel of the restaurant interior and you'll discover a bounty of innovative and tasty plates at Tenpenny. Service is professional and friendly, and Christopher Cipollone's New American menu features surprising dishes like porchetta ravioli with a poached egg and a homey pork rack with savory apple pie. Can't decide what to order? Go all out and get the 10-course tasting menu. After all, you're supposed to treat yourself on vacation. 16 East 46th Street, 212-490-8300

8. Asiate -- One of the best views in the whole city is what makes this restaurant, located on the 35th floor of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, worth a visit. You have a direct view of Central Park, one that is even more magical come evening when the sun sets. Of course, the Asian-accented food is spot-on, like the "Buckwheat & Eggs," which pairs soba noodles with Osetra caviar, and wasabi cream, or the butter-poached lobster with white polenta and kaffir emulsion. Wine geeks will also gush over the 1,300 bottles available, and even penny-pinchers will appreciate the fairly affordable prix-fixe lunch. 80 Columbus Circle, 212-805 8800

 

Your order at the Burger Joint: Hamburger with the works
Your order at the Burger Joint: Hamburger with the works
Lauren Shockey

7. The Burger Joint -- Who says hotel dining has to be fancy? Tucked behind the reception desk in the lobby of the Parker Meridien Hotel (and marked only by a glowing neon hamburger), you'll find this much-beloved spot. The menu is limited (burgers or cheeseburgers, plus shakes and brownies). Order your patty with the works (lettuce, onion, tomato, ketchup, mustard, pickles), add in a pitcher of beer, then devour with glee as you think of the suckers who've spent big bucks on crappier room-service burgers. 119 West 56th Street, 212-708-7414

6. Adour -- Located in the St. Regis Hotel, Alain Ducasse's upscale venture Adour should be reserved for expense-account dining. It doesn't come cheap (entrées cost around $45), but then again, it's Alain Ducasse, perhaps one of the most famous chefs in the world (though it's Didier Elena who runs the show here). Expect elegant and modern French fare like foie gras with heart of palm and pasta, and an excellent sea-urchin pasta. Desserts are superb, as is the extensive wine list. It's worth dressing up for this one. 2 East 55th Street, 212-710-2277

The Breslin's lamb burger. Order it. Now.
The Breslin's lamb burger. Order it. Now.
Robert Sietsema

5. The Breslin -- When you combine lots of pork, salt, and butter, it's pretty much hard to go wrong. That formula has worked for April Bloomfield at the Breslin, the bustling meat-centric eatery located in the always hopping Ace Hotel. The juicy, meaty lamb burger is divine, though we also love the Caesar salad, which is walloped with anchovy goodness. Vegetarians kinda get the shaft come lunch and dinner, but the Breslin also serves tasty breakfast fare like curried lentils with poached eggs, suitable for the veg set. Gives you a reason to wake up early and then spend all day there. 16 West 29th Street, 212-679-1939

 

Steak tartare comes topped with crispy guanciale and a fried quail egg.
Steak tartare comes topped with crispy guanciale and a fried quail egg.
Lauren Shockey

4. Locanda Verde -- The Dutch may be Andrew Carmellini's more buzzy venture (at least for the moment), but we're partial to his Italianish Locanda Verde, located in the Greenwich Hotel. You can't go wrong starting with the creamy whipped ricotta or the steak tartare flecked with hazelnuts and truffles, then digging into one of the regularly changing pasta options. The pudding-like budinos are delectable desserts, but really anything that pastry chef Karen DeMasco touches turns to deliciousness. The spot is cool and crowded and often celeb-studded -- but for good reason. It's damn good. 377 Greenwich Street, 212-925-3797

3. Ai Fiori -- Michael White has had a big year, opening not only Osteria Morini in Soho, but also Ai Fiori, an elegant Franco-Italian restaurant in the Setai Hotel. The $84 four-course dinner is actually a great deal, since you can pick any four dishes from the full menu of apps, pastas, entrées, and desserts. The butter-poached oysters with caviar is a fave, as is the trofie nero, which tosses jet-black squid-ink pasta with a light seafood ragout dotted with baby scallops. The subdued ambiance does feel a little corporate at times (but makes it an ideal spot for business meals), yet it provides a refreshing change from having to scream to converse with your date. 400 Fifth Avenue, 212-613-8660

2. L'Atelier de Joël Robuchon -- Yet another restaurant that confirms that hotel dining doesn't always come cheap, but also one that proves price and quality can go hand in hand. Built in an I.M. Pei-designed space in the Four Seasons Hotel, you'll find sky-high ceilings, cushy banquettes, and blond and red-and-black-lacquered wood details. But you'll want to sit at the 20-seat bar overlooking the kitchen before diving into Asian-accented French cuisine, like pan-seared sea bass complemented with lemongrass foam, or langoustine carpaccio with fresh wasabi and caviar. 57 East 57th Street, 212-829-3844

 

The cake that started it all
The cake that started it all
Lauren Shockey

1. Jean Georges -- Although the food at Jean Georges isn't always as inventive as at some of the chef's other places, we're a big fan of this restaurant and its more affordable little sister, Nougatine, located in the Trump International Hotel just off Central Park. Why? The dining room is calm but filled with culinary energy, service is always spot-on, and you can dine affordably here with the prix-fixe lunch, one of the best deals in town. A recent lunch at Nougatine offered a fine plate of skate over marinated peppers, and, of course, Vongerichten's famed molten chocolate cake that's been copied by millions of other chefs. Anywhere else it's yawn-inducing, but you gotta give credit where credit's due. 1 Central Park West, 212-299-3900

For more dining news, head to Fork in the Road, or follow us @ForkintheRoadVV, or me @ldshockey.


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