Times Square is one of New York’s must-see destinations and a very popular place to dine. For those staying in the area or catching a Broadway show, it is an ideal locale for a meal or snack. But finding the right eatery in Times Square takes some know-how – there are plenty of bland chain restaurants and tourist traps, and most restaurants are completely booked before and after Broadway performances.
Here are our picks for the best restaurants in Times Square, along with some important practical advice for where and when to eat.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Six days a week Times Square swells with crowds flocking to a Broadway performance. Before and after performances the district’s restaurants are packed with theatergoers, who all need to arrive at the theater just before curtain. Without a reservation (booked well in advance) you will likely be turned away from most eateries. Even if you get a table, without adequate time your meal will likely be a hurried and stressful experience as the kitchen and staff push to serve everyone on the same schedule. We advice:
- If you are not attending a Broadway show, avoid Times Square restaurants near performance times. Generally, the Broadway rush is 6:30pm – 8:00PM Tuesday through Saturday, 12:30pm – 2:00pm Wednesdays and Saturdays, and 1:00pm – 3:00pm Sundays. Restaurants also fill after performances, approximately 2.5 – 3 hours after curtain. Dining outside these times or during performances is advisable.
- If you are attending a Broadway show, allow no less than 90 minutes for service. Anything less will be a rushed and less than ideal meal.
Carmine’s – the large, boisterous restaurant that serves generous portions of Italian favorites. The heaping platters of appetizers, salads, pastas and grilled meats are meant to be shared by several diners. The dining room and bar get very crowded and chaotic before theater performances, but the wait and hassle are worth it. This restaurant is justifiably renowned for its delicious and bountiful food. 200 West 44th Street, between 7th & 8th Avenues.
Tony’s d’Napoli – like a relatively low-key Carmine’s, Tony’s d’Napoli serves grand platters of antipasti, pastas, meat and fish. The large space can accommodate seating for groups. This is a favorite dining spot of the Broadway community for it’s excellent Italian fare. 147 West 43rd Street, between 6th & 7th Avenues.
La Masseria – an up-scale restaurant serving cuisine of Italy’s Puglia Region. The authentic dishes, made with high-quality ingredients, have won raves from diners and critics alike. The menu is a bit pricey. 235 West 48th Street, between Broadway & 8th Avenue.
Steak Houses –
Ruth’s Chris Steak House – one of NYC’s finest steakhouses, they serve prime steaks and seafood, as well as the traditional side dishes. The “Classic Dinner” prix-fixe menus are a good bargain. 148 West 51street, between 6th & 7th Avenues.
Bobby Van’s – there are two Bobby Van’s restaurants in the district serving excellent steakhouse favorites, seafood and cocktails. 120 West 45th Street & 135 West 50th Street.
Fine Dining / Celebrity Chefs –
Le Bernardin – Chef Eric Ripert’s acclaimed French seafood restaurant that has earned 3 Michelin stars and a four-star rating from the New York Times. The prix fixe–only dinners are very expensive, starting at $135. But foodies insist the experience is “not just a meal”, but “dining perfection.” Men must wear jackets in the dining room for both lunch and dinner. 155 West 51st Street, between 6th & 7th Avenues.
Esca – This elegant eatery owned by celebrity chefs Dave Pasternak, Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich specializes in superb Italian seafood and pasta. They offer an extensive wine list and the knowledgeable staff provide excellent service. 402 West 43rd Street, between 9th & 10th Avenues.
Becco – Chefs Lydia and Joe Bastianich turned this former townhouse on Restaurant Row into a refined ristorante serving excellent Italian cuisine. A specialty of the house is Sinfonia di Paste, a prix fixe that includes salad or antipasto followed by unlimited servings of three daily pasta specials. They offer an extensive and reasonably-priced wine list as well. 355 West 46th Street, between 8th & 9th Avenues.
Sardi’s – the famed Broadway haunt well known for its celebrity caricatures and opening night parties. They offer an old-fashioned American menu and serve lunch, dinner (pre and post-theater), and desserts. Dining at Sardi’s is like entering a bygone era of the theater world. 234 West 44th Street, between 7th & 8th Avenues.
Joe Allen – a favorite spot for the Broadway community since the 1960s, this casual restaurant serves classic comfort food, including great burgers, salads, and grilled entrees. This basement eatery has an old-school feel with small tables and brick walls covered in show posters. 326 West 46th Street, between 8th & 9th Avenues.
Angus McIndoe – a favorite dining sport of celebrities and Broadway’s power players. Menu specialties include Scotch Pies, Moules Frites, and the Porterhouse Steak. They also offer an extensive selection of wines, beers and cocktails, excellent-value prix-fixe menus and late night bar snacks. 258 West 44th Street, between 8th & 9th Avenues.
John’s Pizzeria – an uptown outpost of famed John’s of Bleeker Street, this large restaurant serves excellent coal-fired brick oven pizzas, as well as pastas, classic Italian entrees and panini. A great choice for pre-theater dining, the staff is accustomed to serving diners quickly enough to get to the theater. 260 West 44th Street, between 7th & 8th Avenues.
Don Antonio by Starita – renowned Neapolitan pizza chefs Roberto Caporuscio of Kesté Pizza & Vino and Antonio Starita, owner of one Naples’ most revered pizzerias, Pizzeria Starita a Materdei, have brought authentic Neapolitan pizza to NYC. The pizzas (both red & white) combine premium ingredients, and they offer wonderful cocktails. 309 West 50th Street, between 8th & 9th Avenues.
The Counter – this burger joint offers over 1 million different types of burgers, as patrons can choose between seven proteins, 16 cheeses, 45 toppings, 23 sauces and eight bun varieties. Many options are organic, natural, free-range and antibiotic- and hormone-free. In addition to French fries their sides include deviled eggs, dill pickle chips and homemade chili. They even serve wine and beer infused milkshakes. West 41st Street & Broadway.
Shake Shack – a branch of Danny Myers’ very popular chain, they do fast-food right serving high-quality burgers, hot dogs, crinkle-cut fries and frozen custard treats. Lines to order are often long, but move quickly. Warning: their burgers can be highly addictive. 8th Avenue & 44th Street.
Xi’an Famous Foods – part of a growing Chinese noodle empire that does the best food from the city of Xi’an in New York. The slippery, spicy hand-pulled noodles are like no other. 24 West 45th Street, between 5th & 6th Avenues.
Szechuan Gourmet – rated one of the best Chinese restaurants in NYC (and that’s saying something), their extensive menu features Sichuan delicacies as well as standard Chinese fare. A great choice for a quick, relatively inexpensive meal. 21 West 39th Street, between 5th & 6th Avenues.
Pongsri Thai – serving authentic Thai cuisine at reasonable prices, including seafood dishes and Thai curries. The weekday lunch special is a particularly great bargain. 244 West 48th Street, between 7th & 8th Avenues.
Totto Ramen & Tabata Ramen – both these casual spots serve bowls of hand-made Japanese ramen with a variety of toppings from which to choose. A terrific choice for a high-quality, inexpensive and quick meal. Totto: 366 W 52nd Street, between 8th & 9th Avenues / Tabata: 540 9th Avenue, at 40th Street.
Brooklyn Diner – a somewhat upscale diner (with prices to match) serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Their chicken soup, baked mac & cheese, burger platters and Chinese Chicken Salad are favorites. They also serve pastrami, corned beef and Reuben sandwiches. 155 West 43rd Street, between 6th & 7th Avenues.
Evergreen & Westway Diners – both these old-school NYC eateries serve quality diner fare including breakfast staples, sandwiches, burgers, Greek specialties, meatloaf and cheesecake (Pop culture note: Westway Diner is where Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David met to cook up their legendary sitcom “about nothing.”) Evergreen: 145 West 47th Street, between 6th & 7th Avenues. / Westway: 614 9th Avenue, between 43rd & 44th Streets.
This block of 46th Street between 8th & 9th Avenues is lined with over 30 restaurants and bars offering a variety of cuisines and ambiance. In addition to Becco and Joe Allan, some of the best restaurants include Orso, Barbetta, B. Smith’s, cozy Hourglass Tavern and Lattanzi.
Do you have a favorite spot to dine in Times Square? Share it with us in the comments below.