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One of my favorite New York City pastimes is dinner and a Broadway show. I’ve asked New York City-based contributor Michele Herrmann to dig up the best spots to eat and drink. The next time you go to a show, consider checking out one of these restaurants.
In New York, catching a Broadway show and grabbing a bite to eat simply goes hand in hand. From the heart of the Theater District to Hells Kitchen and Midtown, there are countless dining options within walking distance of New York’s fabulous Broadway theaters. We’ve found 10 unique spots from classic standbys to unexpected destinations for pre- or post-show dinner and drinks. Keep your eyes peeled–you might even spot a star or two.
Founded by Italian chef Lidia Bastianich and her son Joe, Becco has a daily pasta tasting menu that’s innovative–and filling. Priced at $18.95 during lunch and at $22.95 for dinner, this tasting menu features three daily choices of unlimited pasta. As a starter, the menu also features a choice of Caesar salad or antipasto misto (an assortment of marinated and grilled vegetables with seafood). Becco also has an extensive $25 wine list of Italian sparking, red and white wines.Its central location on Restaurant Row (46th St. between 8th and 9th Aves.) makes it ideal for the theater and there are endless other dining options nearby. 355 W. 46th St. on Restaurant Row near 9th Ave.; 212-397-7597.
Next to legendary Joe Allen, Bar Centrale is an intimate cocktail lounge in an old townhouse that seems to want to be discreet. Pass through the front doors and a set of drapes, and you’ll find booths and small tables with a speakeasy vibe that makes this venue appealing for a pre- or post-theater drink. There’s a nice list of wine and beers and the menu includes high-end sandwiches, appetizers, and salads. Standout orders include the Baja style fish tacos and curried deviled eggs. It’s not uncommon to run into Broadway performers and celebrities that frequent this under-the-radar place. 324 W. 46th St. on Restaurant Row near 8th Ave.; 212-581-3130.
Ça Va Brasserie
Chef Todd English’s modern French bistro Ça Va puts on a special, seasonally-inspired prix fixe lunch (Monday through Friday, $33) and dinner (daily, $44) menu. While the menu is ever-changing, expect favorites such as loup de mer (European sea bass), steak frites with herb-onion butter, French onion soup and seasonal foie gras preparations. If you’re catching Wicked at the nearby Gershwin Theatre, present your ticket for 10 percent off the bill. 310 W. 44th St. near 8th Ave.; 212-803-4545.
A fixture in New York City’s Theater District since 1927, Sardi’s has a strong tie to Broadway. Their “Hall of Fame” features hand-drawn caricatures of celebrity patrons from stage and screen throughout the restaurant. Feast on classic fare, like a 10 oz. sirloin steak, jumbo lump crab cakes or spinach cannelloni, and don’t leave without a slice of their famous New York cheesecake. Prix-fixe menus range from lunch at $29.95 per person to dinner at $50 per person. Of course, in keeping with show times, Sardi’s has both pre-theater dinner and post-theater supper menus. 234 W. 44th St. between 7th & 8th Aves.; 212-221-8440.
Réunion Surf Bar
Named for a French island off of the coast of Madagascar, Réunion Surf Bar is a unique, hip spot featuring themed weekday happy hour specials from 5:30 to 8 p.m. in a lively atmosphere. Its cool surfer bar style is reflected in its food and drink menus with everything from legit Tiki-style cocktails to beachy bar food, like their shark fry tacos. There’s also a wide selection of various fine rums and premium beers. Swing by after the theater if you’re in the mood to get a little frisky. 357 W. 44th St. near 9th Ave.; 212-582-3200.
As one of Manhattan’s most iconic establishments, this former speakeasy turned fine dining restaurant is best known for its secret wine cellar from Prohibition Era and its facade of ornamental jockey figurines. It also boasts a stylish three-course pre-theatre dinner menu in its Bar Room. Priced at $56 and available Monday through Saturday, you can’t go wrong with the ’21’ caesar salad, and the burger is as iconic as the restaurant itself. 21 Club also has a nice range of bar bites for evening, post-theater snacks and a power scene at the bar. 21 W. 52nd St. between 5th & 6th Aves.; 212-582-7200.
Known for its mouthwatering crudo dishes, this southern Italian seafood trattoria encourages you to sample its raw delicacies with tasting flights. During lunch, three unique crudos are priced at $16, and six unique tastings at $30 (the only option at dinnertime). There are also decadent pasta dishes, like squid ink spaghetti and secondi choices, like a whole roasted black bass. ESCA’s wine list showcases regional Italian favorites that pair well with its seafood selections. 402 W. 43rd St. at 9th Ave.; 212-564-7272.
West Bank Café
This casual fine dining hybrid is a longtime fixture with the Broadway crowd. Its regular patrons include legendary playwrights Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller to today’s stars like Bruce Willis. West Bank Café offers three-course prix fixe lunch ($20) and dinner menus ($35), as well as a late night supper menu with standout options like wild mushroom risotto balls, steak frites and a butterscotch parfait. More than just a restaurant, it also houses the subterranean Laurie Beechman Theatre for burlesque, Broadway musical variety shows and standup comedy (Joan Rivers was amongst the performers). 407 42nd St. at 9th Ave.; 212-695-6909.
This upscale American seafood restaurant attracts theater-going guests craving its superlative raw bar and specialty menus. Priced at $49 per person or $74 with a wine flight, Oceana’s theater menu includes oysters with passion fruit mignonette, grilled Spanish mackerel, and a chocolate layer trifecta cake. At lunch, enjoy a three course, pre-fixe menu at $35 per person. 120 W. 49th St. near 6th Ave.; 212-759-5941.
Named for the lovely French port city, this restaurant is a culinary melting pot of French, Italian, Greek and North African fare. Marseille has a prix fixe lunch menu at $23.50 for two courses or $29.50 for three courses and a dinner prix fixe menu at $38. Both menus include seasonal dishes, as well as standbys like pistou (a thick garden vegetable soup with pesto, macaroni and Parmesan) and Tuscan chicken breast. 630 9th Ave. between 44th & 45th Sts.; 212-333-2323.
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What’s your favorite spot for pre- or post-theater dining? Also, what’s the next show you’re dying to see?
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