Great Places to Eat in NYC

Cynthia Cheng

In a recent trip to New York, I had the chance to eat at several different restaurants including:

SnAKS on 5:  Located on the fifth floor (contemporary ladies’ clothing) at Saks Fifth Avenue, this restaurant serves, well, more “snacky” type foods than the SFA Cafe on the eighth floor.  What’s interesting about the restaurant is that many of the choices aren’t that healthy – they had a whole section for sliders (including turkey sliders, pictured above), which come with either potato salad or shoe string fries.  To compensate, there were some salad options as well, including a chopped salad with either steak or chicken.  Interesting tidbit: Instead of giving diners bread, they give you popcorn served with butter.  Not exactly the best popcorn, though, since it was a bit cold.  Prices are in the $15-20 range.  SnAKS is located at 611 Fifth Avenue, between 50th and 49th Streets. 

Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola: Looking for some smooth music and great food?  Try Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola.   Located on the fifth floor of the Time Warner building on Columbus Circle, this restaurant/jazz club is located on the same floor as Jazz at Lincoln Center.  The menu consists of many southern/New Orleans-inspired dishes, including crawfish, fried chicken and “dirty rice.”  At my visit, I had chicken and rock shrimp etoufee with red beans and dirty rice (above).  Though some say that dirty rice is similar to a rice pilaf, the specific dish I had at Dizzy’s looked more like risotto.  For dessert, try the red velvet cake, which is simply divine.  Music at Dizzy’s is different every night.  I was treated to a performance from Julliard’s jazz orchestra, playing the music of Mary Lou Williams and Duke Ellington.  Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola is located at 33 West 60th Street.  Phone is 212-258-9595

Takashimaya New York’s Tea Box Restaurant: Sadly, this department store will be closing its doors at the end of the month.  Its restaurant, which serves a mix of Japanese and western cuisine, has a daily bento box lunch (above, $21 the day I went).  At the day I went, the lunch included a small piece of fish, some rice, a shot glass of soup and salad.  I had a glass of mango ice tea along with it.  Unlike many fruity ice teas, it was served unsweetened, but came with a small container of liquid sweetener.  This way, diners can adjust the tea to their own taste.  This restaurant will be surely missed once it’s gone.  However, if you’re in New York before the end of May, be sure to check it out.  Takashiyama New York is located on 693 Fifth Avenue.

Gabriel’s Bar and Restaurant: A neighbourhood place, once again, in the Columbus Circle area.  Described on its website as “where the most powerful people in entertainment sip Blueberry Belinies and dine on the best haute Northern Italian cuisine on the upper west side.”  Atmosphere-wise, the restaurant gives off a dark, cozy, relaxed vibe – definitely not as pretentious as the website describes itself.  It is also not the trendy type that many in the entertainment industry seem to like.  A good starter is the artichoke hearts (above, $15), which is dressed with extra virgin olive oil and lemon and served with baby spinach and black olives.  As for mains, any of the wood grill dishes are amazing. Gabriel’s is on 11 West 60th Street.  For reservations, please call 212-956-4600.