Wondering where to dine in the after-hours? Here are the city’s top tables.
In the city that never sleeps, late-night food is an essential part of the collective meal plan—and it’s not just relegated to the dollar-slice shops on every corner. Here are four fine restaurants that serve everything from sashimi to steak frites well past bedtime.
Minetta Tavern has gone through a few iterations since it opened in the 1930s, but one thing has always remained constant: its hyper-creative clientele. Tucked in the heart of the West Village, it was once the late-night hideout of Beat poets; now, its classy, old-style brasserie vibe (with some of the original furnishings still in-tact) has made it a known go-to for fashion editors and magazine writers. Part of its popularity is certainly due to the sophisticated mélange of classic tavern fare from around Europe: bone marrow and baguettes, moules à l’escabèche, grilled lamb merguez, steak frites, and a hefty prime dry-aged beef burger. But the no-nonsense drinks certainly deserve credit too, making the small space busier and buzzier as the night goes on (make sure to have a reservation) with a spectacular wine list, twisted-classic cocktails, five Japanese whiskies, and four absinthes. (MacDougal St. nr. Bleecker St.)
Farther up in the West Village on a cobblestone street of brownstones is a gastro-pub that’s one of those rare New York restaurants that never goes out of style: The Spotted Pig. The restaurant has impressively earned 10 Michelin stars since 2004, seeing regular clients like Taylor Swift swoon over its dressed-up comfort-fare, such as fluffy ricotta-cheese gnudi bathed in a brown-butter and parmesan sauce, smoked haddock chowder with pancetta and house-made crackers, and the most famous entrée: a simple half-pound burger, smothered with Roquefort cheese and served beside a heap of shoestring fries. Keep in mind that given The Spotted Pig’s enduring popularity and no-reservations policy, it’s best to come in the later hours when the atmosphere is sufficiently warm and lively and the wait times less intimidating. (11th Street at Greenwich St.)
Expect high heels, DJ beats, and an impervious doorman at Koi, the glamorous showcase restaurant of both Midtown’s Bryant Park Hotel and Soho’s Trump Soho. This Los Angeles transplant now has locations in Las Vegas, Bangkok, and Abu Dhabi too, but no matter where it goes, it seems unwilling to give up its Hollywood vibe—and its fantastic Cali-Japanese fare. Rolls are topped and filled with some of the freshest fish in the city, short ribs fall off the bone, ginger-sharpened hirame carpaccio melts in the mouth, and the miso cod is simply divine. So too is the people watching, especially at the bar where a well-heeled crowd gossips and flirts over spicy ginger sidecars and lychee martinis. (40th St. nr. Sixth Ave.; Spring St. at Varick St.)
London’s most famous Mexican restaurant, Bodega Negra, jumped across the pond two years ago and opened an outpost at the Dream Downtown. Here, like a vamped-up version of a fiesta, the restaurant thrusts guests into South-of-the-border fantasy world filled with Mexican art, old tequila barrels, antique guitars, and colorful textiles like old Mariachi outfits. The menu is a hip mix of the classic—chilaquiles, fresh ceviches, fajitas—and the unexpected—lamb barbacoa, peking duck tacos drizzled with mole sauce, a Mexican rendition of shrimp and grits. And, with more than 90 tequilas to choose from, it’s the perfect place to fuel up before hitting the Dream Lounge upstairs, or come for a nightcap after. (16th St. nr. Ninth Ave.)
(Photo Credit: Bodega Negra / Tanya Blum)