New York: A bite of the big apple

14 Jun 2023 by Anithya Balachandran
Burrata at Ai Fiori (Credit Nysc/Sag Actor)

A handpicked selection of the finest bars and restaurants in New York’s luxury hotels.

As the great Virginia Woolf once said: “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well”. New York truly adheres to this, as a renowned hub for eating, drinking and making merry. When it comes to food in the Big Apple, images of cheesy pizzas and burgers might spring to mind. However over the past few decades the city has proven it is capable of producing more than junk food. The culinary evolution has made New York a gourmet paradise for locals and visitors alike. Here we highlight some of the best bars and restaurants in the city’s luxury hotels.

Cut by Wolfgang Puck, Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown

Helmed by renowned chef, Wolfgang Puck, this establishment is one of the hotspots in town for a great steak. With its own entrance off Church Street, the classic steakhouse is the go-to for New Yorkers to wine, dine, and unwind. The restaurant is open from breakfast through to dinner, with Sunday brunch being a highlight. The venue marries an elegant and intimate atmosphere with a simple but hearty menu where the dishes are crafted using immaculate technique and high quality ingredients. Whether you’re seated in the dining room, bar, or lounge, all areas feature views overlooking the bustling streets of lower Manhattan. The interior has been conceived by French designer Jacques Garcia and is complemented with artwork curated by Gelila Assefa Puck. fourseasons.com

Ai Fiori, The Langham New York

This fine dining restaurant showcases modern interpretations of French and Italian Riviera cuisine. Ai Fiori translates to ‘among the flowers’ in Italian and prides itself on placing great importance on seasonal ingredients. Located on the second floor of the Langham Hotel on Fifth Avenue, the restaurant’s menu features signature hand-made pastas and traditional regional dishes inspired by the land and sea. Plus, wine enthusiasts can choose from over 1,000 selections presented in the wine list. In addition to the main dining room, Bar Fiori and its lounge area offers guests the opportunity to experience Ai Fiori in a more laid-back setting. The restaurant is also available for private events and offers different setups to accommodate a variety of occasions. langhamhotels.com

Bemelmans Bar, The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel

Indulging in a tipple at Bemelmans is a rite of passage for many New Yorkers. Whether to experience a taste of opulence or simply drown out the chaos of the city, Bemelmans’ famous martinis provide the perfect remedy. The bar is regularly frequented by New York’s elite crowd, comprising socialites, politicians, movie stars and business moguls. Walls are adorned with masterpiece murals by Ludwig Bemelmans, the creator of the beloved Madeline series of children’s books. The charm of this glamorous bar is enhanced by its extensive drinks menu (there’s a full page just for Champagne) and live entertainment 365 days a year, which features either a solo pianist or a jazz trio. The bar does not accept reservations so expect to queue if you’re visiting during peak hours and weekends. rosewoodhotels.com

King Cole Bar, The St Regis New York

This historic bar is a Fifth Avenue icon. Its name is derived from the majestic mural that adorns the wall behind the bar, painted by Maxfield Parrish in 1906. The painting was originally commissioned by Colonel John Jacob Astor, founder of the St Regis.The Bloody Mary has been the signature cocktail of the St Regis brand since 1934, with each hotel crafting its own local interpretation of the drink. This tradition was started at the King Cole Bar, where it’s known as The Red Snapper. As the story goes, it was created by bartender Fernand Petiot for a Russian aristocrat who asked him to make a vodka-based cocktail. The name “Bloody Mary” was deemed too vulgar for the hotel’s upmarket clientele, leading it to be rechristened as the Red Snapper. marriott.com

The Bar, Baccarat Hotel, New York (Credit Eric Laignel)

The Bar, Baccarat Hotel, New York

The Bar is a multi-sensory delight, especially a visual one. The interiors of the establishment are inspired by the great American long bars of a bygone era, glamorous ballrooms of French hotels and the royal stables at Versailles. All of these grand inspirations are reflected through the distinctive barrel vaulting and natural-wood walls found in the space. The crimson velvet and merlot-coloured walls, leather seats on checkerboard floors, glittering red Baccarat chandeliers and fine art create an aura of decadence, ideal for sipping cocktails and toasting to the finer things in life. The 60-foot bar houses Baccarat’s extensive collection of celebrated wine and craft cocktails. All drinks are poured into stunning pieces of Baccarat crystal. Guests can also enjoy coffee, tea and Alsatian-inspired cuisine from culinary director Gabriel Kreuther. baccarathotels.com

The Mark Bar, The Mark Hotel

Known for its elegant and lively interiors, the Mark Bar has been designed by renowned French designer Jacques Grange with specially made furnishings by Guy de Rougemont and Vladimir Kagan. It’s a bar that serves drinks with a stylish flair. Situated in the heart of Madison Avenue it’s ideal for after work drinks, pre-dinner tipples, or to celebrate a trip to the theatre. The bar also serves handcrafted classic and signature cocktails, while the Mark Restaurant offers European classics  by renowned chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. themarkhotel.com

Salon De Ning, The Peninsula New York

Salon de Ning is a favourite among local New Yorkers and travellers alike. It appeals to a wide range of people thanks to its vibrant setting and refreshing cocktails. The rooftop bar features dramatic skyline views over Fifth Avenue and comprises two outdoor terraces complemented by an intimate interior bar. The lounge seating areas allow for an exclusive, relaxing experience while overlooking the bustling city below. peninsula.com

The Palm Court, The Plaza New York (Credit Richard Mandelkorn)

The Palm Court, The Plaza New York

Known for its iconic afternoon tea, The Palm Court has been one of the finest culinary establishments in the city for over 100 years. In 2013, The Palm Court was renovated and relaunched. The new offering consists of a grand bar, tea by Palais des Thés, and a revised menu featuring inspired American fare served from morning through evening. The renovation was done by the renowned Thierry Despont who drew inspiration from Central Park’s verdant grounds. Therefore, around The Palm Court guests will enjoy arboreal design elements such as potted plants, ceiling-high palm trees, trellis detailing, and custom furnishings with cane accents. The room’s signature feature is a soaring stained-glass dome reminiscent of the original atrium built in 1907. theplazany.co

701 West, The Times Square Edition

Chef John Fraser is the culinary brainchild of 701West, who describes the venue as an ‘imaginative fine-dining restaurant’. Guests can look forward to indulging in the à la carte and three-course prix fixe menus, which are enhanced with an extensive Old World wine list, and brought to life with personalised selections by a team of sommeliers. The Salon, 701West’s opulent cocktail bar, features an inventive cocktail programme with table-side preparations, as well as a Champagne trolley with premium sparkling selections and entertaining interactive elements during service. editionhotels.com

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