If anything is a universal connector for New Yorkers, it might be complaining about how awful Midtown is—tourists, traffic, tacky food. We’ll stay below 34th street, thank you very much! Apart from some classic restaurants perfect for channeling Carrie circa 2001, the only thing that could lure us to brave the crowds near Times Square is food worth schlepping for. We’re pleasantly surprised to announce “cool midtown spot” isn’t an oxymoron when it comes to our picks that are, in fact, worth the trip:
Bibble and Sip
A trip to Bibble and Sip is an excuse to slip its irresistibly adorable name into any conversation, plus an opportunity to try equally charming matcha drinks and desserts (Bibble means to eat hurriedly, which you might end up doing given how delicious the entire menu is). Treat yourself to an Earl Grey cream puff while you’re there, but be prepared to wait — Bibble and Sip’s pastries have garnered such a following that the lines often spill past the café’s door during peak hours.
Location: 253 W 51 St.
Hours: M-F, 7:30 am-8pm, Weekends 10am-8pm
Miss Korea BBQ
K-Town is an oasis in the food desert that is midtown and is deserving of a guide unto itself. That being said, we’re big fans of Miss Korea BBQ. The restaurant offers seasonal menus designed to match how cravings change along with the weather, and it’s near impossible to go wrong, no matter what your selection is. The interactive nature of Korean BBQ is a surefire conversation starter, making it perfect for a date or large group dinner.
Location: 10 W 32 St.
Hours: Sun-Wed, 10 am-11pm, Th-Sat, 10 am-12 am
Famed for its black sesame and matcha swirl soft serve, Café Zaiya‘s midtown location is also worth the stop for a wide and affordable range of Japanese pastries and food. Try a chocolate mochi doughnut, and believe the hype about the ice cream — its light, refreshing, and oh-so insta-worthy.
Location: 18 E 41st St.
Hours: M-F 8am-8pm, Sat 10am-8pm, Sun 11am-7pm
With both Midtown East and West locations, Totto Ramen is a good idea no matter what side of town you’re on. We like the Spicy Paitan with a poached egg and Nigori sake. Totto Ramen is cash-only, and does not take reservations or takeout orders, so come prepared.
Locations: 366 W 52nd St. & 248 E 52nd St.
Hours: M-Sat, 12 pm-4:30pm, 5:30pm-12am, Sun, 4pm-11pm
While we’re partial to the stunning UES location in the Church of the Heavenly Rest, Bluestone Lane delivers perfectly brewed coffee and brunch fare for the health and snap-conscious in Bryant Park and Midtown East. It’s hard not to love the healthy, stylish franchise founded by Aussie expat Nick Stone. We’d eat the GF banana bread with honey & ricotta cheese every day if we could.
Locations: Midtown East: 805 3rd Ave, Bryant Park: 1114 Ave of the Americas
Hours: (Midtown East), M-F: 7am – 5pm, closed weekends (Bryant Park), M-F 6:30am – 8pm, Sat-Sun 9am – 5pm
Can David Chang do any wrong? Not really, when it comes to his ever-expanding and enduring franchise. Go to Má Pêche for a special occasion or create one by dropping in — it’s open for breakfast through late-night feasts. An in-house Milk Bar provides all deserts, but we’re already thinking about BBQ brisket buns…
Location:15 W 56th St.
Hours: Breakfast M – F | 7am – 11amWeekends | 7am – 9am Brunch Weekends | 10am – 2:30 pm
Lunch: M – F | 11:30am – 2:30pm Dinner: Sun – Tues| 5:30pm – 10pm Weds– Sat| 5:30pm – 11pm
Milk Bar Midtown: Sun– Tues | 8am – 11pm Weds – Sat | 8am – 12am
The recently opened New York outpost of Indian Accent has interiors nearly as polished as its swoon-worthy menu, like the kesri mango, almond shrikhand dessert pictured above. Located in Le Parker Meridien, Indian Accent offers prix fixe options for lunch and dinner. You might want to dress up for this one.
Location:123 W 56th St.
Hours: M-Sat, 12 pm-2pm and 5:00pm-10:30pm
You may have to brave Times Square en route to the Skylark, but trust us, it’ll be worth it. If you want to get dressed to the nines and linger at a nouveau classic cocktail lounge, then this is the spot for you. The Skylark offers dazzling views of the Hudson and beyond, cocktails conceptualized by mixologist Johnny Swet as well as small plates for dinner and dessert.
Location: 200 W 39th St, 30th Floor
Hours: See calendar for details, hours vary
The Lantern’s Keep
A trip to the Lantern’s Keep will take you back in time to the Belle Époque. Plush booths and Degas reproductions will contribute as much to your buzz as the four varieties of spiked ice cubes offered by sleek waitstaff. The Lantern’s Keep is intimate without being cramped, and the perfect excuse to channel Jane Birkin a little more than usual.
Location: 49 W 44th St
Hours: M 7pm-11pm, Tues-Fri 5pm-12am, Sat 5pm-1am, closed Sunday.
Pocket bar is an apt name for this cozy spot with a capacity of about 25, a ’90s soundtrack, and shark-themed sangria that never fails to disappoint. Come here after a dinner date if you don’t want it to end. Bonus: The house bar snack is popcorn, free of charge.
Location: 455 W 48th St.
Hours: M-Thurs, Sun. 4pm-12:30 am, Fri-Sat, 4pm-1:30 am
The Campbell Apartment
Look familiar? The Campbell Apartment was iconic long before Serena Van Der Woodsen graced its bar. Sadly slated to close toward the end of this month due to a dispute with the MTA that resulted in a change in ownership, the Campbell Apartment will open on a date TBA reenvisioned by Scott Gerber of his eponymous group (they’re behind Mr. Purple and the Viceroy Roof, among other trendy spaces). Once the office of eponymous tycoon John W. Campbell, this swank lounge tucked inside Grand Central Terminal forbids baseball caps, sneakers, and says “absolutely no” to torn jeans. Order cocktails that are just vintage enough to maintain their charm (like “The Golden Age”) and get tipsy the old-fashioned way before The Campbell Apartment loses some of its storied allure.
Location: 15 Vanderbilt Ave, nr. 43rd St.
Hours: Mon-Thurs: 12pm-1am, Fri-Sat: 12pm-1am, Sun: 12pm-12am