Touring New York’s many museums can be exhausting work. Luckily, there are plenty of tasty options located right inside these institutions. Imagine taking in a Matisse and then indulging in equally innovative works of food art. What about taking a mini vacation to the Himalayas and regaining your strength with flavors brought from the same region? Or maybe you simply want to get schooled on food and art. With these five museum restaurants, spending a day taking in culture just got a whole lot more filling, and, unlike the priceless works on display, you are free to take as many pictures of the art on the plate as you want.
What better way to pair famous art pieces than with a Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star rated restaurant? At the Museum of Modern Art, you can see celebrated work by Rene Magritte, Pablo Picasso, and Mark Rothko, and then replenish your energy at this Danny Meyer treasure, overseen by award-winning chef Gabriel Kreuther. The dining room overlooks the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden, and, no matter if you purchase a ticket to the museum or just wander in, all guests can enjoy the view for lunch and dinner. Each meal gets beautifully plated, whether you choose the langoustine and razor clam tartare, gamay risotto, chorizo-crusted cod or the pineapple carpaccio.
Hailing from Mumbai, executive chef Ali Loukzada brings his knowledge of eastern flavors to the dishes served at this Rubin Museum of Art eatery. Choose from seasonal dishes with a Himalayan flair including chicken tikka masala, the Himalayan bread sampler with chutneys, and momos, a classic dumpling you can get pan fried or steamed that comes with chicken and peppers or wild mushroom. Have a bite and then meditate amongst the Buddhist and Hindu sculptures on display. And if you happen to visit on a Wednesday night, from 5 to 7 p.m., they offer a Himalayan happy hour with live music, performances, wine and tea.
Whether they want to learn about current design or explore unique cooking skills, guests get schooled in this former education facility-cum-art museum where the classrooms are now covered in modern paintings and installations save for one, the M. Wells Dinette. Hugue Dufour and Sarah Obraitis, the team behind the now defunct M. Wells Diner, developed this cafeteria-style restaurant last year. Like your teachers in grade school, every day the chefs offer something new to experience, be that foie gras bread pudding, veal cheek stroganoff, or pumpkin tres leches for dessert.
Taking a page from the artist’s right to leave his work without a name, restaurateur Danny Meyer has called his contemporary farm-to-table eatery Untitled as an ode to great nameless pieces that come in and out of the Whitney. Like the rotating shows that grace this institution’s white walls, Untitled’s menu changes with the seasons. Executive chef Chris Bradley expertly designs dishes including cedar-roasted salmon with quinoa pilaf and mango and kale salad with curried cauliflower. In tune with the building’s modern art, Bradley also offers an array of deli classics such as a pastrami Reuben, grilled cheese, meatloaf and Untitled’s true masterstroke, the signature burger, which has cheddar, roasted tomatoes and caramelized onions.
Looking for brunch, lunch or dinner with a touch of history? Head to the Upper West Side’s New York Historical Society where you’ll find this Italian restaurant inside, serving minestrone soup, panzanella salad with burrata, duck ragu on pappardelle, and grilled branzino. On Sunday evenings, try the prix fixe menu. It’s the perfect way to finish off a day where you looked at the treasures of Shearith Israel, marveled at Antonio Martorell’s mixed media installation and explored the Historical Society’s vast collection of New York and American artifacts.
Photos Courtesy of Caffe Storico and Peter Dressel