New York City is famed for its theater, which draws in thousands of tourists every week. One of the best parts of going into the city to see a show is the meal before the show. Since you’re in one of the most diverse cities in the world, you’re basically guaranteed to find restaurants that will work for anyone’s palate and wallet.
#SpoonTip: Always make sure to tell your server the time and location of your show — they’ll make sure to serve you fast enough so you can get to the theater on time.
New Yorkers love this funky establishment and its thin-as-paper crust pizza. Located in a renovated church in Times Square, John’s has been a staple for people looking for a good, quick bite to eat before a show, and remains a cheap yet quality restaurant. Their menu of appetizers, salads, pizzas (their motto is “No Slices”), and entrees that will satisfy any hungry theatergoer.
#SpoonTip: Ask for a seat near the brick ovens to watch the pizzas be made at lightning speed.
This down-to-earth pub serves delicious bar food and Irish specialties. It has a welcoming atmosphere, and with a menu ranging from burgers to shepherd’s pie to Irish style curry, everyone will find something to order and enjoy.
The pastas are made in-house, and you won’t even feel guilty for eating all of the bread before your meal. Feeling splurgy? The osso buco allo becco is INSANE, and reasonably priced for a quality Italian meal in New York.
#SpoonTip: Want the full Italian experience without going broke? Order the Sinfonia di Paste. For less than $25, you get an unlimited amount of the chef’s three daily homemade pasta specials. It’s wonderful, and lightyears better than Olive Garden’s bottomless pasta bowls.
Norma’s is the ultimate treat yo self, mind-blowingly good, Insta-worthy brunch spot. Located inside Le Parker Meridien, Norma’s is a creative alternative to a standard pre-matinee lunch. They serve everything from cheesecake-stuffed, coconut-rolled french toast to a $1000 omelette.
Another brunch option, this music-inspired American joint serves things like Asian comfort food, frittatas, truffle mac and cheese and cheeseburger egg rolls. Also, there’s a Beyoncé bathroom, and all the cocktails are named after famous singers.
This restaurant is a pre-theater favorite among locals for the homemade pasta and fresh vegetables. One of their specialties is socca, a crispy chickpea pancake cooked in a brick oven. It’s basically Italian falafel, and it’s awesome.
#SpoonTip: Don’t eat gluten? Nizza has a huge gluten free menu with lots of options for every course. It’s much more accommodating than most restaurants, and this menu offers socca prepared nine different ways.
Hell’s Kitchen, aptly located in Hell’s Kitchen, is an affordable and upscale Mexican restaurant. The menu starts with a guacamole bar, so you know you’re in good hands. Sharing is encouraged — the menu is made up of mostly small plates with some full entrees. The tacos are incredible and fun to mix and match.
#SpoonTip: Over 21? Hell’s Kitchen offers a margarita flight with three seasonal flavors, and it’s a huge favorite among both locals and tourists.
8. La Masseria
Italian for “the farm,” La Masseria uses fresh ingredients to prepare farmhouse recipes. Their pasta is hard to beat, and their burrata appetizer special is one of the best in the city. The walls are decorated with Italian paintings and farm tools, making you feel at home as you dig into your tagliatelle.
9. Bond 45
The second you walk into Bond 45, you see a giant vegetable antipasto bar. Bond 45 lets you create a plate of three classic vegetables, including some of the best eggplant caponata you’ll ever have.
They offer even more vegetarian-friendly appetizers, like fired artichokes alla giudea and scalloped potato casserole. It’s a great, healthy alternative to mozzarella sticks. The menu also boasts handmade pasta, grilled fish and steak.