Broadway is finally back this fall, and thankfully so are those appetizing preshow dinner plans.
Restaurants in the Theatre District had a tough year in 2020. Most of these eateries desperately rely on the patronage of tourists and avid theatergoers, and were forced to stop dine-in service due to COVID-19. Many offered delivery and takeout options, but when your main customer is not in the immediate vicinity, and others are forced to quarantine, the returns barely kept the lights on. Waiters, kitchen staff, and restaurant management were either furloughed or let go, with no concrete plans to return. As New York City began to reopen at the beginning of 2021, many of these same restaurants remained shuttered, citing financial difficulty. The ones that have survived continue to struggle and await the day when Broadway houses throw open their doors and tourists return to the city.
As we excitedly prepare for performances in just a few short months, local theatre patrons have highlighted their favorite neighborhood restaurants. From the beloved Joe Allen to the always-open Westway Diner, the theater community encourages you to make reservations now, before you head back to the theatre and celebrate its return.
Ollie’s Sichuan (411 West 42nd Street) serves tasty authentic Sichuan food. Famous for their homemade soup dumplings and scrumptious dim sum, Ollie’s is also deliciously economical: You can feed a family of four for less than $100. And no reservation is required; even on a busy day, the wait for a table is never too long.
West Bank Café (614 9th Avenue) is a slightly more expensive contemporary American restaurant requiring a reservation for a guaranteed seat. Their indoor dining room seats 100, and a wood-lined bar sits prominently outdoors. There is also a dynamic basement cabaret you must visit if you have some time to spare before your show.
Chez Josephine (414 West 42nd Street) doubles as a romantic French-American restaurant and Josephine Baker shrine. The landmarked restaurant, inspired by the late Black American-born French entertainer, was founded in 1986, and is one of the oldest restaurants in the area. Diners rave over the pan-seared calf’s liver. And it’s encouraged to leave enough time to enjoy the live piano music.
Marseille (630 9th Avenue) is an upscale French-Mediterranean brasserie. With dim lighting and the sensuous aromas of bourguignon and tartare, Marseille is the perfect date-night preshow location.
Nizza (630 9th Avenue) is a casual Italian restaurant serving the best tastes inspired by the Italian Riviera. They offer traditional fare, like chicken Milanese and margherita pizza, but it’s their gluten-free menu that’s the ultimate highlight.
Gyu-Kaku Japanese BBQ (321 West 44th Street, #103) is part of a small Japanese barbecue chain. Whether you are a fan of the traditional ramen noodles, want a vegan delight like their Beyond Bibimbap Bowl, or want the group experience of cooking your own meats, you’ll find the food here flavorful and plenty.
Etcetera Etcetera (352 West 44th Street) is a modern Italian and Mediterranean eatery in a casual setting. You’ll always find something new here, as this restaurant offers a seasonal menu and items change up quite a bit. But the food remains stellar.
Joe Allen (326 West 46th Street) may very well be the most beloved restaurant in the Theatre District. If you’re any type of Broadway insider, you’ve dined here before. Serving traditional American comfort food, Joe Allen is the pre-show and postshow leisure hangout. If you plan to dine in a hurry, this isn’t the restaurant for you, as you’ll want to enjoy your time here. Reservations are recommended.
Patzeria Perfect Pizza (231 West 46th Street) is your no-frills Italian restaurant serving pizza and pastas. It’s the perfect spot to grab a quick bite if you have very little time before your show begins.
Becco (355 West 46th Street) is another favorite among local theatergoers. Serving up traditional Italian fare, this restaurant is famous for its affordable menu, unlimited pastas, and an expansive $33 wine list. Go hungry, leave absolutely full.
Trattoria Trecolori (254 West 47th Street) is a warm and vibrant family-owned Italian restaurant serving classic red-sauce dishes and traditional staples.
P.S. Kitchen (246 West 48th Street) is a restaurant for the vegan theatergoer. P.S. Kitchen is a small restaurant and bar with bright pink lights and a menu that will change a meat eater’s mind about traditional vegan foods.
Natsumi (226 West 50th Street) specializes in Japanese-Italian fusion cuisine. The innovative menu relies on simple preparations with dynamic flavors. This restaurant offers two separate but distinct dining experiences in two adjacent sites — a restaurant, and the bar/lounge right next door.
The Blue Dog (308 West 50th Street) is a modern American café serving quick sandwiches, salads, breakfast classics, and cocktails. Running late but still need sustenance? This is the go-to spot.
Don Antonio (309 West 50th Street) is an intimate pizza parlor with seasonal cocktails, Italian craft beers, and many gluten-free options. Perfect for a family or a quick romantic bite before your show.
El Centro (824 9th Avenue) is a small, colorful restaurant serving Mexican fare, margaritas, and sangria. Choose from 15 signature tacos, each unique in concept and taste, and don’t forget to sample drinks from the happy hour menu!
The Russian Tea Room (150 West 57th Street) is the pièce de résistance of the Theatre District. If you’re looking for continental fine dining with a significant other or just a place to chat with a group of friends over fancy high tea, this is your place.
Happy dining, and welcome back to Broadway!
Last updated and effective as of January 14, 2019
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