A few images come to mind when you mention New York: yellow cabs, soaring skyscrapers, and a variety of famous galleries and stores. However, the lively city is renowned for its thriving food culture and fine restaurants. There are 72 Michelin-starred restaurants in the Big Apple, including 5 with three stars awards, 12 with two stars, and 55 with one. With so many restaurants, coming up with a list of the best upscale restaurants in NYC is no easy task. However, based on customer reviews, quality, and service offered, we have painstakingly put together a list of the best upscale restaurants in NYC.
While New York City is known for its informal dining options (pastrami sandwiches, cream cheese bagels, and hot dogs can be found everywhere), the city is also home to some pretty upscale restaurants, many of which have amazing vistas.
In fact, we believe you could find an upscale restaurant on every street and block in NYC. In fact, we believe you could locate an upscale restaurant on every street and block in NYC.
Upscale Restaurants in Nyc
Fine eating is a requirement when in New York City! This list of the best upscale restaurants in NYC will give you ideas and inspiration if you’re looking for the sleekest upscale restaurants in NYC.
1. Eleven Madison Park
Modern French cuisine created by Swiss chef Daniel Humm, whose obsession with simplicity and fresh tastes propelled Eleven Madison Park to the top, is served at Eleven Madison Park.
The three-Michelin-star restaurant isn’t just one of the best upscale restaurants in NYC; it has consistently been in the top three of the top 100 restaurants in the world list by Elite Traveler and was named the top restaurant in the World’s 50 best.
The restaurant’s beautiful art déco dining area and impressively high ceilings offer rich views of Madison Square Park’s historic landscape. In addition to the main eating space, the restaurant’s bar area offers a variety of drinks from a creative cocktail menu.
Daniel has established himself as a benchmark for quality and perfection in food, ambiance, and service. He has received accolades from critics and has earned two Michelin stars to boot. More than 30 expertly trained cooks are under Chef Daniel, preparing amazing dishes.
Daniel, one of the most iconic upscale restaurants in NYC, offers a range of eating options, including a tasting menu in the formal dining room, delicious cocktails in the cozy bar, and custom events in the private dining room.
3. Le Bernardin
Le Bernardin, one of the most iconic upscale restaurants in NYC, has received triple-star ratings, ever since the Michelin Guide started sending its undercover reporters to New York.
Chef Eric Ripert is a maestro of modern seafood cuisine, crafting delectable dishes with East Asian and European ingredients. Presentation for both lunch and supper is a sight to behold, and the seven-course tasting menu is superb.
Aldo Sohm, the head sommelier of Le Bernardin, has won awards for his wine pairing skills, including Best Sommelier in Austria four times since 2002 and Best Sommelier in the World in 2008.
Art lovers will adore the decor since it creates the impression that they are dining in an art gallery rather than a restaurant thanks to the high quality of the artwork decorating the walls.
Having won numerous awards, including two Michelin stars, five AAA diamonds, four New York Times stars, and a spot on the list of Les Grandes Tables du Monde, this calm, intimate restaurant (one of the best upscale restaurants in NYC) from Jean-Georges Vongerichten is a haven for foodies.
The breathtaking views of Columbus Circle from the restaurant’s enormous windows leave much to be imagined. This world-class restaurant offers private dining and buyouts of the main dining area for a more personal experience.
5. Per Se
Per Se, One of the best upscale restaurants in NYC has received three Michelin stars since 2006.
Chef Thomas Keller’s flawless vision is reflected in every aspect of the food, presentation, atmosphere, and setting. The restaurant is a beautiful blend of open space and intimacy that offers subtle luxury.
It has stunning views of Central Park, its own fireplace, and a garden. Reserve a table in the dining room, which has 64 seats, or in one of the two private dining rooms.
6. Momofuku Ko
Guests are served a set multi-course tasting menu at Momofuku Ko (which means “son of”) along a cooking counter. Chef Sean Gray constantly modifies the menu based on what is available in the market and employs seasonal ingredients.
Ko has maintained its two Michelin stars for over ten years, making it one of the coolest upscale restaurants in NYC.
Marea, which in Italian means “tide,” is a restaurant that specializes in presenting seasonal fish fare. Grilled Mediterranean cuttlefish and Fusilli with red wine, braised octopus and bone marrow are two dishes on the extensive menu.
Marea, one of the best upscale restaurants in NYC, offers an amazing selection of wines and beverages, in addition to a ton of seafood and Chef Michael White’s renowned house-made pasta.
Francesco Grosso, a master sommelier, is in charge of the extensive wine list, which includes some wines from other continents as well.
You shouldn’t expect to use a menu when dining at Masa because Chef Masa Takayama prepares meals and serves customers at his discretion using a vast variety of exquisite and unique ingredients, frequently flown in from Japan.
Although he waits for your reaction to the first bite of his sushi before customizing the rest of your omakase meal, the three-Michelin-star chef does take into account your specific preferences.
The 26-seat Masa only offers one seating per dinner, and the duration of your dining experience could be up to three hours.
So if you desire the finest culinary adventure possible, then try Masa, which by the way is one of the most iconic upscale restaurants in NYC.
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9. The Modern
The food at The Modern, located in the Museum of Modern Art, is as meticulously prepared as any of the masterpieces on the walls.
In this restaurant overlooking the magnificent Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden, head chef Thomas Allan has designed a menu filled with reinvented, contemporary food.
The food is seasonal and so ever-changing, and it is supplemented by sweets prepared by a professional pastry chef and an award-winning wine list.
Its culinary excellence has earned it two Michelin stars, four James Beard Awards, a three-star rating in the New York Times, and the Wine Spectator Grand Award, making it one of the best upscale restaurants in NYC.
10. Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare
Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare is Brooklyn’s only three-Michelin-starred restaurant, and it completely deserves to be included in our list of the best upscale restaurants in NYC.
Chef Cesar Ramirez, trained by David Bouley of Tribeca, usually introduces each of the 20-plus courses and also stays through the meal.
From their seats along a U-shaped stainless steel counter, guests (18 in all) look directly into the kitchen.
From fried monkfish liver with Sancho to king crab with yuzu marmalade, the menu is a constant display of Japanese-influenced ocean treats.
11. Le Coucou
Daniel Rose, an American chef, shook up the world of fine dining in 2006 when he opened his tiny 16-seat restaurant Spring in Paris.
His modern take on old French techniques was a big hit, and he moved to the United States to create Le Coucou, where he has brought a once-forgotten cuisine back into the spotlight.
There is a notable distinction between Spring and Le Coucou. Le Coucou appears to be keeping with traditional Haute cuisine, with towering ceilings and sparkling handblown chandeliers.
The menu combines French classics with a modern American style that appeals to both traditionalists and Millenials, and it has earned one Michelin star.
12. Sushi Nakazawa
Daisuke Nakazawa is one of the best famous sushi chefs in the world, and he puts his cooking skills to the test in this beautiful West Village eatery.
His love of sushi is evident in the 20-course lunch that changes daily. To create dishes in the Edomae sushi style, ingredients are sought both domestically and internationally.
Sushi Nakazawa‘s sushi is obviously one of the best upscale restaurants in NYC, yet the ambiance is significantly more easygoing than its counterparts.
Nakazawa’s goal is to keep guests calm in a sophisticated and informal setting, and he enjoys putting on a show from the open sushi bar.
13. Blue Hill at Stone Barns
Blue Hill was opened in Greenwich Village in 2000 before moving to Tarrytown and has been creating high-quality meals for nearly twenty years, hence one of the best upscale restaurants in NYC.
Head chef Dan Barber was a Farm to Fork pioneer, and the majority of the ingredients used by Blue Hill are sourced locally from Westchester County and Massachusetts.
in 2019 Blue Hill received two Michelin stars as a result of Michelin’s decision to expand the New York guide Upstate (some say expressly for Barber’s restaurant).
14. Yakitori Torishin
If you want to try the traditional Yakitori Japanese dish, you must go to West 53rd St. in New York. Torishin, a stylish eatery, serves sake, charcoal-grilled skewers, and a chef’s choice option. You can dine either indoors or on their terrace.
Like other upmarket restaurants, the luxury counter offers a more expensive tasting menu. The less expensive options can be ordered at the tables; it’s entirely up to you. In both cases, you’ll receive a taste of a typical Yakitori dish that you should try at least once in your life.
Rezdora is last but not least on our list of Upscale restaurants in NYC. This pasta-centric Italian restaurant is a Flatiron fixture.
Chef Stefano Secchi wowed Yorkers with his seasonal pasta dishes, and he’s back with a fresh menu of summer pleasures.
Spaghetti allo scoglio and duck ragu are popular recipes. The restaurant’s enviable rise was rewarded with a Michelin star in the 2021 guide.
Paris may be the most romantic city in the world, but New York is no slacker when it comes to showing love, and its culinary scene is brimming with date night alternatives to suit any pallet.
The most eye-catchy, upscale restaurants in NYC highlighted in this piece are sure to wow for any occasion, whether it’s for a blind date, a Valentine’s Day to remember, or a nice moment for two.