Best New York Restaurants for Out-of-Office PR Meetings
Whether you’re seeking to impress a potential new prospect, looking to bond with a client, or just want to get away from the office with colleagues, it’s important to have a handful of restaurants in your back pocket. Especially in New York City, where there are seemingly endless choices. Whatever you are in the mood for, whatever your special dietary needs, you can find the perfect place in the “greatest city in the world.”
With this in mind, we put together a quick list of some of our favorites that never fail to impress:
- Upper West Side
- Elea, a new venue from the team behind Nur (also an excellent spot—see below), has wonderful Mediterranean and Greek food with something for everyone, but is more inventive than a standard crowd-pleaser.
- The Aviary is the lauded cocktail and small bites bar from a renowned Chicago chef. Located in the Mandarin Oriental at Columbus Circle, it’s sure to make your guests say “wow” at least once.
- Upper East Side
- Flora Bar is a visually-striking restaurant inside the Met Breuer museum. Flora handles seafood very well, and is great for small and shared plates.
- Jones Wood Foundry is a slightly upscale British bar that offers traditional pub food, like shepherd’s pie, and the best sticky toffee pudding in the city. Wine, champagne and beer are aplenty, but no spirits are sold here. A great spot for a casual meeting that won’t get too loud.
- Midtown East
- Empellon Midtown is Alex Stupak’s biggest and boldest Empellon (he owns many restaurants of the same name that offer completely different menus). It’s best known for the shared starters and desserts. The dessert tacos are a standout, and the food will likely serve as a topic of conversation, at least for its uniqueness.
- The Grill is a bit of a time machine back to the days of big flashy steakhouses and white tablecloths. Though extremely pricey, the food delivers and the atmosphere will make everyone feel like a 1980s powerbroker.
- Agern, inside Grand Central Terminal, offers astoundingly good Nordic food. Don’t mistake the short descriptor as underselling Agern – the spot is cozy, yet upscale, and is among the best in the area. Despite its upscale food and design, it often feels most appropriate for less-formal meetings.
- Little Alley has somehow avoided the spotlight for its Shaghainese food, and has great xiao long bao (dumplings filled with soup). Possibly one of the best picks in the area for something fun.
- Midtown West
- Gabriel Kreuther is difficult to quickly describe, but has exceptional food on the north side of Bryant Park. The restaurant also owns a chocolatier next door, if you’re somehow still hungry. The prix fixe lunch menu is reasonably priced for the atmosphere and quality, making the restaurant an excellent option for anyone aiming to impress.
- Le Bernardin is perhaps one of the most famous, and expensive, spots in New York. Its worst-guarded secret is that the restaurant offers many of its best courses as a la carte options for lunch in its more casual lounge room — a great way to experience one of the nation’s elite restaurants.
- Le Marais is one of the best kosher restaurants in New York and evokes the famous Paris arrondissement. You can’t go wrong with the classic steak frites, and the duck and hangar steak are standouts as well. It’s so good you’ll find it hard to believe that there is not a drop of butter or cream being used.
- Nur, simply put, has the best Israeli and Mediterranean food in New York, and is a bargain for its quality. Take anyone here for any kind of meeting, if you can get a table. It’s currently dinner-only on weekdays, unfortunately.
- Gramercy Tavern is no secret to any New Yorker at this point, nor is its “secret” burger, but the spot is reliable and somehow still impressive after all these years. A safe and solid bet for most meetings.
- Union Square Cafe is a Manhattan staple, and the best place to get classic American dishes with inventive twists. The cafe it owns next door (Daily Provisions) has the best donuts in the city, though they typically sell out by noon.
- Barbounia – Think Nur, but more shareable and standard fare.
- The Breslin has my pick for the best burger in the city, a lamb and feta burger served with thrice-fried duck fat fries, with a side of cumin hummus. Take anyone here that is an adventurous eater, as the chef serves out-of- the-ordinary cuts of meat.
- Upland is “versatile” in the best sense of the word. A bright and breezy restaurant with well-done versions of California food and a decent shot at celebrity spotting feels most appropriate for an informal conversation.
- ABCv, the third “ABC” restaurant inside the super-fun design store, is the vegetarian and vegan focused restaurant. It’s also the best of the three, and has great shared plates for any meeting.
- “Lower Manhattan” (Broadly)
- The Russ & Daughters cafe, the sit-down restaurant offshoot of the epic Jewish appetizing deli “Russ & Daughters”, has the best smoked fish around. Anyone with a Jewish grandmother will feel at home ordering Yiddish-named plates, like Shtetl and Boychik.
- Le CouCou, the Nolita French restaurant, is one of the most exciting spots for unique takes on classic French fare. It’s excellent for formal meetings, and is maybe the most beautifully designed space in the city.
- Manhatta, on the 60th floor of its building, boasts views that stretch as far as The Rockaways on a good day. The food isn’t quite as impressive yet, but helmed by Danny Meyer, expect that to change. Beautiful design, and a standout dessert menu make it the best location to impress guests in downtown Manhattan without breaking the bank.
- General New York Chains — These restaurants are not quite national chains, yet have locations throughout the city and have proven to be reliable options:
- The Smith focuses on providing an enormous menu and impressively delivers on most of its offerings. Expect classic takes on “American” food (burgers, pasta, sandwiches) done well in a relaxed setting.
- Fig & Olive has locations throughout most of middle-Manhattan and has always served us well for Mediterranean food.
- JG Melon and PJ Clarks offer pretty standard American menus, but the standouts at each are the burgers and beers.
- Sarabeth’s is one of the better options for breakfast and brunch options, if a bit uninspired. A solid, safe pick for morning meetings.
- “Quality” — The chain of “Quality” restaurants is vast, including Italian, Meats, and Eats, and are good spots for almost any occasion or type of meeting.
Armed with a shortlist of viable, interesting, and impressive restaurants around the city, future out-of-office meetings will be a tad more noteworthy and fun. After all, when it comes to building a successful meeting, everything counts, especially the food.
By Frank Taylor, Account Supervisor