New York, New York! Restaurateur Chris Lucas Shares his Favourites

The Wandering Palate is off to New York and has been asking a few likeminded Wandering types where they like to eat and hang out in the Big Apple.Melbourne restaurateur, Chris Lucas, a seasoned New Yorker, having spent a good deal of time there was forthcoming in sharing his experiences.

A little word on Lucas – the hospitality industry the world over is a graveyard of chefs and restaurateurs dreams of success and glory; this is a tough, merciless industry and like most metropolis’s, the Melbourne dining public are cutthroat.

Ambitious Chefs invariably have the blurred perception it’s all about the food, if not preoccupied with achieving celebrity status. Those with no hospitality experience, which accounts for a disproportionately large number of the industry, think it’s all about atmosphere and their brilliant concept and good taste.

Very few have solid business skills or experience; more importantly, sufficient capital, and that’s why the restaurant industry is a graveyard.

There are however those with solid business acumen, extensive experience, and capital (wealth) to which Lucas ticks the box in all three, moreover he is uncannily clairvoyant in his ability to read the market, knowing the demands of the people and setting the trends.

Above all, he is damn savvy and simply understands food, wine, decor, ambience and ‘the street’ comprehensively.

Every cosmopolitan city has individuals that contribute greatly to the dining scene and evolution of culture, some establishing institutions, others saving them from oblivion, as did Lucas  when gave CPR to the Botanical Hotel, yet smart enough to cash in at its zenith.

Pearl restaurant was on a respiratory waiting for an administrator to turn of the life support, and then along came Lucas, knowing this was a jewel worth preserving.

And just when Sydney thought they had the exclusivity on modern Thai, Lucas blasts in with Chin Chin, redefining Melbourne dining scene…

Wonder what he has in mind next?

I have not edited Lucas’s recommendations or prose – purely personal and raw, but clearly he’s got the mojo and these are all tried and tested.

Circa-1930 tourists peer out of the Statue of Liberty's crown at a photographer on the torch, which has been closed to the public since a 1916 explosion on a nearby island. From the flame's tip to the ground is 305 feet (93 meters). Photo from National Geographic

Chris Lucas List of Restaurants and Hotels

Restaurants in New York – Updated June 2011

Hot New Restaurants & Bars

Monkey Bar

Elysee Hotel 60E.54thst b/w Madison and Park Avenues


The reason why I have only included the email and no number because that’s the only way into this place its arguably the hottest new in place in NYC but reservations will only be accepted they say by email good luck

Hotel Griffou

21west Ninth St bet Irving pl and Park Ave 212 353 2121 in the Village

Stunning setting five themed rooms retro American food meaning a bit of everything but this place is about the rockstars and hanging out another tuff one to get into. Slinging is your best option

Standard Grill and Boom Boom Bar

Standard Hotel Meatpacking District

846 Washington St 212 645 4100

Tucked away in this new hip hotel in the bustling meatpacking district this is a buzzy very hip modern style eatery with lots of meats and American style grills with a really great sidewalk café for coffee and just a good hang up soaking up the New York vibe. Use it as a base to check out the scene in this area, which is full of bars, great restaurants and beautiful shops. Plus as part of the hotel on the Top Floor is the hottest bar in town the Boom Boom bar the only way to get in is to make a table reservation ahead of time or bribe your way in.

Minetta Tavern

G Village 113 MacDougal St 212 475 385

Another offering from the famous creator of Balthazar this is a new style French Bistro the food is fantastic and reasonably priced its very French and that NYC hustle and bustle that makes the place the newest hangout for cool New Yorkers


88 10th Ave.(bet. 15th & 16th Sts.)
Manhattan, NY |212-989-8883

In meatpacking district Possibly the best Japanese restaurant in the world. $15m fit out amazing bar downstairs a bit like Hakkasan in London. Try the Alaskan king crab, I sat at the sushi bar its right in the middle of the action. Do not visit NYC without going to this restaurant

Asia de Cuba

Murray Hill Morgans Hotel 237 Madison Avenue b/w 37th and 38th 212 726 7755

This has been around for a few years now but it is still one of the most energetic hot spots for drinks’ and late night fun. The food is a heady cocktail of Asian Cuban fusion. The place is all white and filled to the brim with young beautiful people definitely worth a visit even for just a drink

Milos (Greek)

125 w 55thSt b/w 6th and 7th 212 245 7400

New York’s best Greek Restaurant by far, if you want amazing Greek style North American seafood this is the place, the “wet bar” houses a wall of the best possible seafood available. Don’t think old world Taverna think New York style and big time top end dining.

Del Posto

Chelsea 85 10th Avenue 212 497 8090

Another Mario Batali restaurant. Very up market big time NYC style restaurant with great Italian food. It’s the place for doing deals. The multimillion-dollar fitout and top of the line service along with one of the most extensive wine lists in the city make this a great top end experience. Hire a limo for this one and try and feel like Donald Trump without the bad hair.

Harry Cipriani

781 Fifth Ave.
(bet. 59th & 60th Sts.)
Manhattan, NY | 

There are 3 Ciprianis in Manhattan, uptown which is this one listed above then midtown near the Grand Central Station and lastly Soho, All are good but I really like this one on 5th Avenue. Definitely give the Soho a go as well lots of model types hanging out at night.

The 5th Avenue Cipriani is near the Plaza hotel, in fact just diagonally opposite and across from Central Park. Small and cosy with excellent fine dining, sophisticated and service and in a great uptown location. Food is northern Italian decor is so NYC dark paneled walls soft lighting plus leather with close low tables. If you like the very best and want to experience true Fifth Avenue style as if you really live there, you’ll be at home here. Sophisticated high-end crowd.


Chelsea, 75 Ninth St 212 989 669

This place is still great and the pan Asian foods still is excellent. In meatpacking district Fusion Asian over three levels huge place full of great bars big queues on most nights very hot must visit


401 E 73rdSt b/w 1st and York Avenues 212 249 8583

Very tiny place this you eat what the chef designs again regarded as one the best in town. This is where you go for the food experience


60 Thompson Street Hotel SOHO 212 219 2000

Funky Thai food in the very groovy 60 Thompson St hotel Very hot room and the crowd is full of New York’s who’s who

Sushi Yasuda

204 E 43rd St b/w 2nd and 3rd Avenues 212 972 1001

Near Grand central Station this is arguably the best sushi bar in NYC great for lunch when you’re shopped out going down Madison try and sit at the bar


42east 58th street between Madison and Park Avenue.

Asian fusion great bar crowd real vibe here and the Asian styled room is quite spectacular

Bon Marche

In the meatpacking district very hip bar

The Rose Bar Grammercy Hotel , Grammercey Park NYC

One of the hottest bars in NYC must make reservation in advance to get in, even hotel guest have to.

Nightclubs; Table 8, and Butter and The Avenue

Good luck getting into any of these, bribing is the best way.


110 Waverley Place b/w MacDougal St and 6th Avenue 212 777 0303

Best Italian in New York owned by Mario Batali great wine List, The restaurant is housed in a beautiful turn of the century town house or what Americans call a Carriage House. The food is arguably the best in town for northern Italian style. The Osso Bucco is the best. Again try the bar for a more casual but elegant experience. Bookings absolutely essential. PS most cab drivers can’t find it as it’s up a small street in the Village so get the hotel to arrange a car.

Giorgio Armarni Ristorante 5th Avenue

Giorgio Armani Store 5th Avenue NYC

Firstly this is the most stunning new Armani store in the world covering 5 enormous floors its art Guggenheim part Milan pure style. On the 5th floor Armani has created one the best and coolest Italian restaurants in NYC. This is a rare example of where style and substance come together in harmony. Not to mention the best cappuccino in NYC, now that’s a rare find


SOHO 80 Spring Street b/w Broadway and Crosby Streets 212 965 1414

Still the Best French Bistro in the NYC in terms of fame and atmosphere. Bookings essential or if you cant get in try the bar. Sit at the beautiful pressed metal bar have a steak frites and order a glass of Hermitage and soak the energy of one of the busiest and hippest restaurants in town. Located in Soho this is also a great place for a nice European style breakfast and about the only place in NYC where the cappuccino is actually drinkable. Major institution open for breakfast and all day and into the morning hours. Another must visit restaurant when in NYC

Pravda Bar

Around the corner from Balthazar late night bar vodka specialties only good on weekends

Mercer Kitchen

Very hip and cool good fun, part of Mercer Hotel in Soho. This restaurant has one the best bars in town. The food is not spectacular but the feel of the entire place if so New York. Try the oyster bar in the basement. Great place for breakfast as well. Then go shopping in Soho


Meatpacking district

French Bistro great for brekky and in the evening the restaurant bar is a good place to catch a quick meal and a nice glass of wine, all French, and fantastic. The bistro food is very good and the place has a great vibe

BLT Steak

Great Steak House. Very good new style steak house defiantly worth a try

Grand Central Oyster Bar & Restaurant

89 E. 42nd St., New York, NY 10017 
at Vanderbilt Ave.

New York’s famous Central station. This is the best place in town for New England Chowder and of course oysters and I mean lots of oysters. Amazing array of seafood fish grills and in a beautiful old world space under the worlds most famous station Also visit the rest of the food hall it’s a lot of fun. Again great for lunch

Spice Market

Meatpacking, 403 West 13th street 212 675 2322

Delicious for drinks one of the best decors in town casual hip Asian Food and full of gorgeous girls. The Melbourne one is a rip off of this one.

Per Se

Time Warner Centre, 10 Columbus Circle 4th Floor 212 823 9335

Thomas Keller’s very and over the top fine dinging restaurants was rated the best rest in America in the new Time Warner Centre the best formal restaurant in NYC. Best to try and get in for lunch views are great over Central Park and on to 5th Avenue. Of course bookings here are probably the hardest to come by in and of NYC. One of the most extravagant food experiences I’ve ever had and probably the best service I have ever experienced in a restaurant

Alain Ducasse at the Essex House

Central park if you can’t get into Per Se next best bet. Very formal old world stuff if you like this sort of thing

Pizza in New York

Pizza is a bit of a traditional thing in NYC but usually it falls well short of the stuff that Australians regard as good. Lately there has been a renaissance in hip new style European pizza places. Here are some the best and most stylish

Otto Greenwich Village

Co. Cheslea 230 Ninth Avenue

Keste Pizza e Vino Greenwich Village 271 Bleeker Street

Velcoe Pizzeria


You might also like:

Domaine de la Romanee Conti vs the World Blind Tasting Results
Barcelona Bathes in Beirut
Sarong Restaurant spices, Bali
Life is filling in time between meals…
London Calling
The Golfer’s Palate – Andrew Cormie

No comments to New York, New York! Restaurateur Chris Lucas Shares his Favourites | Comments Feed

No comments yet

The comments are closed.