"It's cozy to have a neighborhood place you love, like Sant Ambroeus (259 W. 4th St.; 212/604-9254; dinner for two $110) and return a few times a week," says Mizrahi. "It has a kind of Village glamour, like it's been there for years." The other place he can't live without is Il Cantinori (32 E. 10th St.; 212/673-6044; dinner for two $110), where he has been going since he was a kid. "I had a million first dates there. I've had birthdays there. And I've dined there after funerals. It's full of memories, and the food's good. I eat the same thing almost every time: grilled whole striped bass and cauliflower."
Mizrahi recently taped a segment for his TV show in the wine-cellar room at 21 (21 W. 52nd St.; 212/582-7200; dinner for two $150), a former speakeasy, and was taken by the special bottles that line the walls. "There's a bottle for Elizabeth Taylor, a bottle for Richard Nixon—I don't know what they think they are going to do with that—and a bottle for Jocelyn Wildenstein. Maybe it's her secret elixir—you know, like the one in Death Becomes Her. I should have asked for a shot."
The former Studio 54 habitué says he is too old to go out these days and would rather go somewhere grown-up like Knickerbocker (33 University Place; 212/228-8490) for a late-night soufflé than to some trendy club for girlie pink drinks. "What am I going to do?Hang out with a Brazilian model in a clingy dress or a big tall guy with muscles?They're the last people I want to talk to!"
People Who See People
A fussy patron of the paranormal, Mizrahi chooses his psychics as carefully as his fabrics. "There's my astrologer, Maria Napoli, who I've been seeing since I was eighteen. I go to her every six months for a checkup, like you would a doctor." But since getting an appointment with Napoli is as difficult as getting into the Oscars, Mizrahi also recommends Tony LeRoy (877/818-2700). "I see him for tarot readings two or three times a year. He's a real optimist."
A Dog's Life
A subscriber to writer E. B. White's theory of selective privacy in New York, Mizrahi and his dog, Harry ("part border collie, part golden retriever, part Yeshiva graduate"), like nothing more than to be alone by the Hudson at the dog run by the West Side Highway. "I love it there in the winter because it feels obscure, like no one knows about it."
The designer frequently finds himself strolling down 43rd between 9th and 10th Avenues. "It's so Sesame Street, so happy tenement! I keep expecting a puppet to jump out of a garbage can." His pit stops:
• Mario Batali's seafood restaurant Esca (402 W. 43rd St.; 212/564-7272; lunch for two $70). "I love the crudo, but I can't have it for lunch because it upsets my stomach—God, I sound like my mother."
• The pool at the Manhattan Plaza Health Club (482 W. 43rd St.; 212/563-7001; day pass, $35 per adult), where he has been swimming for more than 20 years.
• Good and Plenty to Go (410 W. 43rd St.; 212/268-4385; dinner for two $24). "I eat at a sidewalk table even in the freezing winter."