Ask any New Yorker for sightseeing advice and they’ll tell you to avoid Times Square. Sure, the constantly crowded, trash-strewn and fluorescent light-lined streets are no Central Park, but a visit to the epicenter of Manhattan is a requisite part of seeing a Broadway Show, walking through Midtown or, yes, just seeing the spectacle for yourself. Luckily, Times Square isn’t just Olive Garden and Red Lobster. Some legitimately great restaurants we'd deem worth traveling for have popped up around 42nd Street and the surrounding area.
Looking for some suggestions? Here’s where to eat near Times Square:
Lidia Bastianich (you know her face from her grocery store jarred sauces) and her son Joe (formerly of Master Chef) have served their sophisticated yet comforting pastas in Midtown since the early ‘90s. This spot is best known for its signature Sinfonia of Pasta, that is, an all-you-can-eat pasta tasting menu served at both lunch and dinner. Reserve a table at Becco to carbo-load before braving a walk through Times Square.
Ignore the salacious name (though some of the burlesque photography adorning the dark walls may not necessarily be kid-appropriate) and step into this alluring steakhouse. Fill up on all the classics, like lobster bisque, jumbo shrimp cocktail and, of course, a shareable New York Strip with goose fat potatoes and creamed spinach on the side. A kosher rib eye is also available for those adhering to a kosher diet.
Golden arches and green mermaids may lure you into the familiar fast food spots, but venture a block west off Broadway to this fast-casual food hall purveying a wide variety of local specialties. Vendors in the food court style venue — which, for the record, has very stylish and comfy seating — purvey everything from lobster rolls to sushi rolls to upscale ramen, tacos, cheeseburgers and more.
If you’re celebrating a special occasion, or just in the mood to splurge, Chef Geoffrey Zakarian’s opulent Midtown dining room is the place to do it. Settle into a red leather banquette and indulge in crudo, homemade pastas and, you guessed it, rack of lamb.
Treat yourself to an over-the-top meal at this membership-free dining club. Impressive seafood towers, tiny and decadent pasta tastings, and lobster and crab-topped steaks will satisfy your palette's fancy side.
Hop off to Havana for a festive meal at this 54-year-old New York establishment now run by the O.G. Victor’s grandchildren. To help chase down those mojitos, you’ll fill up on tostones (fried plantains), lechon asado (roast pig), ropa vieja (stewed beef) and an unforgettable Cubano sandwich.
For a quick and casual meal, head to this old school pizzeria housed in a formerly abandoned church. Sit under the stained glass in this “no slices” establishment and order a pie with your choice of over 20 toppings and supplement with calzones, pasta and a parade of other classic Italian American dishes.