Travel Review New York City

“The city seen from the Queensboro Bridge is always the city seen for the first time, in its first wild promise of all the mystery and the beauty in the world.” F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

There are large cities, metropolises, giant cities and then there is New York. No other city can quite compare to New York, the wealth of its diversity, the size of its skyscrapers,  the creative buzz coupled with a never ending choice of bars, restaurants, clubs and stores. As New York constantly reinvents itself even locals struggle to keep up. At the same, traffic jams, long queues  and the notorious impudence of New York’s residents can be nerve-racking. Yes, New York is loud, chaotic, crowded and yet it is also the most inspiring, energizing and exhilarating city in the world. La Bonne Vivante spent a great time in the city which never sleeps and is thrilled to bring you the hottest recommendations on where to eat, party and sleep …if you dare !

Where to eat:

Nomad: Discreetly tucked away on the ground floor of the Nomad hotel,  this restaurant is one of New York’s hottest places to dine. Its dimly lit, opulent dining room has also become the living room of celebrities and New York’s in crowd who flock here at any given night. While the Nomad can’t boast any views, it offers a sophisticated, intimate and upscale ambiance, French menu and a large choice of cocktails. Also the service is impeccable. Don’t leave without trying Nomad’s signature desert “Milk and Honey” which is served with dehydrated milk (tastes much better than it sounds)  and revives memories of childhood insomnia cured with a warm glass of milk with honey. We also love their signature cocktail “Into the Woods” which tastes like a refined version of a pisco sour. Be aware though; a few of those killer cocktails will literally make you go into the woods! Reservation essential.!/dining/menus/dinner

Tao: Located at Meatpacking, this restaurant feels as if Bangkok just merged with Ibiza. We venture into the sultry basement and arrive at the gigantic, dim lit dining room bursting with people  We are immediately captivated by the Asian decor and the large Buddha statue which changes its color and shape. The dining room can host approximately 500 people and while that sounds like a lot Tao does not seem overly crowded. Once you have taken your seat,  the restaurant has an almost intimate feel to it and the music is loud enough for others not to overhear your conversations and quite enough to have a conversation without shouting at each other. Combine this with a delicious Asian menu full of all-time favorites and a knock-out cocktail menu, add a hot night club next door and here is the perfect recipe for a fun night out! Reservation essential.

River Cafe: If you are in the mood for an upscale meal with a beautiful view, River Cafe might just be for you. Tucked underneath Brooklyn bridge, this romantic restaurant isn’t easy to spot at first glance.  While the rest of Manhattan might be bogged down by uber-cool minimalistic decor the River Cafe remains true to its old-fashioned and decisevely French interior. The River Garden just outside the restaurant is pretty, the service is top notch however it is the view of Manhattan and the Hudson River which is the real star here. The 3 course lunch menu at 45 USD is a good opportunity to indulge in the upscale menu while marveling this incredible view.

Red Rooster: Tired of Manhattan’s boisterous dining options? Venture to Harlem for a relaxed dinner at the Red Rooster. Founded by Swedish celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson, this restaurant has been highly acclaimed by celebrities and foodies alike. The ambiance at Red Rooster is warm, authentic and refreshingly unpretentious without the eye-watering bill at the end. The kitchen is inspired by American comfort food with a  Swedish twist. Our favorite dish of the evening is the Hot Chicken and Waffle, a unusual yet delicious combination of a regular waffle and fried chicken.

Kitchen: Restaurant Mogul David Burke’s Kitchen located at the James hotel is a great place  for a laidback lunch in Soho. The restaurant’s terrace is a delightful, airy oasis away from New York’s buzz. Indulge in the restaurant’s great choice of comfort food. Do not leave without trying the cheesecake tree, pralines of cheese cake coupled with strawberries all beautifully decorated on a tree. Delicious!

The Modern: Steps away from the Moma the Modern caters to famished art aficionados. This sophisticated restaurant offers a light a la carte lunch menu and an arty buzz while guests at neighbour tables discuss Pollock’s works or the latest art gallery opening. The service is appropriately refined.

La Laterna di Vittorio: This restaurant can boast a beautiful outdoor seating area covered by a glass ceiling and decorated with pretty lanterns which it derives its name from. Come here for lunch and indulge in a selection of light meal options such as quiche or smoked chicken which are served with a green salad. Laterni di Vittorio is also a very affordable option and the service is super friendly.

Primi Bar: Fancy an Italian dinner in a relaxed atmosphere? Primi, located only steps away from Bowery hotel is an intimate Italian restaurant which serves Italian specialities with a small outdoor seating perfect for a hot summer night.

Bars & Clubs:

Pensinsula: This chic roof top bar is located on 5th Avenue. With its stunning view it makes for an ideal place for an aperitif .

Gansevoort:  The roof top bar at Gansevoort has a spacious terrace overlooking the meatpacking district. This is still a classic in New York and a great place for a relaxed pre-dinner drink before you head to the many trendy restaurants in the neighbourhood.

Standard: The Standard Rooftop bar might not be the prettiest however it is certainly one of the most famous roof top bars of New York. Even if you are not staying for a drink, it is worth taking the elevator to marvel the view.

Cipriani: Venture to Wall Street and have an aperitif at the Cipriani overlooking the Financial district.

Tao Club: For a night out in downtown head to Tao club which is conveniently located next to Tao restaurant. The decor resembles that of Tao Restaurant and only the giant Buddha is missing.

Where to sleep:

The Intercontinental Barclay: Located in the heart of midtown, the Intercontinental Barclay is only a 5 minute stroll from the Grand Central Terminal, Times Square and 5th Avenue . The hotel has recently been refurbished. With its art nouveau decor, black and white checked marble floors and chandeliers, it exudes a special charm and takes us back to New York in the 1920’s.  The concierge team deserves special mentioning as they are spot on, very patient and will go the extra mile to optimize your stay. Adrian planned out our entire day from breakfast, lunch, sights to mani pedi, dinner and a broadway show in a jaw dropping matter of minutes.

The Bowery hotel: This is where celebrities and A-listers put up at. The granny turned messy decor complete with crocheted tablecloths isn’t for everyone and the rooms are small, even for New York standards. Nevertheless, the location is great with a good choice of restaurants nearby. Go for a run at Washington Square Park which is located only a few kilometers from here.

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