Hitting a Broadway show is a NYC tradition for both locals and tourists, but finding a good restaurant near it can be quite a daunting task. When you think of the Theater District, Midtown, and even parts of Hell’s Kitchen, you may assume that finding an excellent culinary variety can prove difficult. But fear not! We rounded up the best spots to grab some food before you hit the show. Here are the best Theater District restaurants for your big night out!
1. Le Bernardin
We’re starting off our list on the fancier side, but why not treat yourself right before a Broadway play? Le Bernardin is a Michelin-starred French restaurant that offers luxurious seafood, perfect for a pre-show meal. While we must admit that snagging a reservation at this spot is just as tricky as getting Broadway tickets, it’s totally worth it. Choose between a four-course meal, a “Chef’s Tasting,” a “Vegetable Tasting,” or settle with some more affordable bites on their a la carte menu. Prices are expensive but the quality of food prepared by head chef Eric Ripert is unmatched.
Where: 155 W 51st St
2. Gallagher’s Steakhouse
What was once a speakeasy over 8o years ago, Gallaghers Steakhouse is the perfect spot to hit if you’re craving steak or meat. Paired with their signature cocktails, their specialty in steaks (thanks to their meat-aging room) makes them one of the best spots in Times Square for beef. They also feature a variety of seafood, raw bar options, salads, and more, but if you’re going to make a reservation here, at least consider ordering one of their famous dishes. Reservations are highly recommended and adhering to their classier dress code is encouraged.
Where: 228 W 52nd St
3. Pure Thai Cookhouse
Ready to slurp down on some traditional Thai noodles? Pure Thai Cookhouse in Hell’s Kitchen is the ideal food spot to feed your craving before you strut to Broadway! Pure specializes in authentic Thai dishes that will have your mouth watering. We personally love the Ratchaburi Crab & Pork Dry Noodles, their variety of appetizers, and their Wok Stir-Fried Noodles and Rice entrees. Meals here are also very affordable and will mirror the experience of getting an actual meal from a Thai street stand.
Where: 766 9th Ave (between 51st and 52nd Sts.)
4. Joe Allen
We can’t put together a list of pre-Broadway restaurants without mentioning Joe Allen, where you’ll find anyone from tourists to Broadway stars themselves! Pull up to the bar and order a fancy drink or sit down for a nice meal, all while you browse their constantly rotating menu consisting of sandwiches, salads, main entrees, and so much more. Their intimate space comes complete with mood lighting, great staff, and an overall embrace in theater culture. Their website even offers the latest Broadway schedule to help you plan your reservation!
Where: 326 W 46th St
5. Totto Ramen
Totto Ramen in Hell’s Kitchen is the ultimate paitan ramen joint that allows you to customize your meal! Mix and match your choice of meat, noodles, and toppings to create the ultimate masterpiece, right before the show. All ingredients are incredibly fresh and make for a delicious meal, no matter what you decide on! They also have vegetarian ramen too! Stick around for their sake options as well because they are some of our favorites.
Where: 464 W 51st St
6. 44 & X
One of our favorite menus on this list has to go to 44 and X’s summer 2022 menu, consisting of reinvented American classic meals. Full of comfort foods like buttered fried chicken, rack of lamb, and so many more, you can choose between one of their main entrees, salads, or starters (that are perfect if you’re bringing a large crew in before a show). If you’re looking for an upscale American restaurant with some theater-themed accents, give this spot a try. Even ask for one of their outdoor tables if the weather is right!
Where: 622 10th Ave, (Corner of 44th St)
One of our favorite restaurant atmospheres is at Guantanamera, who serves authentic Cuban food and provides the ultimate vibes. Enjoy the candle-lit tables, exposed brick, and hand-painted folkloric murals all while chowing down on their Ceviche or Vaca Frita! But if there’s one thing you must do is try their famous mojito (which comes in Traditional, Pineapple, Mango, Guava, Coconut, Strawberry, or Passion Fruit flavors)! They are the perfect drink to start the night and keep the energy high as you walk to the show! Plus, if you like this spot, be sure to stop by after the play when it turns into a dance party with live Cuban music!
Where: 939 8th Ave
8. Bar Centrale
Bar Centrale is the Theater District’s best kept secret, tucked away inside a brownstone building. The cozy atmosphere is the sister bar to Joe Allen and is the perfect little hideaway to enjoy a pre-show drink of choice. While they do have a menu of food that are perfect for sharing with friends and family, this spot is more about the cocktails than anything. If you’re up for a sophisticated drink, stroll through the blue velvet curtains at the entrance to see what’s in store.
Where: 324 W 46th St
9. Glass House Tavern
The Glass House Tavern is a true warm tavern, making it one of our favorite spots in Times Square to eat before a play. The reason we love this spot so much is their diversity in the menu. No matter if you’re looking for a true dinner experience beforehand (like trying their daily fish special or another meat entree), or are leaning towards a quick bite from their bar menu, you can fill any size craving you may have. Plus, their staff is very welcoming and ensures your service will be timely before your show!
Where: 252 W 47th St
10. Los Tacos No. 1
We absolutely love this quaint Times Square taqueria! Los Tacos No. 1 has a few NYC locations, but none more convenient than Times Square when you’re itching for a pre-show taco. They serve varieties of tacos, quesadillas, and tortilla chips, and at an extremely fantastic price. The staff is dedicated to their craft and the portions are perfect to take on the walk to the theater! Trust us, this is the perfect pit stop!
Where: 229 W 43rd St
11. Aldo Sohm Wine Bar
Aldo Sohm Wine Bar is affiliated with Le Bernardin across the way and is a cozy and relaxed wine bar that takes the feel of an intimate living room. Their nearly 10 page list of wines is something to lo and behold, and their small plates aren’t bad either. The price range of wines varies from affordable brands to more luxurious ones, and you can even buy by the bottle. Check out this spot if a couch and charcuterie is calling your name.
Where: 151 W 51st St
12. La Grande Boucherie
La Grande Boucherie is one of our favorite Theater District restaurants, thanks to their authentic French roots and excellent steakhouse atmosphere. This enormous restaurant can sit over 500 guests and is one of the largest restaurants in the city! They specialize in French cuisine classics like charcuterie and seafood, but also have timeless bistro food and dry-aged steaks. Don’t forget about the drinks though! Take some time when you sit down to thumb through their drinks menu which is highlighted by their absinthe-driven signature cocktails.
Where: 145 W 53rd St
For a go-to affordable Japanese spot, try Donburiya, an izakaya near Times Square. Most of the items on the menu are under $18 and include things like donburi bowls, onigiri, and curries. As for the atmosphere, it feels more like a bar than a traditional Japanese restaurant, but it’s perfect for stopping before a show. Plus, it’s open until 2:30 am if you’re hungry for more after!
Where: 253 W 55th St
14. Sushi of Gari 46
We included Sushi of Gari 46 in our list of best sushi spots in NYC a few months ago, and it’s for great reason! This small and intimate setting is perfect for an omakase meal beforehand or ideal for picking and choosing from their a la carte menu. Their chefs are friendly, knowledgable, and passionate about their work, making it enjoyable to browse their menu. Since the space is quite limited, we recommend reserving a spot before you go!
Where: 347 W 46th St
15. NYY Steak
NYY Steak is a New York Yankees themed concept restaurant in collaboration with the Hard Rock Hotel in Midtown. This premium steakhouse is home to heritage-sourced steaks, local market seafood, and creative main dishes that are served on fine china inscribed with retired Yankee player numbers. The restaurant interior is complete with tons of Yankees memorabilia and is the perfect restaurant for any Yankees fan who also loves Broadway.
Where: 159 W 48th St
L’Amico is a product of Executive Chef Laurent Tourondel, who mixes an American menu with Italian influences. Thanks to his Italian upbringing in Europe, Tourondel has put together a menu that simply doesn’t disappoint. You can find everything from delicious pizzas made in a wood-burned oven to fresh pasta to even a mouthwatering charcuterie board. This American-Italian joint will surely hit the spot before a show.
Where: 849 Avenue of the Americas
17. Terrace and Outdoor Gardens
Located in the Edition Times Square Hotel, the Terrace and Outdoor Gardens is a casual and elegant dining destination inspired by French brasseries and American chophouses. Their menu includes homemade pastas, steaks and chops as well as a variety of vegetable dishes. Some of our favorite dishes include the mushroom carpaccio, vegan carrot bolognese, and a vibrant broccoli cacio e pepe!
Where: 701 7th Ave (at W 47th)
18. Skirt Steak
Skirt Steak is a modern rustic restaurant that serves up a steak deal you absolutely can’t resist! Once you sit down, glance through their menu of steaks with Béarnaise sauce, field greens and unlimited fries that are priced at only…$30. Now, that’s what we call a steal! This spot is located in the Hotel Aventi and is perfect for the whole family or even a pre-show date night, so be sure to stop by beforehand.
Where: 849 Avenue of the Americas
19. Victor’s Cafe
Last but not least on our list is Victor’s Cafe which stays true to its motto of “Extraordinary Cuban Cuisine. Awesome Cocktails. Great Vibe.” The interior is decorated with vibrant murals and plants that genuinely bring you into another world. Their menu is full of Cuban classics like Pollo Manigua (Cuban adobo roasted bone-in air-chilled chicken breast, sweet potato purée, watercress salad, Cuban mojo vinaigrette) and Lechón Asado (Traditional roast pig marinated 24 hours, slowly roasted overnight in Cuban style mojo, garlic mojo yucca, moros). Don’t forget about their mojito and sangria list too!
Where: 236 W 52nd St
20. Charlie Palmer Steak
Revolutionizing the traditional steakhouse concept, Charlie Palmer Steak creates an extremely customizable experience for each visitor! Their American menu comprised of steaks, seafood, and more is admirable, but what we love most about this place is their recently opened “The Patio” space. Its an outdoor floral oasis that makes for perfect pre-theater dining, especially if you go on the right day. “Tequila Tuesdays” and “Oyster Fridays” are just some of the daily promos they run, so check this spot out before you hit the show.
Where: 135 W 42nd St
Located at the LUMA Hotel Times Square, this chic Italian restaurant and cocktail bar makes enjoying the food and drink so easy! This restaurant, inspired by the Italian tradition of apertivo, focuses on a European way of eating: small bites, sharing, and lingering at the table over wine or an aperitif. Their menu includes anything you desire, from pasta to pizza to oysters to seafood. If you’re going with a group, we suggest this place for drinks and small plates!
Where: 120 W 41st St