There’s dining in NYC, and then there’s–add a little bit of *spice*–unique, quirky dining in NYC!
To be honest, the city’s restaurant scene is unmatched, unrivaled, endless–okay we’ll stop there–but why constantly head to all the typical run-of-the-mill spots when you can dine somewhere that steps outside the box?!
Step inside a Tim Burton-themed spot where every day is Halloween or dig into chocolate ham croquettes and a chocolate chicken sandwich–either way we can guarantee you one thing: it won’t be your ordinary dining experience! There are endless unique restaurants in NYC, and these are some of our favorite ones:
1. Bad Roman, Columbus Circle
We had to give a shout out to Bad Roman on this list for one main reason–the statue of a wild boar that stands as the restaurant’s main focal point. Beyond the interest-piquing maximalist design choices, newly opened Bad Roman is an Italian restaurant that’s also not an Italian restaurant–at least not in the strict sense of the word. Opulence meets whimsical vibes here, and it’s just one spot you need to dine at at least once. Read more about it here.
📍 10 Columbus Circle – 3rd floor of the Time Warner Center
2. Ellen’s Stardust Diner, Theater District
“Home of the Original World-Famous Singing Waitstaff, The Stardusters,” Ellen’s Stardust Diner is a retro 1950s-themed restaurant that transports you to a star-studded atmosphere. It’s definitely a great place to go for dinner and entertainment, and the best part is that the singing waitstaff is actually good–many have gone on to have successful careers on Broadway and American Idol!
📍 1650 Broadway
3. Beetle House, East Village
If you’ve ever dreamed of living inside a Tim Burton movie (🙋♀️) now’s your chance at the Tim Burton-themed Beetle House. As one of our favorite quirky restaurants in NYC, where else can you dig into dishes like The Edward Burger Hands, Killer Coq Au Vin, or Poison Berry Lemon Bars while getting harassed by Beetlejuice himself?! Answer: nowhere. Every day is Halloween here, and we’re definitely not mad about it!
📍 308 E 6th St.
4. Ichiran, Multiple Locations
One of our favorite places to go for a delicious bowl of ramen also doubles as the best place to go if you’re dining solo–their individual booths make for the perfect place to enjoy a meal sans company, and you don’t even have to talk to the waiter! Quirky in the sense that it’s not every day you find a quiet place to dine in NYC, Ichiran is definitely a go-to.
📍 Multiple Locations
5. Leuca, Greenpoint
We’re sure there’s not many times you can say you’ve eaten your meal blindfolded, but at Leuca you can! ‘Dining in the Dark: A Unique Blindfolded Dining Experience at Leuca’ is a night out where the flavors and textures of your meal are intensified by your remaining senses–and being 80% of people eat with their eyes, this unique dining experience is definitely a fun one to try for yourself! Grab your tickets here.
📍 111 N 12th St.
6. Alice’s Tea Cup, Multiple Locations
Fall down the rabbit hole at Alice’s Tea Cup, NYC’s most whimsical tea house! While not exactly a restaurant, this Alice in Wonderland-inspired tea house still deserves a spot on our list. Visitors can enjoy afternoon tea with unlimited tea, finger sandwiches, scones, and cookies. Keep an eye out for the Cheshire Cat during this unparalleled, magical experience!
📍 Multiple Locations
7. Dinner Party, Fort Greene
Founded in 2021 by six young women with no professional cooking experience–most of whom were strangers when they started but grew to become lifelong friends by the end of the first month open–this restaurant makes you feel like you’ve arrived at a dinner party in a friend’s cozy home! Take a seat next to some strangers and enjoy the cuisine which falls somewhere between French, Italian, and, according to the chef, “Californian.”
📍 86 South Portland Ave.
8. Grand Banks, Tribeca
This Tribeca waterfront restaurant surprised us New Yorkers this season opening 2 weeks earlier than usual, and if you’re looking to dig into fresh oysters while floating in the water, this is the place to go. This spot finds itself on our list of quirky restaurants in NYC as it’s modeled after the oyster barges found on the waterfront in the 19th century, so you’re literally dining on a boat! Head here for all things seafood and unbeatable summer vibes. Learn more about Grand Banks here.
📍 Pier 25 – West St.
9. Chocobar Cortés, South Bronx
If all things chocolate is your vibe, Chocobar Cortés is a must-visit. Giving Willy Wonka a run for his money, chocolate is the star ingredient on this restaurant’s menu where you can find everything from ham croquettes with a dark chocolate dipping sauce and a chicken sandwich with chocolate balsamic vinaigrette, to a bloody mary with, you guessed it, chocolate bitters. Read more about this sweet spot here.
📍 141 Alexander Ave.
10. Enoteca Maria, Staten Island
What’s better than grandma’s cooking? Answer: nothing. And Enoteca Maria is proving this–literally! This restaurant celebrates cultural diversity by serving cuisines from around the world, but the best part: the chefs are real grandmothers from every country across the globe that are invited to cook the recipes handed down to them from their families. You can find out what cuisine will be served up on their calendar here.
📍 27 Hyatt St.