A new breed of haute museum restaurants gives you a reason to come back after hours.
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The days of museum dining meaning a glorified cafeteria has given way to a new crop of in-house restaurants that are turning out food worthy of destination dining. Here are our favorites.
Frank Lloyd Wright’s spiraling Guggenheim is home to the Wright, a sleek, almost all-white space that’s reminiscent of the master’s architecture. The restaurant, helmed by executive chef Rodolfo Contreras, who worked with David Bouley, keeps things interesting with a rotating menu that pays homage to the museum’s exhibitions. During a Picasso show, for example, the Wright dished out Serrano ham and Spanish cheese, and fine sakes are currently being featured in honor of an Asian exhibit. The Wright: 1071 Fifth Avenue, 212.427.5690
Sitting on top of the Museum of Art & Design, Robert is a sleek gem with terrific views stretching up Broadway and across Central Park. Executive chef Luisa Fernandes, winner of Food Network’s Chopped in 2009, has built a menu of modern American cuisine that incorporates global flavors, especially those of Asia. It changes seasonally, but perennial favorites such as tuna carpaccio pizza tend to stick around. Robert: 2 Columbus Circle, 212.299.7730
The Whitney Museum is dedicated to American art, so it makes sense that it would serve the best of American cuisine. Part of Danny Meyer’s restaurant kingdom, Untitled offers contemporary farm-to-table dining options in what feels like the most pleasant coffee shop in the world. Beloved classics such as grilled cheese sandwiches, burgers, milk shakes, and apple pie are elevated by artisanal touches and local ingredients. Untitled at the Whitney: 945 Madison Avenue, 212.570.3670
Set inside the newly refurbished New-York Historical Society, Caffè Storico plays heavily off the city’s Italian heritage. Executive chef Jim Burke, a James Beard Award finalist, turns out housemade pasta and superb Venetian-inspired cicchetti, accompanied by an all-Italian wine list. History never tasted so good. Caffè Storico: 170 Central Park West, 212.485.9211