There are lots of wonderful things about the Gramercy Park neighborhood—the wide and quiet streets, the gorgeous historic buildings, the proximity to transit hubs and shops, and of course the park itself! With all of those perks top of mind, one aspect of living in the Gramercy area that doesn’t get nearly enough attention is the food. Dining around Gramercy is divine; the neighborhood is filled with spots to satisfy each and every one of your cravings. There are too many top-tier restaurants in the Gramercy Park neighborhood to fully cover in one post, so I’ll start with a few of my personal favorites across three different styles of cuisine.
IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR FARM-TO-TABLE FINE DINING, I RECOMMEND:
Farmer & The Fish. One of my favorites, Farmer & The Fish specializes in locally-grown farm-to-table food while also offering incredibly fresh seafood and an amazing raw bar.
Located on Park Avenue South, Farmer & The Fish’s unique claim to fame is that the restaurant gets all of its produce from its own four-acre farm in North Salem; by using terraced fields, a large greenhouse, and a huge root cellar, Farmer & The Fish’s team of agricultural and food industry pros is able to continually provide fresh, local produce and fish year-round for their restaurants. Chef Michael Kaphan, former executive chef of trendy Soho spot Zoe, partnered with Downeast Seafood wholesaler and restaurateur Edward Taylor to combine sustainable farming practices with fresh seafood and refined gourmet skill. While there are a two other locations in more rural areas, this is their only outpost in the city, and the only location helmed by Kaphan himself. Farmer & The Fish is an elevated dining experience that’s good for you and good for the planet.
Farmer & The Fish is open 7 days for lunch and dinner. Call 646-998-5991 for reservations.
IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR A CLASSIC, CASUAL FRENCH CAFE (AT 4 A.M.), I RECOMMEND:
L’Express. One door down from Farmer & The Fish, L’Express is one of the best French cafés in the city—and it’s open 24/7!
This is Gramercy’s own charming neighborhood bistro, serving up traditional French Lyonnaise café cuisine all day and through the night (with French-style sidewalk seating when it’s nice out). L’Express is fairly casual, and you’ll find yourself dining alongside brisk business lunchers, tourists having leisurely dinners, and locals stopping in for a quick bite. Despite the fact that it operates 24/7, L’Express is no greasy all-night diner—the food is delectable, bolstered by a menu filled with dishes you’d actually find in real French cafés and bistros. Next time you’re out past 11 and hungry, don’t grab a $1 pizza slice—treat yourself to a croque monsieur or some decadent late-night escargot.
Farmer & The Fish is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. Menus vary by time of day. Call 212-254–5858 for reservations.
IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR A BOOZY, BUBBLY BRUNCH, I RECOMMEND:
Barbounia. If you stayed out too late at L’Express, head to Barbounia in the morning and smother your morning-after exhaustion in their famous brunch menu.
Known for bottomless champagne and mouth-watering Mediterranean-style breakfast, their brunch service is always bustling due to the the $20 endless mimosa deal—but the food is just as worthwhile as the deals on bubbly. Chef Amitzir Mor, who trained in Israel and the US and has worked for high-profile chefs like Tom Colicchio, serves up more shakshuka varieties than you could ever eat, a huge range of comforting baked egg dishes, and platters of delectable house-made dipping sauces and spreads served with toasty bread, all leaving you ready to be happily rolled out of the restaurant and back into bed with a pleasant food coma. Their lunch and dinner service is also fantastic—if you have a hankering for mezze, amazing seasonal vegetables and expertly-seared meat, Barbounia is your spot.
Barbounia is open 7 days for dinner starting at 5; they serve lunch on weekdays from 11:30-4 and brunch on weekends from 10:00-4. Call 212-995-0242 for reservations.