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Sarah’s Picks for Flatiron and Chelsea Restaurants (New York)

April 6th, 2010 No Comments


Where I like to eat in Chelsea & Flatiron Restaurants (with a little dash of Meatpacking)

Here are my top eating picks for Chelsea and Flatiron neighborhood. I lumped them together because honestly I have no idea where the hoods stop and end. Is it the Flatiron building? If so, which side? So confusing. Hopefully you don’t mind I put them together. If you’re new to my food lists, here’s my picks for the Lower East Side and the West Village.Next Tuesday I’ll cover Soho & Nolita (another pair that seems to make more sense as a duo). As always, I’d love your feedback.

As a side note: I couldn’t bring myself to do an entire write-up on the Meatpacking District. The food doesn’t warrant it and the idea of thinking back to nights when I used to think stumbling around there was cool made me a bit nauseous. It is having a slight comeback thanks to some places I list below (as well as the old faithful Pastis) but overall it’s a little too….well, you know.


  • Red Cat: I love Jimmy Bradley and all his restaurants. The Red Cat’s chicken is as delicious as The Harrison’s and the location/atmosphere/service is all spot on, in typical Bradley fashion. I highly recommend this place for a yummy, unpretentious rustic meal.
  • Craft: Although Craft has changed a lot since Colicchio originally imagined it (and he is certainly rarely there) the food is still a solid bet. One of those places I think everyone should go to at least once. It’s on the pricey side, but quite yummy, even with him miles away from the kitchen.
  • Hill Country BBQ: I’m probably the only foodie I know who would put this under best. But I moved here from Austin so BBQ, especially Tejas style is close to my heart. They’ve lost their original pitmaster but the brisket (get moist and lean combo) and the sides do not disappoint (don’t skip the Longhorn Mac & Cheese). Bonus: can get all you can eat on Mondays for $25. Beyond worth it. Additional bonus: THEY HAVE LONESTAR. You Texans know what I mean.
  • Gramercy Tavern: One of my favorite quintessential NY spots. Solid food, nice, bright atmosphere. Not too loud, not too sceney, not too pricey. Super hard to get a reservation, so plan in advance.
  • Boqueria: One of my favorite tapas joints in the city and not just because chef Seamus Mullen is hot and rides a motorcycle. The food is fantastic. This place is small and tends to get crowded, so if you can’t get in head down to his second location on Spring in Soho.


  • Cookshop: This is probably my favorite from this Five Points crew. Come here for brunch when it’s warm and sit outside. You will be full and in love. Aftewards, stroll down the Westside Hwy and eat ice cream. Truly a perfect summer afternoon.
  • Gascogne: Charming French off the radar bistro that serves up a 3 course prix-fixe brunch for $16.50. For the price, it’s awesome.
  • City Bakery: They have an entire month dedicated to hot chocolate and one of the best grilled cheeses I’ve ever head. Great for a brunch or lunch on the go or to take with you to the park.Trailer Park Lounge & Grill: Want a totally wacky, greasy kitschy brunch experience? Come here. It is hilarious and the food isn’t totally horrendous.
  • Le Grainne Café: Introduced to me by the lovely Erin, a good unassuming relaxed brunch choice filled with locals so you know it’s solid. All egg dishes are a go.
  • Rocking Horse: Pretty good Mexican (American style, not authentic) food (name is deceiving) with amazingly strong margaritas. I recommend it for day drinking and gorging on chips & guac.
  • Klee Brasserie: This place has grown on me through the years. I hated it the first time, liked it the second time, and most recently really enjoyed it. Standouts include, their blue plate specials (change daily), yummy pastries and a good spatzel mac & cheese.
  • Cafeteria: Quite the scene with obnoxious music, but damn their mac & cheese 3 ways is good. I love to scoot over here for brunch/lunch/late night when I have the cheese craving.
  • Pastis: Yes, this is in the heart of Meatpacking (see above) but close enough to Chelsea to be included. Although the brunch at Pastis isn’t phenomenal by any stretch of the imagination it is a great place to people watch, perhaps be seated next to a wasted Lindsay Lohan and indulge in big cone of yummy fries. I’d recommend going once and sitting outside in warm weather.
  • Café Gitane: The original in Nolita still has my heart, but this second outpost in the Jane Hotel is charming and still totally delicious. Known for their avocado + toast + couscous which is orgasmic.


  • Scarpetta: I have friends who think this place reigns supreme. The chef came from Alto and his Italian take is clearly an homage to Michael White. Not nearly as good as Alto, but a close second (and a really great interior design/warm inviting atmosphere):
  • Morimoto: I’d recommend coming here just to dine next to the huge wall constructed of water bottles. The Iron Chef’s restaurant isn’t super imaginative. The menu is almost a regurgitation (in excess) of the original Nobu menu. But it is solid, fresh sushi. A great place to take out of town guests who loved Sex and the City. See Stephen Starr’s Buddakan if you want the same experience but Chinese instead (although in my opinion, Japanese > Chinese in this situation).
  • Tia Pol: I like the unpretentious allure of this place. Solid Spanish small plates (why aren’t there more of these restaurants in the city?) I’m a fan. Also love their Spanish inspired brunch (perhaps even more than their dinner).
  • Trestle on Tenth: I come here for the cozy atmosphere and the adorable garden in the back. French food is common in this city, and so is good French food. This place isn’t even in my top 10 but it still is a good meal in a damn cute atmosphere (great date spot with a relatively easy to get/walk in odds if you aren’t a big planner) Also has a notably solid brunch.
  • Colicchio & Sons: So, Craftsteak recently got a makeover and became this joint. I love the bar and the scene was quite good as well. I wasn’t blown away by the food (and he was actually cooking the night I visited) but it was good, seasonal farm to table style food. I hope this place gets better as time goes on.
  • Old Homestead: Home of one of my favorites (HUGE!) burgers in the city .A bit pricey for a burger, but really yummy. I’d recommend going for burgers over steaks because the steaks are pricey and much better at 100s of other places in the city.
  • A Voce: Delicious Italian in a super modern environment. One of those I think you should experience once, although I don’t quite know why.
  • Pipa: I went on the worst blind date of my life to this restaurant and I still recommend it as a great place to get a bucket of sangria and gather with your pals for happy hour. The million chandeliers from ABC Carpet & Home on the ceiling make for a cozy and beautiful sangria & tapas post-work adventure.
  • Tamarind: I’ve never had an Indian friend LOVE this place, but most seem to agree its “good.” Why is great Indian food so hard to find in Manhattan? Anyone have any recommendations of more casual Indian eats? For solid Indian in a more swanky environment, this place is the best I’ve found in the city. Open to suggestions though…

Cheap & Delish

  • Eisenberg’s Sandwich Shop: Is this place legendary? If not, it should be. Grab a sandwich and head over to the tables outside the Flatiron Building or Madison Square Park. Yummy, cheap, delicious.
  • Rub: I’m a sucker for BBQ and this isn’t my favorite, but there is something about it’s approachable southern vibe that makes me consider going back again. Also, cheaper than Hill Country.
  • Company: I wasn’t sold on this pizza place on my first visit, but the second time I found it to be super yummy. I love the owner’s Sullivan St Bakery and the dough that this pizza is made from is delish. I’d recommend it with the knowledge that it isn’t gonna win Best Pizza in NYC any year.
  • Brgr: Yummy, grass-fed beef and sweet potato fries make for a perfect casual lunch. I like to pick it up and walk over 3 blocks to Madison Square Park and laugh at everyone in the Shake Shack line.
  • Pop Burger: It’s 2 a.m. and your friends dragged you out to Tenjune? Commiserate at Pop Burger where they serve up greasy and solid burgers. After hanging there, you deserve a burger. You won’t be writing a Yelp review after this one, but it is good late night eats. Bonus points for the hot Euro-trash crowd who hang here late night. If you’re into that kind of thing…
  • Waldy’s: My go to in this neighborhood for pizza to take to Madison Square Park with my dog. It is yummy, had the perfect amount of crunch and only $8 bucks for a small size that will stuff your belly. My favorites are chicken w/chipotle peppers or wild mushroom/arugula. Yumm.
  • Shake Shack: It’s probably a crime not to mention this when talking food in this neighborhood. The burgers are good but it is clearly the park that makes this place. To me, it just doesn’t have the same charm on the UWS or in Mets stadium. Favorites on the menu: Double Stack, chocolate shake & fries. Portabello mushroom stuffed to the brim with cheese ain’t bad either for all you veggies.
  • Bills Bar & Burger: Another meatpacking infiltrator on the list. RIP to the Hog Pit and in it’s place we have this burger joint from Steve Hansen (responsible for many NY chains). I would eat at all the other burger places on this list before Bill’s but if you want a beer too in a former dive bar that still smells a bit like the Pit days, here is your place.
  • Rickshaw Dumpling Bar: I love this place’s cheap dumplings/noodles (get them steamed not fried, fried can get a bit gummy) for a good winter lunch on the go.

Pricey but Yummy

  • Del Posto: Mario Batali in a huge, stuffy atmosphere. This place ain’t got shit on Babbo, but the food delivers. And let’s face it, you probably can’t get into Babbo anyways. Might as well give it a whirl.
  • Standard Grill: I think this place is WAY overpriced and the crowd is beyond obnoxious but I can’t deny that all 3 of my meals there have been yummy. Nothing innovative about it, but solid people watching and good $$$ eats. Fun place to take your friends from the Midwest hungry for a NY “scene.”
  • Eleven Madison Park: A refined culinary dream. Definitely my favorite in his empire. Yummy, yummy, yummy. Really, you can’t go wrong on this menu. Great place for an anniversary, birthday or celebration because it’s pretty pricey $$ and not much of a fun scene just a delicious one.  Better with a group or someone special as the crowd will bore you.

Other Places of Note

  • Café Grumpy: A cute, tiny coffee place hidden under a smug face on an unassuming Chelsea block. One of those NY gems. Love.
  • La Bottega: The Maritime is so 2004, but you can’t argue that this place in warm weather is a great place to grab a glass of wine and a salad or snack with your friends. It is one of the best outdoor spaces in the city .Just hope you aren’t sitting next to douchebags hanging out before they rock it out at Hiro.
  • L’Arte del Gelato: love this place and their super yummy (tons of flavors) Gelato.
  • Billy’s Bakery: Some of the best dang cupcakes in the city.


  • Tabla: I’m on team Danny Meyer but I’ve never had a good meal at Tabla, this refined Indian joint he owns… although many claim to have. Have you?
  • Beppe: Tuscan inspired food in a cute place that just doesn’t deliver for me. This might be a totally biased diss… once I had food poisoning from here.
  • Abe & Arthur’s: This is really Meatpacking, but NY Mag says it’s Chelsea so we’ll include it. This place is like an investment bank (I saw at least 5 Tag watches paired with popped collars on my visit) and a slew of underage gals from Jersey moved in. The food is actually okay, but it is so cheesy and overpriced, it is ridiculous. RIP Lotus.

I could list more here in the Meatpacking (STK, Spice Market, Sea, Los Dados), but I think it would get redundant. In my opinion, for the most part, eating a few blocks north in Chelsea or Flatiron or south in West Village is just a better option.

So there’s my list. What did I miss? Agree? Disagree? What do you think?

Solid list per usual my little ninja.

My thoughts:

Company is my favorite gourmet pizza ever.

I LOVE Scarpetta in Miami, which has a completely different decor to enjoy while the food blows your mind.  In NYC, it’s a little cramped.

Morimoto is over-rated in my book.

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