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Where Should I Eat Before ‘Spamalot’?

The best places to chow down in the Theater District, near the Garden, and more.

Illustration by Rodica Prato.  
  • The Metropolitan Museum Of Art

  • Centolire

    1167 Madison Ave., 212-734-7711

    Pino Luongo (the Mario Batali of his era) is personally slinging the linguine these days, and the food’s better than ever. Do not miss the sea-salt roast chicken.

  • Shakespeare In The Park

  • Onera

    222 W. 79th St., 212-873-0200

    Give this modern-Greek kitchen 48 hours notice, and you can feast on the $65 offal-tasting menu, which includes goat brains and calf’s tongue; but refined à la carte dishes like goat-cheese manti, sea urchin with haloumi fondue, and braised-goat moussaka are equally impressive.

  • Lincoln Center

  • Telepan

    72 W. 69th St., 212-580-4300

    Bill (Mr. Local) Telepan melds haute-American technique with the hearty flavors of his Hungarian ancestry, and his wine director makes the most of a deep and intriguing cellar.

  • Carnegie Hall

  • Yakitori Totto

    251 W. 55th St., 212-245-4555

    Once you get over the fact that nothing goes to waste at this friendly Japanese skewered-chicken specialist, you’ll marvel at what you’ve been missing—namely, nicely charred chicken tail, skin, even “soft knee bone,” as well as breast, wing, and thigh.

  • Theater District

  • Esca

    402 W. 43rd St., 212-564-7272

    Try to book your show tickets in conjunction with wild-salmon season (May to July). No one has more respect for the genuine article than fisherman-chef Dave Pasternack who, along with partner Mario Batali, invented crudo as we know it.

  • Madison Square Garden

  • Camino Sur

    336 W. 37th St., 212-695-4600

    This sleeper Pan-Latino restaurant lights up a bleak garment-district block with haute arepas, empanadas, a first-rate rib eye with chimichurri, and expertly muddled mojitos.

  • West Chelsea Galleries

  • Tía Pol

    205 Tenth Ave., 212-675-8805

    Because sometimes nothing you see on any walls looks as artful as Alex Raij’s seasonally inspired specials.

  • Jury Duty

  • New Yeah Shanghai Deluxe

    65 Bayard St., 212-566-4884

    We might bolt into Blaue Gans for a quick wienerwurst, but in Chinatown, it’s hard to resist the unctuous lure of Yeah’s glazed- and-braised pork shoulder.

  • Yankee Stadium

  • Feeding Tree

    892 Gerard Ave., the Bronx; 718-293-5025

    An estimable curried goat, a toothsome jerk chicken, and a bubbling oxtail stew all within out-of-the-park slugging distance of the house that Ruth built.

  • Shea Stadium

  • Sentosa

    39-07 Prince St., Flushing; 718-886-6331

    For Malaysian food worth riding the 7 train one stop out of your way: a dependably flaky roti canai, a nicely spiced beef rendang, and a bevy of shaved-ice concoctions riddled with beans, seeds, and syrups.

  • Brooklyn Academy of Music

  • Convivium Osteria

    68 Fifth Ave., Park Slope, Brooklyn; 718-857-1833

    Thomas Beisl is closer, but who doesn’t like to stretch their legs before a hefty dose of Scandinavian realism? The tripartite Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese menu is as rustic and appealing as the room.

From the 2006 Best of New York issue of New York Magazine