Le Bernardin

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99 Almost Perfect

This great midtown seafood palace remains, after all these years, a uniquely New York (okay, Manhattan) institution.

155 W. 51st St., New York, NY, 10019



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The lowdown

Every deep-pocketed midtown regular has their own absolute favorite in a sprawling, highly competitive, subjective competition like this one, and for a whole variety of self-evident reasons, this is ours. Let’s start with the cool, dark, ultracivilized room which, after several tastefully executed makeovers and the relatively recent addition of a modest bar area, remains an oasis of calm in this bustling, endlessly hectic neighborhood. Then there’s the consistently high level of the cooking and service, which in range, inventive ambition, and exacting attention to detail and style make Eric Ripert and Maguy Le Coze’s great midtown seafood palace a destination not just for the local power lunchers and pre-theater-dinner crowd, but for gastronauts from around the globe. But what separates this highly decorated gourmet establishment from all of the other highly decorated gourmet destinations in the city is that uniquely local gestalt that Ripert and Le Coze have cultivated better than anyone else over the years — one that combines their own, ever-evolving artistic sensibilities with a touch of international style, and the grandeur of a slowly vanishing New York.

Adam Platt

What you need to know

Insider Tips There’s a casual bar area, but the dining room is still the place to be.

Recommended DishesOysters; “Barely Touched” langoustine/lobster; Dover sole.

DrinksFull Bar

Noise LevelCivilized