Tavern on the Green

The rating scale of 0 to 100 reflects our editors’ appraisals of all the tangible and intangible factors that make a restaurant or bar great — or terrible — regardless of price.

Read more about the new ratings
59 Hard Pass

You can’t eat the scenery.

67th St. at Central Park W., New York, NY, 10023



Reserve a table

Known For

The lowdown

Since first opening in 1934 in a converted sheepfold off 67th Street, on the western edge of Central Park, the storied franchise (which is still licensed by the Parks Department) has been a reliable hit. Joe Baum put the restaurant on the national culinary map during the 1960s, and when Warner LeRoy doubled the capacity several years later and added the famous Crystal Room, it became one of the great circus-dining destinations in the world. LeRoy’s heirs ran the profitable old production for years (in 2006, it was still the second-highest-grossing restaurant in the USA, behind Tao Las Vegas), until the great crash of 2008 brought their company to its knees. After years of drama and delay, it opened its doors once again in 2014. But LeRoy’s Crystal Room had already been torn down; its mojo had shattered along with it. The kitchen is clearly attempting to introduce Tavern’s clientele to the wonders of the boutique, farm-to-table era, but when you’re cooking for 700 people per seating, that’s no easy trick. A salad that sounds grand (“local greens with Nettle Meadow Kunik, La Quercia speck, roasted spring carrots, raw asparagus in a walnut-aged sherry vinaigrette”) arrives looking like something you’d be served at a third-rate country club, which Tavern pretty much is. Wood-roasted Maine mussels don’t taste of wood or smoke at all and are dappled with the kind of vulcanized croutons one usually encounters in a high-school cafeteria line. The yellowfin is limp. The quail is rubbery. The patatas bravas are chalky. The chocolate mousse is salty. The generous braised lamb shank is fine. But stick to the basics: nicely charred chicken with cumin and marjoram — and hope the kitchen does the same. Like the weddings and other special events it hosts, Tavern on the Green is best kept as a once-in-a-lifetime event. But even then, not necessary.

Adam Platt

What you need to know

Recommended DishesChicken?

DrinksFull Bar

Noise LevelBring earplugs!