If you’re going to spend $100-$200 on dinner, it’d better be at least as special as one month at Equinox or a pair of decent bluetooth headphones. And a meal at Benno is. This French/Italian spot inside the Evelyn Hotel offers three, four, and five-course prix fixe menus (for $105, $135, and $155). There are some phenomenal options for each course (our favorites are the savory coddled egg with black truffle, skate almondine with crab mousse, and duck with foie gras, and we’d recommend that you skip the pasta course and try as many other things as possible). The space is not particularly interesting - a quiet, high-ceilinged dining room hidden away behind Leonelli Taberna - and the dark-suited servers move in unison like they’re completing a military exercise. So Benno is definitely not at all casual. But you can expect to have some excellent food and an overall memorable meal here.
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Wined Up is a quiet wine bar in Flatiron that’s located above a sub-par restaurant called Punch.
Finally, someone figured out that an Italian restaurant near Penn Station that serves food people want to eat would do well.
Lamalo is a Middle Eastern spot inside the Arlo Nomad Hotel that works for lunch or a light dinner near Penn Station.
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Bocce Union Square
Bocce USQ is an outdoor Italian restaurant in Union Square Park, and it’s perfect for an after-work spritz when you’d rather be in Rome.
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Crown Shy is an American restaurant in the Financial District that’s one of the few places we’d recommend to absolutely everyone.
Manhatta is a prix-fixe restaurant on the 60th floor of a building in FiDi, and an ideal special occasion spot.
Marea is about as good as upscale eating gets in Midtown, and there’s a lot of that around. Don’t miss the bone marrow and octopus fusilli.
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