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Where to Eat Near the Museum of Natural History
As the summer approaches, we're taking a trip around some of New York's most heavily visited destinations. Up next? The Museum of Natural History. If you're headed up for a planetarium show or a little dinosaur lookin', make sure you know where to eat after all that museum walking wears you out.
(If you're touring the Upper West Side or wandering the western part of Central Park, this is a great resource for you, too.)
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Shake Shack: Our favorite fast-food-style burger in New York, and just across from the museum itself.
Gray's Papaya: A classic New York hotdoggery, guaranteed to be far better than any cart on the corner.
Barney Greengrass: A few blocks farther afield, but it's the place you should go for smoked fish, a century-old Upper West Side landmark. Gary Greengrass still sits at the register, just as his grandfather did before him.
Zabar's: The Upper West Side's famed grocery store (or, as they call it, "gourmet epicurian emporium") is a can't-miss for food souvenirs (we'd nudge you toward the rugelach and babka) and much, much more.
Grandaisy Bakery: Stop in for a slim sandwich, a loaf of oily, focaccia-like pizza bianca, or a thin, square slice of pizza; their desserts are worth an order, too.
Joe the Art of Coffee: One of our preferred coffee mini-chains in the city; they take their stuff seriously, and serve a well-curated selection of sweets from some of New York's better bakeries.
Snacks and Desserts
Grom Gelato: This Italy-based international chain is probably charges more than you're used to paying for gelato, but it's easily some of the best in the city.
Soutine: A tiny bakery good for croissants, muffins, and other baked goods.
Levain Bakery: They're famous for their doughy, megaton chocolate chip cookies, though we're partial to their breads and quite fond of their flatbread pizzas.
Magnolia Bakery: We don't necessarily recommend this branch of New York's most famous cupcake shop, but if it's on your itinerary, you should know that there's one in this neighborhood, as well as the original location in the West Village.
Jacques Torres Chocolates: A destination for chocolate lovers; cookies, hot chocolate, and chocolate bark are some of the classic orders.
Emack and Bolio's: A Boston-based ice cream mini-chain, but worth a stop nonetheless.
Hummus Place: The menu's almost all hummus, but it's good hummus, smooth and creamy and in ample portions, topped with fava beans or mushrooms or whole chickpeas. Suitable for vegetarians, but enjoyable for everyone.
Cafe Lalo: Known outside New York for a scene in You've Got Mail, Cafe Lalo is cramped but charming in its way, with eye-poppingly extensive brunch and dessert options. We like the steamed eggs and the tart, creamy frozen yogurt.
Gazala Place: The second location of the Druse-Israeli chain we recommended in the Theater District; kebabs, meze, and paper-thin pita.
Kefi: A fine modern Greek restaurant that's particularly family-friendly, though there's nothing dumbed down about the food; the meatballs and sheep's milk dumplings are classics.
Celeste: Fine Neapolitan-inspired pizzas, excellent pastas, a killer Italian cheese course, and ridiculously affordable main courses at this no-frills Italian. Cash only.
Salumeria Rosi: Both a cured-meat counter and a sit-down restaurant with remarkable Italian small plates.
Fairway Cafe: Fine eggs, amazing pancakes, excellent sandwiches, burgers, and fried foods make the Fairway Cafe a prime gathering place. Desserts are particularly strong.
Land: Showcases carefully prepared Thai food by a young chef who spent some time working with Jean-Georges Vongerichten.
Telepan: Classy but not stuffy, sophisticated but familiar, Telepan is a restaurant worth knowing, a place of straightforward but memorably good seasonal American cuisine suitable for special occasions but relaxed enough to enjoy at any time.
Dovetail: One of the area's more ambitious (and more impressive) establishments, chef/owner John Fraser's Michelin-starred restaurant has both a la carte and tasting menus and an incredible, extensive Monday night vegetarian menu.
Fishtag: Though the underground space is a bit tight and the menu a bit unwieldy, there's an awful lot to enjoy at Michael Psilakis's seafood restaurant.
Where else do you eat near the Museum of Natural History?