Your Personal Concierge
Top Dining Spots and Other Must-See Attractions
New York City is a foodie’s paradise, from intimate eateries to celebrity haunts to tried-and-true classics. For this month’s special dining issue, David Almada, senior concierge at W New York (541 Lexington Ave., 212.755.1200), dishes up some of his favorites, along with sights and attractions that are must-sees.
Q: What are three underrated gems you’d recommend a guest visit?
A: The Cloisters museum and gardens in Fort Tryon Park, a branch of The Metropolitan Museum of Art, is devoted to the art and architecture of medieval Europe. Take an 80-minute train ride on Metro-North to the city of Beacon to see Dia:Beacon, featuring art from the 1960s to the present. And take time to visit Long Island City in Queens, with notable attractions like the Socrates Sculpture Park.
Q: What are three must-attend events?
A: The TD Five Boro Bike Tour takes place on May 3, while The 9th Avenue International Food Festival heads to Hell’s Kitchen May 16 and 17. And for free, you can see Shakespeare’s The Tempest at the outdoor Delacorte Theater (May 27-Jul. 5).
Q: What have guests been asking about?
A: Lately, requests are about the National September 11 Memorial & Museum and The High Line. Guests are also asking about restaurants in Harlem, such as Red Rooster Harlem, Sylvia’s and Rao’s, as well as the neighborhood’s attractions. In Brooklyn, guests ask about Barclays Center, Brooklyn Bowl and the Brooklyn Bridge.
Q: What are two food-focused neighborhoods you would recommend a guest visit?
A: The Meatpacking District has trendy restaurants offering an eclectic variety of cuisines—from Asian fusion and Chinese to French and Italian. The next best neighborhood is the West Village, which houses romantic and intimate restaurants of the Greek, French, New American and gastro-pub variety.
Q: Favorite restaurants?
A: My top two restaurants are Eleven Madison Park, where famed Chef Daniel Humm offers an exceptional tasting menu; and La Esquina, a Mexican eatery with a fun and trendy environment—the grilled corn and plantains with salsa verde and queso fresco are two standout dishes.
Q: Who are some hot chefs right now?
A: Several popular chefs at the moment have restaurants in the Meatpacking District, including Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, who serves Japanese cuisine at Morimoto; Rich Torrisi, with Italian eatery Santina; and Tom Colicchio, with Colicchio & Sons serving American cuisine. Other celebrated chefs include Mario Carbone, who prepares Italian cuisine at Carbone in Greenwich Village; Geoffrey Zakarian, with The Lambs Club serving American cuisine in the Theater District; and Daniel Boulud, with his namesake French restaurant Daniel on the Upper East Side.