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Where to Eat in Midtown Before or After the Theater

April 18, 2018 by Mary McKinny
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It doesn’t get more classic than dinner and a show, and most Midtown restaurants offer pre-theater menus that guarantee you’ll be in your seat on time. But since Midtown is a mecca for good eats, how do you choose where to go? These are a few of our favorites.


221 W. 46th St.
Italian is the focus here, though don’t feel like you need to stick to pasta and pizza. The bone-in veal parmigiana is a crowd-pleaser, as are the hand-carved, USDA Prime, dry-aged steaks. Be sure to sample the famous antipasto bar, which offers a rotating selection of market vegetables.

El Centro
824 9th Ave.
Yes, you’ll find tacos (like Coca-Cola carnitas and pomegranate-glazed skirt steak) and burritos (such as chorizo sausage and goat cheese) at this Hell’s Kitchen haunt, but don’t overlook the tamales, which come in your choice of Portobello mushroom, skirt steak, or salmon. Order an extra side of chips and salsa, too, if you have time.

Joe Allen

Joe Allen
326 W. 46th St.
Show posters from Broadway flops line the walls of this Theater District icon, which has been serving performers and patrons since 1965. Go classic with a wedge salad and New York strip steak, and don’t forget to raise your glass to the Great White Way’s infamous misfires.

City Kitchen

City Kitchen
700 8th Ave.
From Brooklyn to the Upper West Side, some of New York’s best dishes convene in one convenient location. Service from these gourmet vendors is generally fast, and there’s something for everyone: sushi, ramen, Mediterranean, lobster rolls, and even donuts.

Shake Shack

Shake Shack
691 8th Ave.
Danny Meyer’s fast-food behemoth has finally hit the Theater District, serving up hamburgers, French fries, and those famous shakes. Have room for something a little heartier? Order a frozen custard, float, or concrete (custard with mix-ins) to top off your meal.

Kodama Sushi
301 W. 45th St.
You’ll often see theater stars swinging by this neighborhood fave — it’s right across from the Al Hirschfeld Theatre — after their bows or on two-show days, and with good reason. Prices are reasonable, the rolls are consistent, and a wide variety of teriyaki, tempura, and salad options satisfy every possible craving.

Totto Ramen

Toto Ramen
366 W. 52nd St.
This authentic noodle shop (you’ll also find two locations in Taipai, Taiwan) can draw the crowds, so be sure to go early and be prepared for cash-only. The menu includes a long list of tempting toppings that can be added, and brave diners can opt to make any ramen bowl extra spicy.

355 W. 46th St.
Carb-lovers can find contentment with this Restaurant Row restaurant’s most famous option: unlimited tableside service of executive chef William Gallagher’s three daily pastas. Owner and TV personality Lidia Bastianich and her son, Joe, have filled the rest of the menu with hearty entrees, plenty of pasta, and a welcome $31 wine list.

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