New York

Where to Eat and Drink at the Revamped Rockefeller Center

Recent additions include exciting new restaurants from the teams at Olmsted, Atoboy, and more.

Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist
Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist
Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist

Rockefeller Center is waving goodbye to its reputation as a tourists-only attraction thanks to a million-dollar revitalization project currently underway at the iconic Midtown destination. A new wave of head-turning and big-name‚Äďbacked eateries and bars is turning The Rock into the city’s latest culinary and nightlife destination.

From highly praised debuts like NARO, by the founders of trailblazing eateries Atoboy and Atomix, and the swanky Pebble Bar to this week’s opening of chef Greg Baxtrom’s latest venture called Five Acres, there are plenty of spots that have New Yorkers reconsidering their stance on these Manhattan blocks.

So if you’re among the crowds who will be dropping by this season to catch a glimpse of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree or ice skate at The Rink at Rockefeller Center, we’ve got you covered with some of the coolest spots to eat and drink at Rockefeller Center in NYC right now.

Recent restaurant openings at Rockefeller Center

Photo by Signe Birck
Photo by Signe Birck
Photo by Signe Birck

Five Acres

Chef Greg Baxtrom showcases his knowledge of fine dining and hyper-seasonal fare with his first Manhattan venture. Named for his family’s five-acre farm outside of Chicago, Five Acres highlights recipes and techniques Baxtrom learned while working at famed restaurants across the country, such as Alinea in Chicago and Per Se in NYC. At the 65-seat, greenery-covered eatery, locally sourced ingredients are at the center of the all-day menu; Highlights include Delicata Squash Vase (whipped ricotta, prosciutto chips) and Crab Cake (bruleed bone marrow aioli), as well as larger plates like Grilled Guinea Hen (salsify hazelnut tart, juniper). On the beverage program, globally sourced wines are joined by house cocktails like the Vale of Cashmere (reposado, pear brandy, egg white).

Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist
Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist
Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist

21 Greenpoint

Imaginative takes on American comfort classics are the specialty for NYC-native and chef Homer Murray. For his latest project, Murray launches a Manhattan counterpart to his popular Brooklyn-based 21 Greenpoint. Alongside guest favorites like the Cheeseburger, location exclusive plates include the Crunchy Broccoli Salad (apple, cajun pecans) and Open Faced Crab Toast (mayo, lemon, parsley). Drinks-wise there’s specialty cocktails like Homer’s Day Off (tequila, hibiscus), as well as a selection of beer and wine.

Photo by Marcus Nilsson
Photo by Marcus Nilsson
Photo by Marcus Nilsson

Jupiter

The team behind popular downtown Italian restaurant King, recently debuted a spacious, 140-seat sibling dubbed Jupiter. Helmed by partners Clare de Boer, Jess Shadbolt, and Annie Shi, as well as executive chef Gaz Herbert (River Cafe in London), the food program features a large all-day menu of regional Italian classics like Beef Sott’olio (chargrilled beef filet, horseradish) and Risotto Di Mare (saffron, whole langoustine, squid), as well as pasta signatures such as Tagliarini al Pomodoro (tomato, marjoram, ricotta). Pair them with an extensive list of predominantly Italian wines as well as house cocktails like the Jupiter Vesper (gin, vodka, fig leaf). Guests can sit within the dining room or opt for a more casual experience at the 12-seat, red-marble bar.

Le Rock

This elegant new French brasserie is from the team behind Tribeca’s highly-lauded Frenchette. At Le Rock, the culinary program is helmed by chef Walker Stern’s (Dover) and offers guests a selection of weekly specials along with permanent Touts Le Temps menu items in a spacious 130-seat eatery. Among the highlights are Steak Hach√© and Escargots plus elaborate desserts like the Plateau de Dessert (confection stand filled with seasonal treats).

NARO

Creative takes on traditional Korean cuisine reign supreme at NARO. Led by the trailblazing team behind eateries Atoboy and Atomix and named after Korea’s first space launch, NARO sheds a contemporary spotlight on hansik (customary Korean food), made using hyper-seasonal ingredients. Led by chef Nate Kuester (Cafe Boulud, BAPBAP), the current multi-course tasting menu features plates like Pyeonyuk (beef shank, tomato, caviar) and King Crab Bibimbap (rice, soybean paste stew, pickled bamboo), alongside desserts like Pear Pavlova (blood orange coulis, pear hibiscus sorbet). For plant-forward diners, a vegetarian tasting menu is also available. Currently, the dining room is reservation only, but the bar is open for walk-ins with an a la carte program.

Photo courtesy of Lodi
Photo courtesy of Lodi
Photo courtesy of Lodi

Lodi

Since opening last year, this elevated eatery/bar has commanded a steady fan base for its classic Italian plates and expert cocktails. Led by chef Ignacio Mattos (Estela, Altro Paradiso), the all-day menu offers from in-house baked breads and croissants to paninis and pastas. Standout dishes include house made Ricotta, Crostini di Fegato (liver p√Ęt√©), and Salsiccia (pork sausage, turnips). Pair plates with a selection of spritzes, the house Rockefeller Martini, or wine.

Exciting new bars at Rockefeller Center

Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist
Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist
Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist

Pebble Bar

Mix one part all-star team (known for industry hits Ray’s and The Jane Hotel Ballroom), one part celebrity investors (Pete Davidson and Jason Sudeikis included), with one part legendary location (the former Hurley’s, which operated for more than a century and was a known hangout spot for NBC stars like Johnny Carson and the crew from Saturday Night Live), and you’ve got a new hot spot where all the cool kids are flocking to: Pebble Bar. Located inside a historic townhouse at Rockefeller Center, expect three, separate floors with a 35-seat eatery and oyster bar at the top. Along with classic cocktails, beers from New York breweries, wine, and seasonal specialty drinks, enjoy seafood-focused plates from executive chef Carlos Barrera (The Lobster Club).

Casual Restaurants at Rockefeller Center

FIELDTRIP
FIELDTRIP
FIELDTRIP

When a quicker bite is all your schedule allows for, there’s a solid crew of fast-casual spots at the ready within Rockefeller Center. From sustainably focused chef JJ Johnson comes globally inspired Rice Bowls at this outpost of his Harlem-based restaurant, FIELDTRIP. For Asian American fare, chef David Chang’s fried chicken joint Fuku is a go-to for spicy, sweet, and tangy sandwiches, fingers, and fries. NYC-born Black Seed Bagels also operates a shop here and is known for melding NYC and Montreal-style baking techniques for a menu featuring a range of sweet and savory wood-fired bagels.

Bakeries and dessert destinations at Rockefeller Center

Lady M Cake Boutique
Lady M Cake Boutique
Lady M Cake Boutique

Rockefeller Center is also home to an impressive array of bakeries and dessert destinations. Recently opened and the fifth locale for the company, Breads Bakery is popular for baked goods like the signature Chocolate Babka, plus location-exclusive items like the New York Pretzel (served with mustard) and Pockets of Sunshine Babka (lemon cream), which was invented in collaboration with Today Show host Al Roker. Lady M serves up innovative takes on the multi-layer cakes called Mille Crepes, while Magnolia Bakery is worth braving the line for its famous Banana Pudding plus cupcakes and cookies. For doughnut lovers, the Bed-Stuy-born Dough Doughnuts serves up seasonal flavors like White Chocolate Peppermint and Irish Coffee Cream Filled. Finally, drop by the chic children’s toy store FAO Schwarz for a whimsical candy shop experience.

Classic bars at Rockefeller Center

Other Half Brewing Company
Other Half Brewing Company
Other Half Brewing Company

Other spots to grab libations include the Brooklyn-based Other Half Brewing for a variety of IPAs, stouts, sours, and more. City Winery offers an outdoor wine garden, with enclosed bubbles for warmth and a lengthy selection of wines plus light bites. And, if you’re looking to throw a party with your friends, the iconic Rainbow Room and the adjacent Bar SixtyFive can be rented out for an evening.

Nearby hotspots to Rockefeller Center

Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist
Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist
Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist

Urban Hawker

An impressive addition to the city’s portfolio of powerhouse food halls, Urban Hawker draws inspiration from Singapore’s iconic street food and open-air markets. Just a block away from Rockefeller Center, the 11,000-square-foot dining experience features 11 Singapore-based vendors making their stateside debuts, alongside six NYC-based eateries. Stalls include: the first outpost of the renowned East Village dessert destination Lady Wong; Daisy’s Dream, a family-run business from Singapore specializing in Nasi Lemak; and White Restaurant, an acclaimed Singapoean eatery known for its White Beehoon (white rice vermicelli noodles in chicken broth simmered for eight-hours).

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Izzy Baskette is a Staff Writer for Thrillist New York. Find her on Instagram.

New York

Scavenge for Peeps Cookies and More Fun Treats in NYC This Easter

The best Easter desserts in NYC this spring include Easter Bunny Churros and Carrot Cake Macarons.

Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery
Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery
Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery

As spring makes its way through New York City, not only do we get to enjoy beautiful weather, stunning cherry blossoms, and cool activities priced at $Free.99, but it’s also the perfect time for some limited-edition desserts.

With Easter fast approaching, bakeries are filling their shops with tons of chocolate eggs, carrot cake-flavoured everything and all types of flavours that offer both nostalgia and innovation within the city’s dessert landscape. After you’ve picked up a cake from the city’s best new bakeries, from Easter Bunny Churros to Carrot Cake Macarons, here are 8 Easter desserts to try in NYC right now.

Photo courtesy of Magnolia Bakery
Photo courtesy of Magnolia Bakery
Photo courtesy of Magnolia Bakery

Magnolia Bakery

Throughout April
Various locations
There’s great news for devotees of Magnolia Bakery’s Classic Banana Pudding: For Easter, the spot is mixing up the iconic dessert’s vanilla pudding with some carrot cake. The Carrot Cake Pudding is filled with freshly grated carrots, coconuts, pineapples, raisins, and walnuts. And if both bananas and carrots aren’t your thing, they’ll be offering their Classic Vanilla Cupcakes in pastel colours with a Cadbury chocolate egg hidden inside.

Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery
Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery
Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery

Funny Face Bakery

Through Easter Sunday
NoHo and Seaport
Known for their celebrity face and meme-worthy decorated cookies, fans of Funny Face Bakery know that a new fun design is always just around the corner. For Easter, they’ve created the adorable Hoppy Easter decorated cookie that resembles a classic box of marshmallow Peeps. Along with that, they also have the return of their fan-favourite Caramel Pretzel Chip cookie flavour, plus a set of three mini-decorated cookies perfect for gifting.

The Doughnut Project

Friday, April 7 through Easter Sunday
West Village
With the ever-changing flavours at The Doughnut Project, it’s super easy to miss out on trying out a new debut. But this Easter weekend, there will be two new flavours available. One is of course, a carrot cake doughnut topped with a cream cheese glaze, and the other is known as the Doughnut Nest-a French cruller “nest” with a cream-filled doughnut hole “egg” in the centre.

Photo by Cole Saladino, courtesy of The Fragile Flour
Photo by Cole Saladino, courtesy of The Fragile Flour
Photo by Cole Saladino, courtesy of The Fragile Flour

The Fragile Flour

Wednesday, April 5 through Easter Sunday
East Village
For stellar vegan desserts this holiday, head to The Fragile Flour, a plant-based bakery and dessert wine bar. They’re known for going all out for each holiday with a variety of new pastry options that you can pair perfectly with a glass of wine. This Easter, they’ll have a whole dessert menu that’s both delicious and gorgeous for posting on IG. The menu includes Stuffed Carrot Cake Cookies, a Lemon Cake (whole or by the slice), some festive cupcakes, and specialty macarons.

Photo courtesy of Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate
Photo courtesy of Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate
Photo courtesy of Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate

Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate

Through mid April
Midtown
For a luxurious take on Easter chocolates, browse the selections available at Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate. You can even pick the Easter Signature Chef’s Selection for a special box curated by award-winning chefs. For something other than chocolate, choose between the Carrot Cake Macarons or the cake flavored Easter Marshmallow Trio, both of which are almost too cute to eat.

La Churreria

Throughout April
Nolita
This churro-centric spot is putting the cutest Easter spin on their crispy cinnamon churros by twisting them up into bunnies and bunny ears. At Churreria, choose from a Bunny Churro Lollipop topped with your choice of chocolate or dulce de leche and sprinkles, or the bunny ear churros in the Ube and Matcha ice cream sundae or the Ube Milkshake, both of which are made with ice cream from il laboratorio del gelato.

Photo by Briana Balducci
Photo by Briana Balducci
Photo by Briana Balducci

Lafayette

Throughout April
NoHo
You’ve surely seen this croissant tons of times while scrolling through IG or TikTok, whether it’s the Pain au Chocolat one or the latest of the month. Known as Supr√™mes, these filled croissants went viral and continue to live up to the hype each time a new flavour comes out. April’s flavour-sour cherry amaretto with a Luxardo custard and toasted almonds. While you’ll have to be super early and wait in line during one of their three drops of the day to get a taste, we promise you it’ll be worth it.

Photo courtesy of Levain
Photo courtesy of Levain
Photo courtesy of Levain

Levain

Seasonal
Various locations
We all know the iconic cookies from Levain-they’re gigantic, perfectly crispy and chewy, and well worth the long lines. For spring, the shop is launching a new flavour: Caramel Coconut Chocolate Chip. Filled with gooey caramel chips, fresh shredded coconut, and melty dark chocolate, it’s one you’ve got to try while it’s still around. To further celebrate the new season, all of Levain’s storefronts will be decked out in spring floral displays, serving as the perfect backdrop for pictures.

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Alaina Cintron is an Editorial Assistant at Thrillist. Her work can also be found in Westchester Magazine, Girls’ Life, and Spoon University. When she’s not at her desk typing away, you can find her exploring a local coffee shop or baking a new recipe.

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