By Gabe Saglie
In Manhattan, food might as well be an attraction all its own. There’s enough fare to please all palates, and all wallets. At some eateries, in fact, the demand for a seat can rival that for the season’s hottest Broadway show. This is a town, after all, that draws a ton of star talent, too. And the savvy diner knows that while you can dine like a celebrity, you don’t always have to pay like one.
This Upper West Side restaurant’s mellow vibe hides something pretty cool: it’s owned by Lady Gaga’s parents. Nothing wild and extravagant here, just great Italian food served at cozy indoor seating alcoves or outside, al fresco. Located near Lincoln Center, this trattoria is helmed by Chef Art Smith, a contender on Top Chef Masters, and star dishes range from fried calamari to chicken parmesan.
Celeb spotting is nothing new at the Iroquois Hotel in Midtown Manhattan; actor James Dean, for example, lived here for two year in the early 1950s. And high-profile personalities are regular guests today. It may be worth staying here awhile, perhaps sipping on signature cocktails at Triomphe, crowned by the New York Times as one of the best restaurants in New York City.
Chef Madison Cowan has built quite the pop culture following, with recent stints on shows like Chopped, Iron Chef America and the BBC’s No Kitchen Required. His West Village eatery, Slide, gets high marks for innovative fare, like chicken-&-waffle sliders and bacon fat fries seasoned with chili salt, cumin and shaved chocolate. And the milkshakes here are for adults only.
When Justin Timberlake isn’t wowing crowds onstage, he’s building his restaurant empire. When he opened Destino in Midtown East, he nabbed celeb chef Mario Curko – formerly of Rao – to concoct cuisine inspired by Southern Italy. Think fresh shrimp and lobster salad and red snapper cooked in white wine and lemon. The meatballs here have a cult following. And don’t skip the gelato.
A celeb chef like David Burke needs no introduction. This James Beard Award winner’s eatery inside the famed Third Avenue shopping hot spot draws crowds for breakfast and lunch, and then transforms into a sleek supper spot at night. The steak dishes and signature desserts are heavenly, and the open exhibition kitchen ensures that the treats for the senses go well beyond the taste buds.
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