Planning a visit to New York? In need of some dining inspiration? Check out the best quirky places the city has to offer...
Ellen’s Stardust Diner:
A 50’s inspired diner with a difference! It's open all day, but we recommend coming early for breakfast when it’s a bit quieter. You’ll definitely get the wakeup call you need here, as the staff jump onto the tables and belt out a collection of up-tempo hits. On the breakfast menu are flaky croissants and pastries, fluffy buttermilk pancakes with chunky chocolate chips, rainbow bagels and a selection of delicious self-proclaimed “unforgettable omelettes”. Watch the waiters showcase their outstanding talent and sing as they serve; a great way to prepare for a day out exploring the city! Afterwards, you can check out the jaw dropping view from the Top of the Rock, which is just a few blocks away.
The largest outdoor rooftop garden in the city boasts stunning views of the Empire State Building (just a few minutes walk away!) and the New York skyline. You may think that rooftop dining should be saved for summer, but at 230 Fifth, you can enjoy the views all year round and still stay warm with their amazing winter rooftop igloos! The rooftop oasis is cosy in winter and always packed in the summer. With a refreshing cocktail menu and tasty traditional dishes (think a succulent New York burger) there’s enough to make this the perfect fun night out.
Bateaux New York Dinner Cruise:
Indulge in a first class dining experience on board a spectacular ship, as you cruise around Manhattan Island, taking in the beautiful city views. The vessel is entirely glassed over, ensuring you get the best views of Lady Liberty, the Empire State Building and the Brooklyn Bridge, as night falls and the illuminated city comes to life. A live jazz band provides the perfect backdrop along the way, making this an ideal choice for a romantic dinner. A sample of the gourmet 3-course menu, would be seared tuna with mushrooms to start, maple and mustard glazed chicken with potatoes and chives for your main, and a delicious crumbly New York style cheesecake for dessert.
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Jekyll and Hyde Club:
Enter the haunted world of Doctor Jekyll for a completely unique dining experience. There is constant live entertainment of the spooky kind, with creepy characters and creatures that come to life around you. Enjoy the thrilling special effects and terrifying transformation as Dr.Jekyll becomes Mr. Hyde. The themed menu has 62 dishes, including 'The Mummy' (Sirloin steak wrapped in cheese), 'The Cannibals Pizza' (sausage, pepperoni and meatballs) and the 'Create-your-own-monster burgers', so that you can make your own frightening feast. Guests are warned that something unusual will happen every ten minutes, so make sure you’re prepared for the horrors that await!
The overwhelmingly sweet scent of chocolate greets you at the door of this decadent chocolate emporium. You’ll feel as though you’ve entered Willy Wonka’s factory as you look up and see melted chocolate running though the pipes! The motto here is “get addicted, be happy”, and it would be hard not to with the amazing chocolatey menu. Choose from fun 'choctails', chocolate covered pizzas or the Melting Chocolate Truffle Heart Cake to name just a few of the mouth-watering options. Children will love choosing goodies from their own special menu, with our favourite being the Sugar Star Waffles covered with “melted chocolate asteroids, vanilla ice cream clouds and a warm milk chocolate flood”. Sounds dreamy! Believe it or not, you can also order savoury dishes here, but be prepared for a sprinkle of cocoa powder on your fries.
Shopsins is a small unusual eatery, with a lot of rules. Be sure to follow them all, or you’ll be thrown out in no time! The eccentric and often foul mouthed owner even admits to kicking people out regularly; up to 3 times a day. The menu is made up of an astounding 900 items, including 300 varieties of soup and 75 styles of pancake. You can also expect to see some peculiarly named dishes like 'Blisters on My Sisters', and the 'High School Sandwich'. This restaurant is definitely quirky, but not for everyone, if you’re not going to follow the rules, don’t go!
Here’s a few of the bizarre rules to give you an idea:
- No parties with more than 4 people
- No one at the same table can order the same thing
- Never use your phone
- Don’t ask for the menu before you’re seated
- No changes can be made to items on the menu
Take a trip to Shopsins after a tour of New York's Lower East Side on the Tenements, Tastings and Tales tour - a fascinating journey around one of the most diverse areas of New York and its food!
Upon entering the restaurant, you are given a choice of how to get to your table, will you take the route that is 'simple and direct' or 'dark, dangerous and narrow'? Make your way through tunnels and over the drawbridge before sampling the gorgeous Japanese cuisine. An army of ninjas are hiding along the way, ready to jump out at you at any minute! Great for the whole family, enjoy the unexpected surprises of ninjas jumping through the walls, and performing extraordinary magic tricks. Make sure you try the miniature bonsai tree dessert, made of rich chocolate and scrumptious ice cream.
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