By: Alexander Allen 

My beloved, native city has so much to offer.  I often wonder if fellow New Yorkers truly take advantage of all its wonderous offerings? One such gem is NYC Restaurant Week, which takes place twice a year.  Once in the summer and again, in the winter.  From July 24 to August 20, you have the option of two course lunches or three course dinners, across the five boroughs.  The deals are not to be missed.  Prices: $30, $45, $60.  So, do make your reservations early. 

Perry Street – West Village – American (New)
Another Jean-Georges Vongerichten establishment, which blends French, American, and Asian influences.  The kitchen is run by Jean-Georges son, Cedric.  The minimal designed restaurant takes a simplified approach to fine cuisine, which is perfect for downtown NYC.  In 2002, I had my first Jean-Georges experience at his restaurant of the same name, uptown at 1 Central Park West.  That’s where the twin brothers’ designers, Dean and Dan Caten, of DSquared2, Grammy winner Eve, and I dined, before the VH-1/Vogue Fashion Awards the following night.  I’ll never forget the sophisticated French eatery, with its floor-to-ceiling windows, overlooking the iconic Central Park and of course, the sumptuous meal. 

Olio e Più – West Village – Italian
In addition to, great food, an equally great atmosphere is paramount for a top tier dining experience.  The quaint 74 seat restaurant, with a 45-seat patio, surrounded by lush greens is just that.  The Mediterranean aesthetic is the perfect backdrop for the simplistic Neapolitan cuisine.  Traditional Italian mere blocks away from the center of the Greenwich Village. 

City Cruises By Hornblower – West Village – American (Traditional)
Brunch, lunch, happy hour, dinner, or party cruises, either public or a private charter, dining on the Hornblower and cruising past iconic NYC landmarks, including the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, Governor’s Island, and One World Trade Center, is an awesome and unique way to see the greatest city in the world.  I’ve personally done the dinner cruise experience, years ago, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself.  The onboard entertainment and the cold adult beverages, also made for an enjoyable summer night. 

Ixta – Lower East Side – Mexican
A celebration of ancient Mexican heritage and culture, Ixta brings the savory flavors of traditional Oaxacan cuisine with an elevated twist, with chef Francisco Blanco at the helm.  Ixta, which is located on the Bowery on the Lower East Side, also offers a mezcal bar, as well. 

Baar Baar – East Village – Indian
In 2010/2011, when I began costume designing my first film, a Bollywood movie, I became introduced to the Indian culture.  Indian cuisine is now a favorite of mine.  Chef Sujan, an early adopter of the farm to table movement, will challenge your perception of India, with Baar Baar, which is a modern, yet futuristic restaurant approach to contemporary Indian cuisine. 

Lamia’s Fish Market – East Village – Seafood
Watercraft Oceanic wonderland.  Sensory overload.  Lamia Funti’s extravagant, multilevel, seafood restaurant, located in the East Village, is the perfect NYC night on the town excursion. 

Tribeca Grill – Tribeca – American
For over 30 years, Tribeca Grill, which is owned by restaurateur Drew Nieporent and legendary actor Robert De Niro, has been a downtown NYC culinary standard.  For the past 13 years, I’ve either worked for or with the Tribeca Film Festival, and that’s how I became familiar Tribeca Grill.  It’s where we go for celebratory lunches for a great film festival season.  Speaking of celebrations, did you know that this is one of the very few NYC restaurants to have received the Wine Spectator Magazine’s Grand Award, every year since 2002? Impressive! 

Black Tap Soho – Soho – Dessert
I’ve celebrated my birthday at Black Tap, their former 14th street location, because of their insanely, fun dessert offerings.  It’s a must and makes for great social media postings.  Black Tap Soho is the OG in their franchise, where it all began.  They have it all, burgers, wings, salads, and veggies served in a downtown NYC atmosphere, which includes works by contemporary street artist Fumero. 

Fig & Olive – Meatpacking District – Mediterranean
One of my staples in this part of town for taking meetings.  I love the openness of this restaurant and on a sunny day, it feels like you have left the city and have been transported to a care-free locale.  Mediterranean food is one of my favorite cuisines.  Thankfully, it’s good for you, as well.  You can walk off your tasty meal by visiting the nearby High Line Park and/or the Whitney Museum.  In the evenings, they offer live music in the lounge and on Sundays, along with brunch, you can enjoy live Jazz, as well. 

L’Express – Gramercy – French
There is nothing better than a 24/7 restaurant.  When living and working in New York City, you may not always fall within traditional meal times, due to an array of reasons.  That’s where L’Express, and the likes, come into play.  French cuisine is their forte.  However, they do have other scrumptious offerings, as well. 

Feel free to let me know your thoughts on the above-mentioned, on Instagram and Threads, at @AlexanderAllenSTYLE. 

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