Guide to the Top Tourist Restaurants in New York City
Our guide to the top tourist restaurants in New York City for visitors looking to dine and be entertained in Times Square and the Broadway Theater District
Planning a visit to New York City and looking for an amazing restaurant experience?
We’ve rounded up a variety to enhance your stay, each with a unique twist in its appearance or history. Indulge in a delicious pizza pie from Lombardi’s Pizzeria, licensed as the first pizzeria in America, or try hand carved pastrami and other Jewish deli staples at Katz’s Delicatessen, the oldest deli in New York City. Enjoy Italian-American cuisine at Sardi’s before or after a Broadway show in the theater district, or get your hands messy eating pork ribs at Virgil’s Real Barbeque, one of New York City’s best barbeque joints. For a more adventurous dining experience, check out ESPN Sports Zone, Dave & Buster’s, or Mars 2112 Restaurant & Bar to play arcade games, billiards, watch sports, and eat American cuisine. Many restaurants in Times Square have themes and display memorabilia to convey it, such as the Hollywood movie theme at Planet Hollywood, the rock-and-roll vibe of Hard Rock Cafe, the 1950s diner theme at Brooklyn Diner USA, the Forrest Gump-inspired Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., outer space-themed Mars 2112 Restaurant & Bar, and the exotic Hawaiian Tropic Zone.
Hawaiian Tropic Zone
(729 7th Avenue, 212-626-7312)
Hawaiian Tropic Zone is a must-see tourist attraction in Times Square, featuring a 30-foot video wall, three-tiered dining room, cascading waterfall, and twice-nightly beauty pageant on a catwalk stage. You may want to leave the kids at home as the waitresses are clad in bikinis and perform dance numbers. The food is good, if a little overpriced - but the surroundings more than make up for it. It's also a favorite for movie and TV wrap parties.
(1540 Broadway, 212-333-7827)
A world franchise mega marketing machine and another Times Square favorite is Planet Hollywood. It features movie memorabilia like costumes and props on display throughout this Hollywood-themed restaurant, as well as celebrity hand prints outside. Great for all ages, there is also a 48-seat screening room and gift shop.
Hard Rock Cafe Times Square
(1501 Broadway, 212-343-3355)
Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square is a 708-seat restaurant with a collection of rock memorabilia from legends like Elvis Presley and The Beatles displayed on the walls. Hard Rock merchandise is sold in a gift shop, and also on location is a Hard Rock Live concert venue for performances and special events. Outdoor space is available above the marquee to hold private events.
ESPN Sports Zone
(1472 Broadway, 212-921-3776)
A veritable playground for sports lovers, ESPN Sports Zone features a grill and sports bar on the first floor, screening room, bar, skybox, and the Bristol Suite overlooking Times Square on the second floor, and a sports arena with arcade games on the third floor. There are high-definition TVs throughout, as well as free wireless Internet access.
Brooklyn Diner USA
(212 West 57th Street, 212-977-1957; 155 West 43rd Street, 212-265-5400)
With locations in Times Square and on 57th Street in Midtown, Brooklyn Diner USA serves upscale versions of diner favorites like burgers, hot dogs, and sundaes. The restaurant has a nostalgic ‘50s diner theme with bright neon lights and nameplates of stars that have sat in each booth.
Mars 2112 Restaurant & Bar
(1633 Broadway, 212-582-2112)
Mars 2112 is a family friendly space-themed restaurant located in Times Square with an out-of-this-world intergalactic decor. A UFO-like shuttle transports guests from the entrance to the bi-level restaurant, which features interactive entertainment, TVs, a game room, full bar, and dining area.
(234 West 44th Street, 212-221-8440)
A Broadway theater district favorite since 1927, Sardi’s is known for its hundreds of movie star caricatures lining its walls and as a popular pre- and post-Broadway show hangout spot. Sardi’s is famous for its old New York atmosphere with red leather booths, uniformed waiters, and Italian-American cuisine.
(32 Spring Street, 212-941-7994)
Since Lombardi’s was licensed as America’s First Pizzeria in 1905, it has been coveted as one of the best pizzerias in the United States, and a major tourist attraction in Little Italy. Cooked in a coal oven, the pizzas have a dark and crispy crust with a soft interior, and fresh tomatoes, herbs, garlic, and mozzarella are used to keep customers coming back.
(205 East Houston Street, 212-254-2246)
Katz’s Deli is a Jewish kosher-style deli and the oldest deli in New York City, established in 1888 on the Lower East Side. Popular among locals and tourists, this famous deli is known for its excellent hot dogs, pastrami, corned beef, and salami. Movie scenes have also been filmed here, like When Harry Met Sally and most recently Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist.
Dave & Buster’s
(234 West 42nd Street, 646-495-2015)
Dave & Buster’s in Times Square is like Chuck E. Cheese for adults: it has a massive entertainment complex with an arcade, billiards, and virtual reality simulators, as well as two full bars and a large dining area.
Virgil’s Real Barbeque
(152 West 44th Street, 212-921-9494)
One of the most popular traditional barbeque joints in New York City, Virgil’s Real Barbeque is a Southern roadhouse-themed restaurant that serves up ribs, pulled pork, lamb, chicken, catfish, and ham, all smoked over hickory, oak, and fruitwood smokers.
Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.
(1501 Broadway, 212-391-7100)
Based on the movie Forrest Gump, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. serves seafood, Southern, and soul food, with its specialty being shrimp prepared every way possible. There are incredible window views of Times Square, Forrest Gump is always playing on a TV at the bar, and the restaurant is decorated with memorabilia from the movie.