The 9 Best Theater District Restaurants for Grabbing a Bite Before a Show (or Anytime)

The Theater District, which stretches past the bustling stages and busy Times Square billboards of Midtown West, is known more for its all-star Broadway talent than its restaurant scene. But if you know where to look, there are plenty of places to have an excellent meal here. Read on for nine of our favorite Theater District restaurants.

18 Things to Eat and Drink in NYC This October

theater district restaurants boqueria
Molly Tavoletti

1. Boqueria

With a handful of locations around the city, Boqueria is always a solid bet for great, shareable Spanish tapas. Whereas the downtown locations are small and intimate, the Theater District outpost (the latest to open) is very spacious with an open kitchen and large bar area. The menu offers everything from crispy patatas bravas and mushroom croquettes to seafood paella. Plus, the boozy brunch deal makes Boqueria a great option for a pre–Sunday matinee meal.

260 W. 40th St.;

2. Taboon

A short walk from the rows of Broadway theaters, Taboon feels worlds away from the hustle and bustle of midtown Manhattan. The word taboon means clay oven, and you’ll want to have a big order of the homemade focaccia on your table to sop up the creamy hummus and baba ghanoush. The food is a hybrid of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern recipes such as charred lamb kebabs and whole baked branzino, and the restaurant even offers prix fixe pre- and post-theater menus.

773 Tenth Ave.;

theater district restaurants cafe china
Courtesy of Cafe China

3. Cafe China

There are scores of Sichuan restaurants in the city, but Cafe China is one we keep coming back to. The 1930s Shanghai–inspired interior is decorated with antique lamps and vintage posters. Fair warning: Since many of the dishes arrive loaded with Sichuan peppercorns and chili oil, this is probably not a place for people who can’t handle a little spice. Every time we go, we make sure the wontons in chili oil and Chungking spicy chicken are on our table. This place also mixes some serious cocktails that can stand up to a spicy meal.

13 E. 37th St.;

4. Marseille

Where the Theater District meets Hell’s Kitchen, you’ll find this French-Mediterranean brasserie that feels as if it were plucked from Paris’s Bastille neighborhood. There are patterned tile floors, old-school French posters, cozy booth seats and handwritten daily specials on the walls. Stop by before a show for light bites like Niçoise salad, French onion soup or oysters from the raw bar. (There are also plenty of options for those seeking a hearty meal.)

630 Ninth Ave.;

5. Sushi Of Gari 46

Sushi of Gari has four locations in the city, and while the 46th Street outpost isn’t our absolute favorite (that honor we give to the Upper West Side spot), we can always rely on it for high-quality, authentic sushi in midtown. There are a handful of really delicious hot appetizers like steamed crab dumplings and tender yakitori skewers, but when it comes to sushi, we tend to skip the rolls here and go straight for the nigiri, which is what Gari does best.

347 W. 46th St.;

6. Sake Bar Hagi 46

Walk into this clandestine sake bar and izakaya and you’ll find an intimate brick-walled space with old record covers on display and dim lighting. For those looking to learn more about sake, this is a good place to start, thanks to the lengthy list of sparkling, cloudy and dry bottles. And there’s bound to be something for everyone on the eclectic menu of grilled yakitori skewers, tempuras, ramen, sashimi and rice bowls. 

358 W. 46th St.;

7. Db Bistro Moderne

Chef Daniel Boulud’s contemporary French bistro is always a hit with the pre-theater crowd—in fact, there’s a whole afternoon menu for those hoping to grab a bite before their show begins. The old-school charm and lively atmosphere make it a fun place to enjoy classic French dishes like cheesy tarte flambée and roasted duck breast. But the real reason to come here is for Chef Boulud’s famous burger: a giant patty stuffed with foie gras, braised short rib and black truffle. 

55 W. 44th St.;

8. Los Tacos No. 1

If you’re looking for a quick and casual bite, your best bet is this bustling taco stand directly across the street from Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. There’s nothing fancy about this place, and you can fill your stomach for around $10. Don’t be deterred by the lines, because once you order, your tacos arrive in seconds. We go for the carne asada or pork tacos con todo (with onions, cilantro and guac) on corn tortillas.

229 W. 43rd St.;

9. Briciola

This pocket-sized wine bar is our favorite spot in midtown when we’re craving a glass of vino and a big bowl of pasta. There’s something incredibly charming about this place, with its oversized windows, long white tile bar and brick walls lined with bottles of wine. Choose a few of the shareable cicchetti (Italian snacks), like sliced octopus crostini and grilled eggplant with goat cheese, before moving on to the big selection of $16 pastas.

370 W. 51st St.;

generic social profile pic

Freelance PureWow Editor

From 2015-2017 Hannah Loewentheil held the role of Editor covering entertainment, food, travel and all things nyc.