New York City’s Most Design-Forward Restaurants

Although New York City’s tens of thousands of restaurants make it one of the world’s great culinary capitals, not all fit the bill for delivering game-changing interior design. Here are eight places that do. 

La Mercerie (Soho)

Designed by the husband-and-wife team behind studio Roman and Williams, French cafe La Mercerie is decorated to inspire “calm reveries.” An assemblage of curated objects contributes to the cozy Provençal setting: reindeer fur hides, painted stoneware by Andrew Mcgarva, sculptures by artist Casey Zablocki, and manually printed ephemera. The storefront is also home to boutique Roman and Williams Guild New York, as well as an art studio, flower shop, and gallery.

The Dining Room at RH Guesthouse (Meatpacking District)

Tucked inside RH Guesthouse, the novel Meatpacking District hospitality concept by design company Restoration Hardware, signature restaurant The Dining Room comes to life “through a lens of privacy and luxury.” The moody live-fire restaurant, designed by RH’s in-house studio, is clad in floor-to-ceiling Tuscan Travertine, with herringbone parquet floors, a coffered ceiling, and touches of merino wool velvet and European white oak.

Le Jardinier (Midtown)

Parisian architect Joseph Dirand outfitted Midtown restaurant Le Jardinier with furnishings designed by French artisans living in NYC. The modernist space recalls a light-filled greenhouse: Walls and floors are covered in custom green marble and vertical louvers, while corners are filled with lush vegetation.

The Fulton (Seaport)

Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Pier 17 eatery was designed by creative duo Yabu Pushelberg to resurrect the historic Seaport neighborhood. Nods to maritime themes are abundant, from the nautical feel of the wood paneling to sea-foam green banquettes and the whimsical Jules Verne-inspired murals of undersea scenes from studio En Viu that adorn the walls. 

Zaytinya (NoMad)

Credit: Jason Varney

Rockwell Group brings the Mediterranean coast to the Ritz-Carlton NoMad at restaurant Zaytinya. A curved wall of two-tone blue glass discs evokes the Greek “evil eye” emblem, linen pendant light shades with Ancient Greek-inspired imagery, and wooden banquettes are upholstered in Aegean blue leather and fabric coverings.

Oiji Mi (Flatiron)

Inspired by a traditional Korean home called a hanok, AvroKO designed this Flatiron establishment with interlocking wooden beams, daecheong flooring, bespoke furnishings, and oiled brass lighting inspired by binyeo (traditional Korean hairpins). The NYC-based firm also pays homage to the Golden Age social clubs that once thrived in the district through dark walnut woods, leathers, and marble. 

Casa Cruz (Upper East Side)

CREDIT: Weston Wells

Originally from London, this swanky restaurant and members club recently opened its first outpost across the Atlantic, in a Beaux-Arts mansion on the Upper East Side. The interiors are exceedingly lavish, featuring tropical-themed murals, sumptuous green velvet seating, Brazilian cherrywood trimmings, and gilded metal accents. The rooftop terrace embodies a more playful persona with pops of blush pink, from the seat cushions to the bespoke tent by Colombian fashion designer Johanna Ortiz.

Veronika (Grammercy Park)

CREDIT: Alex Staniloff

Also designed by Roman and Williams, the decadent 150-seat restaurant inside the Fotografiska photography museum features elaborate hand-painted murals, dramatic brass chandeliers, dark mohair seating, and marble tabletops. Among the Gramercy dining room’s dramatic focal points is a restored stained-glass window behind the honed black St Laurent marble bar.

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