New York Fashion Week hits the Big Apple with a whirlwind of in-person shows this month, but the city’s social scene goes way beyond the runway. Plus, people gotta eat. Whether that means snagging a quick in-between-show Ginger Hubert (a drink with tequila, French lager, and Amer dit Picon) at Café Chelsea, satiating your steak craving at the Golden Swan, or securing a reservation at Libertine to unwind over a pork sausage that Eater describes as “fat as a fairytale giant’s fingers,” it certainly pays to be in the know on the chicest dining establishments in this thriving metropolis. In that spirit, we’ve rounded up a few of our favorite haunts for going out in style.
The Golden Swan
Who: The group with interiors by . Spread across 6,500 square feet on the third floor of the Shops at Columbus Circle, is a superbly atypical red-sauce joint. The design “winks at Italian visual culture with no pretense to correctness,” says Rustam Mehta, founding partner of GRT Architects, the firm behind the restaurant’s outré interiors. Guests are greeted by a large boar statue collared in neon, modeled after the Uffizi gallery’s, while the dining room’s strigil motif is rendered in plaster and echoed in the curving banquettes and light fixtures. “Every opportunity to do a little more was taken,” Mehta says.How to get the look:
Quality BrandedGRT Architects
Roman dishware, glass block, a ripple sconce.
Who: Owners Sean MacPherson, Ira Drukier, and Richard Born.
What: With a design partially inspired by Parisian café La Palette, the revamped Café Chelsea is divided into the more casual dining room the Petit Café and the more formal Grand Café. The space is furnished throughout with art by current and former residents, retaining the spirit of the 19th-century landmark hotel while bringing its food and beverage program firmly into TikTok-trending territory. The all-day eatery features French classics like Poulet Rôti and Ravioles du Dauphiné as well as a crowd-pleasing cheeseburger and an extensive wine list prioritizing wines from Burgundy and Bordeaux.
How to get the look: Idiosyncratic art, bistro glasses, a traditional lantern.
Who: Founder Amelie Kang with interiors by Loren Daye of LOVEISENOUGH.
What: For the new Greenpoint Location of East Village staple MáLà Project, owner and chef Amelie Kang brought on LOVEISENOUGH, the studio of former Ace Hotel head of interiors, Loren Daye. The partnership proved a fruitful one. The brief was “Beijing in the ’90s meets Euphoria,” says Daye, who delivered with a saturated dreamscape that feels deeply cinematic without, ahem, upstaging Kang’s formidable dry hot pot and drink menu. While the front room comes alive with the tonal rainbow of the restaurant’s neon signage, the back room feels akin to a traditional banquet hall, complete with a built-in fountain (for good luck) and subtle decorative nods to ’90s punk and skater culture .
How to get the look: Paper lanterns, bistro tables, tonal green paint.
What:LibertineI don’t know what. A poster by Pruitt’s friend Max Ososki, striped napkins, signage.
Cody Pruitt, beverage director and general manager of . , the buzzy French bistro that you’ve most certainly already clocked in your social feeds, offers guests the one-two punch of a greenmarket-focused menu alongside an all-natural French wine list. The 46-seat restaurant was designed by Pruitt himself, who drew inspiration from classic Paris haunts like Bistrot Paul Bert, Les Arlots, and Le Baratin, and personally sourced the bistro tables from the Pays de la Loire, France. Thoughtful details like a well-curated poster and print selection, three well-preserved layers of tin tiles on the ceiling, and, of course, chalkboard menus, lend the space that—dare we say it?—
How to get the look: charming
Who: Owners (and sisters) Nicole and Jennifer Vitagliano, with interiors by Post Company and Shadow Architect.
What: A European-style restaurant from the team behind the Michelin-starred the Musket Room, Raf’s pays loving tribute to the “rituals of café society” with an interior that progresses sumptuously from a bakery and bar to an open hearth that allows diners to look on as their dishes emerge from wood-fired ovens. Arabescato Rosa marble countertops and mosaic tile flooring lend the space a pleasant tactility, while In Common With lighting fixtures draw the eye into the dining room and upward to a custom mural of the sky. The soon-to-be-all-day menu features housemade focaccia, pasta, and cast-iron pizza alongside fluke crudo and escargot.
How to get the look: Blown glass lighting, marble accents, celestial decor.
Jac’s On Bond
Who:Authentic HospitalityELLE DECOR A-ListGachot Studios
What:Jac’s on BondPebble BarCaprese martini Bud vases, sculptural ceramic accents, cozy textiles.
with interiors by firm. Located in a NoHo townhouse formerly occupied by the Smile, is a cocktail bar with serious style bonafides. Designed by Gachot Studios, who also worked with the group on the buzzy Rockefeller Center watering hole, Jac’s is outfitted to look like the warm, sophisticated apartment of a tasteful friend—one whose closet is stocked with the Row. A pool table keeps things clubby yet casual, while the walls feature the work of local photographer Janette Beckman, tying the space to the New York of the ’80s and ’90s. Light bites let the specialty drinks menu—hello,!—take center stage.
How to get the look:
Sean Santiago is ELLE Decor‘s Deputy Editor, covering news, trends and talents in interior design, hospitality, travel, and luxury. He writes the So Current! column for the magazine and elledecor.com.