5. Lincoln Ristorante, which is Manhattan’s only freestanding restaurant other than Tavern on the Green, serves over 100,000 patrons annually.
Lincoln Ristorante can be entered from 65th Street or LC itself.
The post-World War II planning idea that commercial enterprises have no place in nonprofit spaces ruinously undermined the urban vibrancy of many neighborhoods. Few nonprofits have thrown that principle over with as much gusto as the new Lincoln Center, which has imaginatively incorporated food, drink, and sociable seating into its operations.
The bar and lovely terrace of the Claire Tow Theatre, for example, is open to ticket holders one hour before curtain, and stays open one hour after, serving specialty cocktails and small plates. ‘wichcraft Cafe in the David Rubenstein Atrium, Indie Food & Wine in the the Film Society, American Table in Alice Tully, and the Lincoln Center Kitchen in Avery Fisher all serve moderately priced seasonal fresh food.
But the glamorous star of Lincoln Center’s eating scene is Lincoln Ristorante, centrally sited where a brutal concrete wall once stood. Called a “dazzling postmodern dining palace” by New York Magazine, Lincoln is in turn dazzlingly expensive. It makes up for this a bit by offering an excellent Restaurant Week lunch and other occasional specials. It also, says Levy, provides Linoln Center a handsome 6-figure annual rent guarantee plus a percentage of gross sales above certain million-dollar thresholds.
For slightly more affordable fare, there’s also the traditional Grand Tier Restaurant inside the Metropolitan Opera where you can return after dinner to get your dessert and coffee during intermission.