Entree: New York

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 30 April, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 30 April, 2008, 12:00am

Heading for the Big Apple and need to impress your next deal over the line? Some of New York's iconic restaurants have seen empires built and destroyed over courses and even those lesser known can pack a culinary punch.

Four Seasons Restaurant

99 East 52nd St, Manhattan


The Four Seasons (not to be confused with the hotel chain) is around the corner from the Waldorf Astoria. There are two dining areas: the Pool Room is famous for its marble-framed waters, which create a natural white noise conducive to discrete conversation, while the Grill Room has two levels and is encased in French walnut. Status is high on the menu and strict rules of dress and networking are enforced. Acclaimed chef Christian Albin creates 'American' fare using local produce.

La Goulue

746 Madison Ave, Manhattan


One of the modern-day power lunch venues is Madison Street's La Goulue. The Parisian bistro has operated since 1972 and its front tables are highly sought after by Manhattan's elite. A favourite with the late Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Catherine Deneuve, it now hosts the likes of Giorgio Armani, Ashley Judd, Rod Stewart, Jude Law and Rene Russo. La Goulue prides itself on its warm, family-like atmosphere, despite it becoming a highly regarded celebrity hot spot.

Rainbow Grill

30 Rockefeller Place, Manhattan


Situated next to the famed Rainbow Room, where dancers can twirl the night away to a set three-course meal, the Rainbow Room is an elegant northern Italian eatery that offers exquisite views. Its menu is ever-changing (as are its prices). This is an iconic spot for romantic dinners, while the Cipriani bar is well regarded in cocktail circles. Look out for homemade egg spaghetti with Manila clams and chicken spezzatino alla pizzaiola.


455 East 114th St, East Harlem


This unassuming Italian restaurant in a rather rough neighbourhood is reputedly the hardest to get into in New York. It remains a place of legend: home to henchmen and Mafiosi, its signature dish is a simple, but reportedly delicious pasta sauce. To get into Rao's you need to know someone who owns a table (even Madonna was denied entry) or win a reservation at a charity event. Taking anyone to Rao's will win you great kudos.

Russian Tea Room

150 West 57th St, Manhattan


Created by former members of the Russian Imperial Ballet in 1927 as a place for Russian expats, the restaurant gained fame when the entertainment industry adopted it as a second home. It has closed down and reopened twice in the past 12 years, and undergone US$35 million worth of renovations. It is decorated in the splendour of the 1930s. The business express lunch is the way to go when time is of the essence but you still want to make an impact.