Five essential New York restaurants from Sex and the City

Five essential New York restaurants from Sex and the City

Nick Papa

Everyone knows that Manhattan is the fifth star of Sex and the City. The iconic TV series, which aired from 1998-2004, painted a picture of life at a pivotal time in the history of New York. The city had recently shed its reputation as a gritty, dangerous place, with the spotlight turning to the flashy, fabulous lives of characters like Carrie Bradshaw, Miranda Hobbes, Charlotte York and Samantha Jones.

When the girls weren’t writing an acclaimed sex column, scoring partner at the law firm, discovering artists or running a successful PR firm, they often appeared out on the town in big, bustling restaurants — swanky settings packed with well-heeled models, socialites and oversized, brightly-coloured martinis. Although this era of the New York restaurant scene ended along with the show, many of the most famous filming locations (read: real New York restaurants) are still going strong today. Travel back in time to the early aughts at these five essential Sex and the City restaurants that are still worth a visit more than 20 years later.

abc Kitchen: for a celebrity-chef driven menu

Charlotte confronts Trey’s overbearing mother, Bunny, at abc Kitchen. In the popular downtown restaurant, she stands firm on this point: modern beds don’t need dust ruffles. Since this 2001 episode aired, it’s been out with the dust ruffle and in with a farm-to-table menu by acclaimed chef Jean Georges Vongerichten. Start with the crab toast with lemon aioli — probably the most famous dish on the menu.

35 E 18th St, 212-475-5829, abchome.com/dine/abc-kitchen/

City Bakery: for the city’s best brownies

It wasn’t all Michelin-starred restaurants. The girls dined at plenty of accessible spots, like City Bakery. Remember when Carrie and Miranda run into Nina Katz (the “face girl”) when queuing to pay for lunch and the best brownie in New York? Carrie’s bruised ego has long been healed, but the bakery’s big, famous brownies remain. Bring the Samantha to your Carrie for lunch, but don’t forget — you’re paying for the brownie.

3 W 18th St, 212-366-1414, thecitybakery.com

Loeb Boathouse Central Park | Photo Loeb Boathouse

Loeb Boathouse Central Park | Photo Loeb Boathouse

Loeb Boathouse: for skyline views in a serene setting

Carrie promises Miranda that she will not kiss Mr. Big in the Season 3 finale. In true Carrie fashion, avoiding a kiss leads the pair to take a dramatic tumble into the lake. The bucolic setting is the Loeb Boathouse, located in the middle of Central Park. A renovation in 2018 gave the 64-year-old boathouse a facelift, but the seafood-heavy menu isn’t necessarily renowned. Go for a meal with a lake and skyline view, and don’t leave without snapping an Instagram-worthy photo.

Park Drive North, 212-517-2233, thecentralparkboathouse.com

The Modern: for Michelin-starred dining with an art bias

In this sleek, modernist restaurant overlooking the Museum of Modern Art’s sculpture garden, Charlotte screams when Carrie announces that, after 10 years of dating, Mr. Big has finally proposed. Charlotte’s scream leaves Carrie feeling mortified, but could it actually be because she went to The Modern for a tiny salad? With slow-cooked sea bass, Berkshire pork and dry-aged duck on the lunch menu, there’s no shortage of dishes as rich as the art and culture upstairs. With two Michelin stars, The Modern’s dinner menu is a pricier affair (a 6-course menu for $228 per guest).

9 W 53rd St, 212-333-1220, themodernnyc.com

Pete’s Tavern: for a laid-back beer and burger

There’s nothing like a New York joint with history. Pete’s Tavern has been around since 1864, making it the city’s oldest bar in continuous operation. The Gramercy Park pub serves jumbo burgers for lunch and dinner, weekend brunch and drinks any time. This is the spot where Miranda proposes to Steve on the outdoor patio. Whatever you do, don’t attempt to reenact the memorable scene. A celebratory cocktail, beer or glass of wine, however, is always in order.

129 E 18th St, 212-473-7676, petestavern.com

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