Travel 2 minutes 10 April 2024

Jean-Georges Vongerichten On His New York

The Starry chef breaks down his go-to spots in Gotham.

New York City by The MICHELIN Guide

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There are few chefs known by just their first name, but Jean-Georges has built his empire around it. The downtown denizen has revamped Manhattan from downtown (the Tin Building) to midtown (425 Park Avenue), while still retaining his Two MICHELIN Stars for his eponymous Columbus Circle boîte. 

However, leave it to the chef to frequent some of New York's coolest hidden gems including Soho sushi celeb magnet Omen Azen, haute book shop McNally Jackson, and haute West Village spot Dante (for Negronis on tap).

Below, get Vongerichten's spots for everything from a quick coffee spot to the places where you can linger a little over sumptuous meals. 


A neighborhood favorite of mine is The Elk. Before I start my workday, I stop by for my daily cappuccino. I’m very particular about how my cappuccino is made and The Elk, from my first visit to my visit this morning (9 years after they opened), nails it every time.

A few favorite restaurants:

Omen Azen is a restaurant I have been going to for many, many years. The family-owned business is in the heart of Soho and offers the best Kyoto-style cuisine I have had in NYC. They also have a location in Kyoto which I have yet to visit (however, I have an upcoming trip to Kyoto so I might have to stop in.)

Whenever I am craving tacos, Atla is my go-to. There are so many options in NYC and while Los Tacos is a close second, if I am looking for a sit-down experience, Atla it is! Their mole, agua frescas, margaritas and seasonal offerings are always so flavorful, hitting all of the right spots. I love sitting at the bar on my own or at one of the corner tables with a group of friends or family. Inside tip – get the Overproof Margarita, it’s my go-to.

I have been coming to Blue Ribbon Sushi for many, many years. I’m actually a big fan of all of their establishments - every year for Super Bowl, I host people at my house, and we order Blue Ribbon fried chicken! Blue Ribbon Sushi is my family’s go-to restaurant for family dinner. From my brother Philippe and his family to my son Cedric, Louise, Chloe and more – when everyone shows up, we essentially take up half the restaurant! Amazing sushi, sake and more, every time.

I recently visited Torrisi for the first time and while I enjoy going to all the Major Food Group establishments regularly no matter what city I am in, I thought Torrisi was very special and delicious. Just a unique blend of Italian, Chinese and American ingredients and flavors.

Omen Azen
Omen Azen

Where we might find you on your day off:

Some people may be surprised to hear this given the demands of my job, but I love to read – not on my phone, not on a computer, but a physical book or magazine. I love the selection at McNally Jackson in The Seaport – their selection isn't overwhelming, it's the perfect mix of renowned vs. rising writers. The team there are extremely knowledgeable, and I love the coffee shop. They also have a great selection of original greeting cards and stationery.

Cocktails/Late Night:  You might be sensing a theme here… Japan. The Japanese are true masters of the Highball and my favorite in NYC is at Katana Kitten. All of their cocktails are great but I especially love their Highballs – signatures and seasonals. The overall vibe in there as well, makes me miss Tokyo so much and gets me so excited to visit every year.

Located just around the corner from my apartment, I love going to Dante on Hudson Street for a Negroni on Tap (or two.) Whether I’m catching up with friends or going for a night cap, they always welcome with me with such warmth and have my Negroni waiting for me. In case you’re feeling hungry and want to nibble on something, the charcoal oven baked bread, steak tartare and oysters are great shareable plates.

Hero image: Courtesy of Jean-Georges


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