New York Fashion Week can seem like it’s as much about the latest designs to grace the runways as it is a seen-and-be-seen marathon of events. Restaurants can fall into this category during NYFW, too, when hot tables are difficult to snag and the people-watching is unparalleled. Here’s where you can eat without the crowds—but still dine in style.
Luckily, Fashion Week is not taking place across the street from Gabriel Kreuther at Bryant Park, so you won’t have to fight the masses to enjoy a meal at one of the city’s most elegant restaurants. Executive chef Gabriel Kreuther’s sophisticated cooking brings the comfort of Alsatian-inspired dishes to a sleek but unintimidating setting. Even if you pass on dinner, the bar is the perfect place for a pre-dinner cocktail or nightcap. 41 W. 42nd St., 212-257-5826
Even though Wildair is one of the buzziest restaurants to open in the last year, it can still be difficult to describe this eatery. It’s not quite a wine bar (although the natural wine selection is stellar) and it's not truly your traditional sit-down restaurant either, but the quality of food could easily be found at a white tablecloth establishment. However you perceive the place, order a bottle of wine and share as many plates as possible. 142 Orchard St., 646-964-5624
The Mandarin Oriental New York’s restaurant Asiate is a perfect escape from all the fashion week hustle. This serene dining room has one of the best views of Central Park, and the modern American cuisine is like art on a plate. If you want to catch a bit more of fashion week, just head to the next-door Lobby Lounge for a designer-inspired cocktail. 80 Columbus Cir., 212-805-8881
Feel as if you’ve stepped into the chef's home at at Günter Seeger NY. While the service is more formal and you won’t hear blaring music in the hushed dining room, it’s still approachable and most importantly, all about the food. Seeger offers seasonal ingredients on a tasting menu, which is perhaps the best way to experience the cooking of one of New York’s most talented chefs. 641 Hudson St., 646-657-0045
The fashion crowd is less likely to hit up Brooklyn restaurants—even ones like Olmsted, which has garnered a number of rave reviews from critics. This neighborhood restaurant in Prospect Heights serves high-quality food (some of the ingredients are grown by the staff) in a very approachable setting that puts the spotlight on seasonal ingredients. The backyard garden is perfect for a cocktail to kick off your dinner. 659 Vanderbilt Ave., Brooklyn, 718-552-2610