Is it actually possible to find fine dining and brilliant music, opera, dance or theatrical performances in the same place? Our correspondent Jillian Tangen has uncovered the best restaurants in the world in performing arts venues. So you don’t have to rush – your dinner is just steps away from your show at these world-class eateries in concert halls around the globe. What could be more luxurious than that?
do fine dining and performing arts venues ever share the same space?
Dinner and a show. We’ve all made those plans before. More often than not though, it’s the show part of those plans that gets all the attention, while the dinner portion becomes an afterthought. So you end up booking a reservation someplace close to the concert hall, only to have to repeatedly remind your server that you have to be out in time for your performance.
As a result, you can feel rushed through your meal. Add the anxiety of rushing to get to the performance. And suddenly your evening has become quite stressful, when its meant to be the opposite: relaxing and otherworldly.
Why do we do that to ourselves? One reason might be the conventional belief that while restaurants in performing arts venues might be nice, the food and settings are insufficiently refined to be truly luxurious.
But why should one part of dinner and a show be more important than the other, dear reader?
Fortunately, you don’t have to choose anymore. Because more and more performing arts venues are opening restaurants that are as worthy of our attention as the shows taking place there. Not to mention that these concert hall eateries know how to calmly time the service for a pre-performance meal. Meaning that you will never feel rushed. And there’s no stress at all in getting to your seats on time.
Great wine list, lovely meal, no stress? Sounds like the perfect prelude to a performing arts performance. Are you in? The read on.
best restaurants in the world in performing arts venues
Say goodbye to mediocre meals at concert halls and theaters. We’ve found ten outstanding restaurants inside some of the world’s most renowned performing arts venues.
1. Lincoln Ristorante at Lincoln Center.
Set on the plaza of Lincoln Center, next to the Henry Moore sculpture pool and across from Julliard, you’ll find a brilliant restaurant. Lincoln Ristorante serves modern Italian cuisine in a sleek setting. Walls of windows present diners with marvelous views of the Lincoln Center campus. The restaurant offers a pre-theater menu beginning at 5:00P. It features many dishes created with fresh ingredients from local farmers, including the nearby Tucker Square Green Market. A good friend says to be sure to save room for dessert. It’s simply delectable here, no matter what you order.
2. Patina at The Walt Disney Concert Hall.
Located inside LA’s Walt Disney Concert Hall, Patina is an award winning, Michelin-starred restaurant offering contemporary French cuisine. There are three different tasting menus that change seasonally. In addition, you’ll find a variety of artisanal cheeses, caviar service and an award-winning wine list. Patina is also one of the only restaurants in the world to have its own water sommelier. The H2O menu includes 25 different options. Lastly, if you prefer dining after the show, you’re in luck. On nights when the Los Angeles Philharmonic performs, Patina offers post-theater dining. The last seating is 30 minutes after the performance ends.
3. Roof Terrace Restaurant & Bar at The Kennedy Center.
Before you head to a show at the Kennedy Center, head upstairs to the venue’s Roof Terrace Restaurant where you can enjoy some of the best skyline views of America’s capital. The restaurant changes its menu of classic American dishes with the seasons to feature items fitting the Farmer’s Almanac and current performances, as seen with the kid friendly Lion King themed menu offered last summer. On Sundays the Roof Terrace offers a full scale Sunday brunch complete with seafood towers, seasonal salads and other traditional breakfast foods too.
4. Coda by Éric Chavot at Royal Albert Hall.
Set in the east portico of Royal Albert Hall, Coda is the brainchild of Michelin starred Éric Chavot and Rhubarb hospitality group. The restaurant opens two hours prior to show time and cleverly, during the performance intermission, you return for dessert and/or drinks. The menu focuses on seasonal dishes with an influence of traditional French cooking – think delicate portions of beef tartare topped with a soft-boiled quail’s egg for starters and a classic fine apple tart to finish. Yum.
5. Argent at Oslo Opera House.
As one of the two restaurants at the Oslo Opera, Argent is the go to option for fine dining for anyone venturing inside the impressive marble building. In addition to its superb location in Oslo’s newest and hippest neighborhood, Barcode, Argent serves delicious food, made with fresh and seasonal produce. Guests can select between a six course menu or an a la carte menu for dining here. And if you feel a little full after dining before the show, head outside where you can literally talk a walk up the slanted angles of the opera house itself while also taking in the building’s marvelous views of Norway’s capital.
6. Restaurant Red at KKL Luzern.
If you are in need of someplace elegant to dine pre or post show at the KKL in Luzern, head straight to the first floor where you will find Restaurant Red. In addition to delightful views over the lake and city you will find a fusion menu filled with French, Asian and local Swiss inspirations. Examples of unique combinations that can be found on the menu at Red include a variety of sashimi, aged local cheeses and roast duck with coriander and beetroot dumplings.
7. Casa da Música Restaurant at Casa da Música.
Clever back-lit art and lofty ceilings create a sleek, urbane backdrop for the bright and simple Mediterranean inspired flavors at Casa da Música Restaurant at Casa da Música. The House of Music in Porto, Portugal embraces contemporary architecture throughout. It was designed by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, and garners rave reviews from design experts. Located at the top of the concert hall, the restaurant opens onto a black and white tiled terrace. There, diners have panoramic views overlooking the Rotunda da Boavista gardens and the city of Porto. Noteworthy dishes include the octopus carpaccio with herb salad and Parmesan tuile and the sea bass with mussel stew and lemon zest.
8. Il Marchesino at Teatro alla Scala.
The world’s most famous opera house is also home to one of Milan’s most famous restaurants. Newly reopened following an extensive renovation, Il Marchesino offers traditional dishes that are unusually light but nonetheless delicious. Making its return to the menu is the famous “rice and gold” dish by the restaurant’s original chef and founder Gualtiero Marchesi. The atmosphere is romantic and lush, making it the perfect place to enjoy an aperitif or dinner before or after a dramatic show.
9. Al Angham at Royal Opera House Muscat.
A night out at the opera tends to be refined affair, so there is no more exquisite place to dine before your show at the Royal Opera House in Muscat other than Al Angham. From the Omani silver napkin rings to the lavishly carved wooden ceilings, this stylish restaurant showcases both Oman’s traditional design and styles as well as its national cuisine. Traditional dishes to try here include Shiwa, Harees, Jareesh and O’rsyia among others.
10. Bennelong at Sydney Opera House.
The food at the Sydney Opera House’s restaurant, Bennelong, is not what you might expect given it is one of the city’s biggest tourist attractions. Rather than attempting to feed the throngs of visitors, the restaurant here focuses on refined modern Australian fare and is a celebration of local Australian produce, meat and seafood, from Fraser Island’s spanner crab to Hervey Bay’s scallops. Having been renovated a few years ago the interior has the grandeur of a cathedral, in addition to some of the most spectacular views in town.
There you have it, our roundup of ten of the best restaurants in performing arts venues. And it couldn’t come at a better time, with full season of summer performances soon underway. So what are you waiting for – book that dinner and a show. You won’t regret it.
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Jillian Tangen is the Head of Research at Dandelion Chandelier. Formerly, she was a Senior Research Analyst at McKinsey & Co and Analyst at Shearman & Sterling. She is an avid fan of Nordic design, having owned an independent lifestyle store and sales agency focused on emerging Scandinavian design. Jillian lives in NYC and is married with three young children. She loves cross country skiing, the New York Rangers, reading, travel and discovering new brands.