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New York guide 2015: the best places to eat, drink and stay

We scour out the best restaurants, bars and hotels that New York has to offer. Follow our foodie guide to The Big Apple including oyster platters, the best bar food and D.I.Y martinis at F. Scott Fitzgerald's local.

Times Square might not be the most food-focussed destination in Manhattan, but the newly re-opened Knickerbocker Hotel is likely to change that. Built in 1906, this beautiful beaux-arts building on the corner of 42nd S was one of New York’s original swank hotels; F. Scott Fitzgerald was 
a regular and the hotel bar appears in his novel This Side of Paradise.

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In this, its latest incarnation, the hotel has been designed to cater to an equally party- loving crowd (as a nod to the legend that the martini was invented here, a martini cart is available in the restaurant to prepare you a perfect frosty one, tableside). But these days moneyed revellers like a decent meal, so, the hotel restaurant has drafted in Michelin- starred chef Charlie Palmer. The short modern menu includes starters like scotch quail’s eggs with dijon and bacon mayo and pillowy homemade gnocchi with squid and fire-roasted tomato sauce.

Great rooftop bars are a huge draw in Manhattan, and St Cloud, which covers the whole top floor of the hotel and has a balcony with unique views of Times Square and the Manhattan skyline, is sure to become one
 of the most famous.

Within the landmark building’s brick exterior, rooms are sleek, modern and luxurious with private bars which come with everything you need to make your own version of the knickerbocker martini.

Stay on 42nd street and it’s a short walk to Grand Central Station. Hidden on the lower levels is the iconic Grand Central Oyster Bar and Restaurant – a beautiful tiled space with curving vaulted ceilings. Avoid the formal dining room and turn right when you walk through the doors to grab a space at the oyster bar where you can watch the experts shuck over 25 varieties of oysters daily. Order the oyster platter of 8 different types and a pint of Bluepoint Toasted Lager to drink with them. 

If you fancy something a bit more boozy, it’s a few blocks south to The Ginger Man,
 a cosy midtown bar. With more than 60 beers on draught, it’s a good place to expand your knowledge of the US craft beer scene. Some of the ABVs can get a bit hefty, so bar food like soft pretzels with homemade beer cheese, or sausage platters with sauerkraut, potato salad and black bread comes as a very handy buffer.

Double rooms start at $446 per night (theknickerbocker.com). Return flights from London to New York start at £772. More info: nycgo.com

Photo credits: Getty images


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