Our 10 Most Pretentious Restaurants

ippudoramen.jpg
Sarah DiGregorio
Ippudo's ramen is good, but is it worth a three-hour wait?

New York City teems with restaurants, offering diners many, many tasty options. With delicious often comes pretentious, though. Just because a restaurant serves up some good grub doesn't mean that the overall dining experience is worth the trip. And so we've come up with our 10 most pretentious restaurants. Certainly other pretentious places abound, so if we forgot your favorite, leave a suggestion in the comments.

10. Ippudo -- No question, the food at Ippudo is great. Nothing warms the soul on a cold day like a bowl of the akamaru modern or the special karaka-men. But a restaurant that quotes you a two- to three-hour wait time, unapologetically and without acknowledging the ridiculousness of the situation? No thanks. Even Nate Appleman agrees the restaurant's pretentious. 65 Fourth Avenue, 212-388-0088

9. Norma's -- Three words: Thousand dollar frittata. The restaurant in Le Parker Meridien serves a six-egg frittata topped with lobster claws and 10 ounces of Sevruga caviar for a mere thousand smackers, which is just over the top and ridiculous. 119 West 56th Street, 212-708-7460


Chessa Cahill
Filled with customers who use "summer" as a verb.

8. Le Bilboquet -- Unless your name is Muffy and you've been patronizing this French bistro since your days at Chapin to eat crab salad and hobnob with the friends you summer with in Biarritz, chances are you've had to deal with the rude and snobbish staff. 25 East 63rd Street, 212-751-3036

7. Torrisi Italian Specialties -- Yes, you're so precious with the old-school food products lining the shelves, your single menu, and your floral decorated china. A tad too much, though, no? Furthermore, how is anyone ever supposed to eat at your 18-seat restaurant if you don't take reservations? Not everyone gets out of work at 5 o'clock! 250 Mulberry Street, 212-965-0955

6. Momofuku Ko -- There's a lot of pomposity going on at David Chang's 12-seat prix-fixe restaurant without waiters. Surely, its most obnoxious element is its reservation system (what, a party of three can't dine there?), but the cuisine can be overly precious and the rule about no photography is annoying. 163 First Avenue, 212-500-0831


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15 comments
Suzinne Sayles
Suzinne Sayles

May I make my submission for all time tacky, pretentious and downright rude restaurant?  Try Angelo's and Maxies on Park Avenue South near Union Square.  My elderly Aunt and I had an early dinner reservation.  We arrived at 5:30 p.m.  Dining room was fairly empty.  Do you know that they REFUSED TO SEAT US?  Instead, they directed us to sit in the totally unappealing tiny bar at the rear of the restaurant.  We promptly left.

I scratch my head and ask "What restaurant with empty tables can afford to turn away paying customers?"

Tristannyc
Tristannyc

then eat at home suckas! when i pay several hundred dollarsfor dinner i take marijuana breaks,photos,and get silly drunk...eat ur heart out losers!

Pogue58
Pogue58

Ten places I'll avoid the next time I visit.

ajalonzo
ajalonzo

If Torrisi is pretentious because it has a no reservation policy. Then all restaturants that have no res policies are pretentious. In my opinion they are just trying to ensure that most people can get a crack at dining there on any given evening..Reservations would be the easy route for them. They would have 60 covers after the first 5 minutes that the phone lines were open..

Rkajecsb
Rkajecsb

Thanks for shinning a light on those that think they are above the light.

Swan
Swan

Diner never bothered me. I love it. And I'm a big hater in general.

bobbymiller
bobbymiller

Agreed on Diner. The menu thing doesn't bother me at all. Seems like that's the only pet peeve of the writer in regards to that place. Love their burger!

Bermudez347
Bermudez347

Burger King... sooo full of themselves!

Joe
Joe

Bar Centrale.

Mmm
Mmm

IT'S ONLY FREAKIN FOOD!!!

YOU EAT IT AND SHIT IT OUT!!!!

Wahbjo01
Wahbjo01

Le Cirque should be added to this list. Most pretentious dining experience I've ever had. Much more so than Torrisi, Ippudo & Momo. That food is at least worth the price both in terms of money and effort to get in.

Mlmaccioni
Mlmaccioni

Le Cirque being pretentious is a terrible stereo-type.

Ciprian Tutu
Ciprian Tutu

Heh, where to begin? I think the author misses a key part of the pretension definition: behaving or speaking in such a manner as to create a false appearance of great importance or worth. The part that is being missed is the _false_ appearance of worth.

Surely, some of the venues on this list match the bill perfectly. But others are listed just out of pure ignorance or desire to grab attention by having a controversial opinion on places that are popular at the moment.

Ippudo - you admit the food is great. Case closed. You wait as much as you need to, if you want great food or go elsewhere if you think 2 hrs are too much. Others don't. People wait 40 minutes in line at Shake Shack sometimes. I find that ridiculous, but I don't call it pretentious - I just come some other time.

Momofuku and Brooklyn Fare - most people go (or should go) to restaurants to EAT their food not take pictures of it. Perhaps that's bizzarre to you, but that's the way it should be. Also, all these places actually do allow you to take pictures if you make special request, ahead of time and do it when not disturbing other customers. I also think they let you take your plate with you to the restroom and the no photography rule does not apply there.

Torrisi - Yes, most of us don't get off at 5pm. But sometimes it's worth taking 1hr off for a nice dinner. I don't find Torrisi pretentious. Just efficient. Not everyone wants/can afford to pay ridiculous fees to Opentable or hire a person just to take reservations. Also, cooking a single menu for the night is better for the chef and results in overall better quality and better experience for the diner.

Seriously, just because a restaurant doesn't pander to bloggers, doesn't make them pretentious. Perhaps they care more about getting their food right instead.

famdoc
famdoc

People's complaints about Brooklyn Fare's no photography policy is getting a bit tired.Judge the place on the merits of its food and its value.And, as a former food porn devotee, I'm just getting tired of people taking out cameras in every restaurant to photograph their meals. To me, it's like cell phones or Blackberries: a convenience, but distracting in a fine restaurant.

TarahTot
TarahTot

I completely agree. I love food and I do indeed love food blogs, but when I'm eating at a restaurant and the next table is taking photos, it's very distracting and cheapens the experience.

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