We often hear about the pleasure of dining in Europe, of sidewalk cafes and leisurely lunches and recipes that don’t quite make it across the pond intact. While traveling to eat will always be a favorite pastime of mine, there are many days between trips when I crave a taste of somewhere foreign without the desire to schlep luggage or attempt to sleep in a coach seat on an overnight transatlantic flight (let alone, shell out hundreds for a plane ticket).
Right here in New York City there are tastes of Europe, many authentic to how they are served across the pond. But here’s the secret: Instead of featuring dishes or restaurants that were simply inspired by European culture, the following are sister restaurants to current places abroad, or feature traditional cooking from a talented chef born and raised in Europe. Eat up – and escape New York with each bite.
One of the most beloved lunch destinations in Copenhagen is Aamanns, where traditional Danish smørrebrød, or open-faced sandwiches on rye bread, are carefully assembled with a creative combination of ingredients. Without crossing the Atlantic, hungry diners can head to Tribeca for an authentic experience that includes traditional food, Danish design, and house-infused aquavit to complete the Dane-centric experience.
In Brooklyn’s Clinton Hill, a neighborhood pharmacy closed after more than 100 years of operation. This space, beautifully restored, is the home of Locanda Vini e Olii, a comfortable restaurant serving exquisite Tuscan food. Executive Chef Michele Baldacci grew up in Florence and cooked in one of the city’s most beloved restaurants, Buca Lapi. Now he brings his sensibilities straight from Florence to Locanda Vini e Olii; his homemade pastas are downright heavenly.
There are many French brasseries in New York, but not many have a sister restaurant in Paris. Designed to bring the French steakhouse to Lexington Avenue, Le Relais de l’Entrecôte is known for its classic steak frites with a secret house sauce. Many design features have been duplicated from the Paris original, including comfortable banquette seating and low lighting. Don’t worry about having too many choices, there’s no menu here – you simply tell the server how you like your steak.
4. Blaue Gans
Traditional Austro-German fare is served at Blaue Gans, a wirsthaus-inspired Tribeca restaurant from Chef Kurt Gutenbrunner. After growing up in a small village along the Danube River, Gutenbrunner worked in Michelin-rated restaurants in Austria and Germany. This comfortable and casual spot serves up wholesome renditions of old favorites including Wiener Schnitzel and apple strudel. Beers from Bavaria are available on tap.
What’s your favorite European restaurant in NYC?