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A sustainable guide to Manhattan’s best restaurants

Explore New York City’s most sustainable restaurants with this guide as your roadmap. | By Elizabeth Wellington | September 3, 2021

The world’s most remarkable chefs know that every inspiring meal begins with the best ingredients. In New York City, in particular, there’s a renaissance of purpose-driven restaurants that are attracting diners from all over the world. It’s happening at Conrad New York Downtown and Conrad New York Midtown, where the chefs prioritize partnering with local and sustainable farms, wineries, purveyors and artisans. Whether you’re looking for the city’s best pizza or a three-Michelin-star meal, you can savor the city’s most memorable dishes in sustainable ways. Here are three characteristics you can expect to taste and experience on a culinary trip to the city:

    • Diverse experiences: From Peruvian meals to Japanese vegetarian fare, the restaurants of New York City reflect the diversity of the city’s vibrant culture.
    • Local terroir: There’s an abundance of farms, fisheries and vineyards throughout the Empire State, and you can savor their terroir on a visit to NYC.
    • Conscious practices: You’ll find chefs who integrate environmental and social sustainability into every aspect of their restaurants, from decor to composts to their fuel sources.

Get eco-friendly freshness in Downtown Manhattan

Downtown Manhattan is a patchwork quilt of different neighborhoods, from Tribeca to Greenwich Village, the Lower East Side to the Financial District. Staying in Lower Manhattan is ideal if you love river views. For some of the best water views in the city, stay at the Conrad New York Downtown in Tribeca.

Head up to the Loopy Doopy Rooftop Bar on the 16th floor of the hotel for views of the Statue of Liberty and the New York Harbor. Delight in the bar’s signature Poptail drink, which features a Mom & Icepops booze-infused popsicle in flavors such as Raspberry Moscow Mule and Lemon-Jasmin Gin, served in a choice of Moët & Chandon Ice Impérial, prosecco or rosecco on tap.

The bar also offers a fresh, seasonal menu from the hotel’s ATRIO Wine Bar & Restaurant. Located on the 2nd floor with a dramatic open kitchen, you can watch chefs prepare internationally inspired cuisine created with the finest local produce.

Loopy Doopy poptail

Sip a refreshing Poptail as you savor views of the Manhattan skyline. The popsicle featured in this signature drink is made with all-natural ingredients and sourced from a Brooklyn-based business run by a mother and son.

Grand Banks is a short walk from the hotel, and the place to go if you’re craving seafood. This sustainable oyster bar is aboard a historical wooden schooner docked at The Hudson River’s Pier 25. Here, you’ll want to start with a nautical-inspired cocktail like the Mariner, with Mariner Gin, sparkling Chenin Blanc, orange and fennel, alongside a ceviche of wild-caught Montauk sea bream, complete with tomatillo, makrut lime, brunoise of shallots, habanero, sweet peppers and mint. At Grand Banks, they have committed to a zero-waste policy, skipping plastics, paper and cans and instead opting to compost in collaboration with Hudson River Park.

Try out midtown's best sustainable eats

If you head up the Hudson River from Tribeca to Hell’s Kitchen, you’ll find The Marshall. At this gourmet pizza spot in a city known for its pies, The Marshall solely features New York-based wineries on the menu and includes ingredients from farmers. Going a step further, the team burns no gas and cooks only with fires with wood from replanted apple and cherry trees from local orchards. As one of the best Italian restaurants in the city, its emphasis on environmentally sustainable practices is matched only by the flavor of its farm-to-table fare.

While you’re in midtown, don’t miss the famed, three-Michelin-star-winning Eleven Madison Park. When it opened again — after closing during the COVID-19 pandemic —the restaurant shocked the world by taking something big off the menu: meat. The team refocused their efforts on building a plant-based menu that prepares vegetables to the highest levels of refinement. Dinner in their soaring art deco dining room is a must for anyone visiting the city. Plus, with the purchase of every dinner, the restaurant donates five meals to New Yorkers in need.

A block away from Park Avenue, the vegetarian restaurant Kajitsu highlights the shojin cooking tradition that began in Zen Buddhist monasteries. The executive chef received one Michelin star for the restaurant’s visionary approach to Japanese cuisine, which begins with vegetables grown at nearby farms. The menu changes monthly and is served alongside Japanese green tea from a 300-year-old tea producer in Kyoto, Ippodo, and the high-quality sake. For a splendid culinary experience, select the ten-course “Omakase” menu.

Suite views

If you want to be in the center of it all — close to these restaurants and iconic landmarks like the New York Public Library and Central Park — stay at Conrad New York Midtown. Its perfect location makes it easy for you to walk everywhere so you make it to your next meal without hopping into a yellow cab.

The Conrad New York Midtown is all suite, with suites starting at 500 sq. ft. and resembles a New York City Pied-à-Terre. You will be in the heart of the city with iconic views of the skyline.

Setting your sights on uptown

If you’re staying in midtown, it’s worth setting your sights on uptown, particularly Harlem. Here you’ll find up-and-coming restaurants challenging the status quo. Clay, a local bistro in West Harlem, gets its ingredients from small farms and purveyors across New York State and Pennsylvania. Whether you’re looking for appetizers and drinks or a full meal, it’s the ideal spot to grab a seat at the bar. Don’t miss the grass-fed steak tartar, prepared with fermented pepper, sesame, buckwheat, celery root and cured egg yolk.

You’ll also want to adventure across town to East Harlem to one of uptown’s most notable openings in 2021, Contento. This Peruvian restaurant boasts one of the city’s best sommeliers, who sources wine from as close as the Hudson Valley and the Finger Lakes region. Beyond the intentionality with sourcing, the team champions social sustainability; by being advocates for disability rights and inclusivity. Aisles and tables can accommodate wheelchairs, and guests can use a wheelchair-accessible bar that overlooks both the dining room and the open kitchen.

Now that you know which sustainable restaurants to set your sights on, you’re ready to book a trip to the Big Apple. And once you’ve booked your suite, reach out to the concierge at Conrad New York Midtown or Conrad New York Downtown for help getting reservations at these top spots.

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Elizabeth Wellington is a travel writer and brand copywriter whose work has appeared in Vogue, Condé Nast Traveler, Travel & Leisure and BBC. When not writing in her Vermont farmhouse, she's usually en route to a new destination with a notebook in hand.

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