The Rubin Museum in Chelsea brings together 1,500 years of Himalayan art, with scroll paintings, sculptures, masks and textiles from the Tibetan plateau and surrounding regions. The serenity and creativity of the artwork is matched by the presentation of dishes at of the spacious, lobby level Café Serai.
The menu feaures pan-Asian dishes including pan-fried or steamed momos (South Asian dumplings), creamy chicken tikka masala or black pepper lamb curry. During the day, the lounge is a peaceful place for tea and pastries.
On Friday nights the museum offers free admission from 6 to 10pm, and the cafe morphs into K2, a clubby spot with a DJ and dancing. Yes, dancing in a museum.
Other NYC museum restaurants and cafes worth noting:
Storico, at the New York Historical Society, has picture windows facing the tree-shrouded American Museum of Natural History across the street, and an Italian-influenced seasonal menu that features pastas, salads and house-made gelato or granita.
The Morgan Dining Room & Café, at the Morgan Library & Museum, is another airy choice, in the glass-enclosed atrium, offering sandwiches and salads for lunch, and afternoon tea.
Flora Bar, at the Met Breuer, is underground, so no windows with views. The American menu features steak and seafood dressed up with artistic presentations and flavors. There’s also a coffee bar for sandwiches and pastries.
M. Wells Dinette at MoMA PS1 is as eclectic and as edgy as the museum, with concoctions like grilled cheese with blueberries and a spaghetti sandwich. This used to be a NYC public school, and the restaurant is a cafeteria theme.
This was posted originally in January 2018 and has been updated for 2020.