You’re going to see The Phantom of the Opera at the Majestic Theater and you need to know where to eat dinner beforehand? No problem! We’ve got just the right pre-theater restaurant for those going to see the longest-running musical on Broadway in New York City.
The Show: The Phantom of the Opera has been haunting the Great White Way since 1988, winning the Tony Award for Best Musical that same year. Today it is Broadway’s longest-running musical, and its score, with favorites as “Music of the Night,” and “All I Ask of You,” has become a classic. Based on Gaston Leroux’s gothic novel about the romance between a talented soprano and a mysterious, masked composer who spooks the Paris Opera house, the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical claims to be “the most successful piece of entertainment of all time, produced in any media.”
The Restaurant: A show with such longevity calls for an equally enduring restaurant pre-or post-performance; as luck would have it, the Theater District’s longest-running eatery, Barbetta, lies just two blocks away. The anchor of Restaurant Row for 108 years, Barbetta (opened four years before the release of Leroux’s 1910 novel) is set in a stunning 19th century townhouse. Its ornate interior features an antique Piemontese chandelier that once belonged to Italian royals. While not quite as large as the behemoth that crashes to the stage at Phantom, it is equally as breathtaking. The interior, in fact, has been landmarked by the Locali Storici d’Italia, an association dedicated to preserving historic Italian establishments, and Barbetta is the only restaurant in the U.S. to hold that designation. The lovely back garden, complete with fountain, caps the Italian villa feel of the decor. Such luxurious trappings have drawn patrons such as Bill and Hilary Clinton; you might also recognize the restaurant as a setting in television shows such as Mad Men, and films including Woody Allen’s Alice and Celebrity.
What to Eat: The traditional Piemontese menu is as delicious as historic. Each dish, in fact, is denoted by the date in which it was originally served at the restaurant. Minestrone giardiniera ($16) and risotto with wild porcini mushrooms ($26) has been served since opening in 1906. Modern additions include 1995s roasted rabbit alla Piemontese in white wine lemon sauce ($37) and a gianduja chocolate cake ($18) in 2009.
What Else to Know: At publication, Barbetta was offering 20 percent off at lunch, pre-theater and dinner menus (except Saturdays). Dressy business casual to cocktail attire is encouraged.