Finding a good restaurant for a pre-theater dinner in New York City isn’t easy. Sure, plenty of restaurants in and around the Theater District advertise pre-theater meals, but it’s often the restaurants that court theatergoers the loudest that are the least appetizing and the most overpriced. Instead, opt for a pre-theater dinner at one of these five Theater District restaurants; whether you’re looking for Korean or Thai, Japanese or Mexican, we’ve got you covered.
Julian Medina’s excellent Mexican restaurant is so well-loved that it’s sprouted offshoots on the Upper East Side and in the Financial District. Head to the 50th Street location before your performance — it opens at 3pm, so show up as early as you like — and settle in for refined guacamole, enchiladas and margaritas. There are plenty of vegetarian options, as well as straightforward choices like quesadillas for the kids. 251 W. 50th St., 212-581-1818, toloachenyc.com
There’s simply no better pizza pedigree than Don Antonio’s. The restuarant was opened in 2012 by two Neapolitan legends, Roberto Caporuscio, who runs this pizzeria and the downtown Kesté, and Antonio Starita, the third-generation owner of Pizzeria Starita a Materdei in Naples, which dates back to 1901. Here, you’ll find pizzas both by-the-book — a classic Margherita — and much more creative, like the fried Montanara pizza or the racchetta, shaped like a tennis racket, with the head topped in cheeses and vegetables and the handle a delightfully chewy crust. It’s open from lunch straight through dinner, and you’ll want to leave a bit of time to get seated. 309 W. 50th St., 646-719-1043, donantoniopizza.com
Even those familiar with Korean fare will find something new and exciting at Danji, a good-looking sliver of a restaurant that takes Korean elements — soft tofu-seafood stew soondoobu jji-gae, marinated beef bulgogi, Korean fried chicken – and puts a unique spin on them. The result is one of the neighborhood’s true can’t-miss restaurants. If your party is six or more, make a reservation; otherwise, try to arrive a bit early. 346 W. 52nd St.; 212-586-2880; danjinyc.com
We all know Top Ramen, but have you ever had real ramen? Each bowl of the Japanese dish is filled with springy noodles, luscious pork and a broth that’s almost unimaginably rich. (You can get vegetarian ramen, too, but pork is the classic.) Some of the city’s best comes from Ippudo, which, after years as a wildly popular shop downtown, just opened a branch in Midtown West. Try to get there around the 5pm opening, as it can get crowded. (Bonus of an early meal? It’s happy hour until 7pm! ) 321 W. 51st St., 212-974-2500, ippudony.com
Walk a few blocks south of 42nd Street madness to a restaurant that feels like it’s worlds away. Larb Ubol is a cheery, low-key place to eat dinner, with accents of color everywhere, incredibly helpful staff, and — oh, yeah — killer Thai food. Definitely order at least one larb salad, of course — spicy salads of ground meat — and don’t miss the incredibly pad ped moo krob, crispy pork and Thai eggplant. For less adventurous eaters, there are simple grilled meats, too. Make a reservation if you wish, but there shouldn’t be a problem getting a table. 480 9th Ave., 212-564-1822, larbubol.com