When it comes to going out to eat, the restaurant atmosphere can be just as essential as the food itself. Here are some eateries that take the dining environment to a seriously entertaining level.
Ninja New York 25 Hudson St.
This Tribeca establishment takes its name in quite a literal fashion, offering high-end Japanese cuisine served by a wait staff dressed as ninjas. Surrounded by authentic decor, guests find themselves winding through dark hallways to locate secluded tables in private rooms. Throughout the meal, ninjas serve dishes using fire and smoke, and a magician visits each table for a truly entertaining experience. But be warned, the frequent surprise attacks from the ninjas may not be the only scares of the evening. Save this unique restaurant for a special occasion, as the bill could add up well into triple digits.
Oda House 76 Avenue B
Ever wanted to try Georgian cuisine with authentic tunes playing in the background? East Village’s Oda House offers just that, with traditional Georgian fare, from cheese breads to lamb and veal dishes. On weekends, a live folk band plays classic songs that, combined with an affordable meal, make for a perfect dining atmosphere.
Caffe Vivaldi 32 Jones St.
A West Village staple for decades, Caffe Vivaldi has successfully remained a go-to restaurant for good food and even better music. With tables crowding around a small stage, diners can enjoy live music ranging from folk to jazz, with dishes from a variety of cuisines. Be sure to check out the cafe’s open mic nights on Mondays when the restaurant gives local musicians the chance to share their talents with a crowd of open ears.
A version of this article appeared in the 2014 Food and Fun Guide. Dana Reszutek is a managing editor. Email her at [email protected]