The oft-derided Harry Cipriani, for many years has been derided as a poor tasting, overpriced, “scene” restaurant. While I’ll tell you that the food was good, the last two are entirely correct.
Harry Cipriani is located in the Sherry-Netherland Hotel, a 1927 Art Deco beauty, that is not only intimate, but retains a grandness that usually only exists in larger, more impersonal hotels. It is located on across from Central Park and on Fifth Avenue, which creates a perfect atmosphere for shoppers and joggers. Its 50 rooms are individually decorated, and can be viewed before being booked on its website. The rooms, unlike the Plaza, its nearest hotel neighbor are reasonably priced (for the location) and give a great respite from the chain-dominated hotel industry.
The restaurant is open during breakfast, lunch and dinner. When I went there for breakfast, my party was one out of three that dined there. I’m sure there are usually more diners, but it was a rainy day and I came after the business crowd dined. As always mentioned in reviews, the restaurant is small and cramped with both small tables and chairs that allow for more people to be squeezed in, which equals more $$$. All of the waiters, were male (the restaurant was sued for sexual discrimination) and for the most part, European. The restaurant is famous mostly due to the celebrities who frequent it, and its ancestor, Harry’s Bar in Venice, invented the Bellini (peach nectar and sparkling wine) and Carpaccio. It was most recently rated “Poor” by Frank Bruni, but it still packs a crowd at lunch and dinner time.
Its a restaurant you bring someone to impress, but not to have a culinary experience. Usually its filled with older-looking blonde women and their even older-looking husbands, who have no problem with spending hundreds of dollars on a good (but not amazing) meal, because as I said earlier: you come here to see and be seen, not to eat.
Harry Cipriani (at the Sherry-Netherland Hotel)
781 Fifth Avenue at E. 59th Street (Central Park South)
Open: Daily (7am-10:30am, noon-11:45pm)
Amex, MC, V
Matchbooks: Yes, but you must ask your waiter