food 06.23.03

Best NY Restaurant Websites

Most New York restaurants, those that are online at all, have pretty snoozy websites: here's our menu, here's a little about the chef, here's what the press says. Okay as far as they go. Following, though, are some restaurant websites that go further, worth surfing to whether or not you're eating there any time soon.

321 W. 46th [8th/9th] 212.246.9171
In addition to pics of its ever-charming garden (at left), the website has some interesting features: one is a detailed history of the nearly 100-year-old restaurant, and a section called Barbetta Firsts in NY: it was the first Piedmontese restaurant in New York, the first to serve risotto, the first to serve sun-dried tomatoes, and the first to have a truffle hound hunt for truffles on the stage of Carnegie Hall. Details of that and the Barbetta truffle hounds — Apollo, Diana, and Pluto — are in their own section.

69 Gansevoort [Greenwich/Wash] 212.989.5779
The felt letter board on the wall behind the counter has always been a focal point at Florent and the site takes it as a motif and runs with it. In the gallery section, a history of the place by Florent and the delightful promotional work that Tibor Kalman and M & Co did for the restaurant. Check out Florent's travel tips and the wonderfully eccentric links page.

953 2nd [50th/51st] 212.644.6740
Zarela Martínez's site has an infectious enthusiasm for Mexican cooking. There are dozens of recipes, articles by Zarela on things like the Day of the Dead and the seafood of Veracruz, mail order sources for Mexican ingredients, and some of the restaurateur's favorite places to eat around town. Not the most highly designed site on this list, but Zarela is a completely engaging ambassador.

60 E. 65th [Mad/Park] 212.288.0033
You expect the top restaurants to have great sites, but mostly they don't. Daniel does. Gorgeously designed, filled with recipes, a wonderful photo of the original Cafe Boulud, and generous space given to the chefs at Mr. Boulud's other restaurants, it's a pleasure to visit. Time to lose the New Year's 2003 greetings from the staff, though.

110 Waverly [MacDougal/6th] 212.777.0303
Typical Batali: more is more and a little more than that is even better. This is the city's best restaurant website because it is smart, useful, fun, and well designed. We'd want to pack along Mr. Batali's travelogues (right now it's Sardinia) on a trip to Italy in the same way we'd never travel France without Patricia Wells (or at least her books) in tow. Recipes, staff picks for everything in New York from burgers to gelato, and good wine reading. If only it helped score a table.

Manhattan Fruitier, 212.686.0404,, our favorite gift service in town, has a great new offering: they'll ship to anywhere in the U.S. four 18-oz containers of the amazing ll Laboratorio del Gelato ( ice creams and sorbets, along with 12 cones and an ice cream scoop. It costs $75.

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