Dinner and a Show: Pairing Food with Your Theater Experience

New York City’s Theater District is home to more than just fantastic Broadway plays. It’s also packed with restaurants serving dishes from all around the world, many of which offer tasty, healthy options. If you’re headed into the city to catch a play, don’t settle for a hot dog or a slice of greasy pizza. Pair the evening’s show with some unforgettable cuisine. We’ve matched three of Broadway’s best shows with restaurants that perfectly complement the entertainment. Dig in and enjoy the show.

Healthy Food

Date Night
What you’re seeing: You scored tickets to see Hamilton and can’t wait to surprise your girlfriend with them over dinner. The smash hit musical tells the story of Alexander Hamilton, one of America’s founding fathers, through hip-hop, blues and so much more. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical depiction of Hamilton’s life is famous all over the world—it’s no wonder the show has won 11 Tony Awards.

What you’re eating: Hamilton is a native of the Caribbean, so why not stay on theme with some island-influenced cuisine? Victor’s Café (236 W. 52nd St.) serves up incredible Cuban and Caribbean food and features live music and inventive cocktails. Share the 1492 Appertivo Cubano, an assortment of classic Cuban appetizers. For your entrée, Victor’s freshly grilled seafood dishes can’t be beat. After dinner, walk to the show—Victor’s is less than a 10-minute walk to the Richard Rodgers Theatre, where Hamilton plays each night.

Family Adventure
What you’re seeing: When it comes to pleasing both kids and adults, Aladdin is an easy choice. Adapted from the 1992 film with new songs and fantastic choreography (done by Casey Nicholaw, who choreographed Book of Mormon), Aladdin is a show the entire family can enjoy. The musical includes several new songs, and the lavish costumes, music and dancing are simply stunning.

What you’re eatingAladdin takes place in the fictional city of Agrabah, but you can find fantastic food from the real Middle East right in the theater district. Aba Turkish Restaurant (325 W. 57th St.) has a menu that’s packed with healthy, flavorful dishes, many of which are vegetarian-friendly. Order up a Mediterranean spread with fresh favorites like falafel, tabbouleh and kebabs, and let the kids try a few new things. Finish up your meal with a Turkish tea before jumping on the subway for a quick ride down to the New Amsterdam Theatre for the show.

Out with the Girls
What you’re seeing: Meeting up with girlfriends in the big city? Consider buying tickets to see Waitress, a musical as sweet and biting as a tart cherry pie. Based on the 2007 movie of the same name, Waitress is a dark comedy about a woman who sees pies as her golden ticket out of a tough life. The stage adaptation includes music and lyrics by Sara Bareilles, and you’ll be singing the songs and quoting all the best one-liners for weeks.

What you’re eating: The musical’s main character, Jenna, works at a small-town American diner. Fortunately, you don’t have to travel to a small town to enjoy a slice of pie after the show. Ellen’s Stardust Diner (1650 Broadway) is located right on Broadway, about five minutes from the theater, and they’re open late. In classic diner fashion, the portions are very generous, so order one slice and a few forks to share. If you’re looking for something a little more substantial, try a soup or sandwich. Ellen’s is the perfect place to hash out your favorite parts of the show and plan your next get-together.

There’s no shortage of fantastic restaurants in New York City, and you can find many of them in the Theater District. Next time you head to a show, complete your evening with a tasty, nutritious meal just steps from the Broadway lights.

About the Author
Adam Young, the founder and CEO of Event Tickets Center, is a regular on the Broadway circuit, and he appreciates the importance of choosing a suitable pre- or post-show meal.