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The Newest Additions to Rockefeller Center’s Growing Restaurant Scene

By Julie SchneiderAug 31 2023
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Food & Wine recently named Rockefeller Center “the most exciting place to eat in New York City” and, in December 2022, the New York Times dubbed this dining destination “the New York restaurant event of the year.” While the bustling bars and dining spots — like Pebble Bar, Lodi, and Jupiter — are becoming midtown staples in their own right, there are also openings, new menus, and exciting updates across campus.

Recently, a couple of new restaurants began bringing fresh new flavors to the Rink Level. Whether you’re looking to grab a quick meal to go or linger over perfectly crafted cocktails, keep reading to find out about the most recent arrivals, plus pro tips and must-try food and drink recommendations straight from the restaurateurs themselves.

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Puya Tacos de Puebla

Named for the famed hot pepper, Puya Tacos de Puebla offers a fresh, flavor-rich slate of Mexican cuisine from the Puebla region. With sunny yellow walls, terracotta-colored tiling with floral motifs, and upbeat tunes wafting from the speakers, the restaurant — which opened in June — feels lively and inviting, a perfect spot for a quick lunch or a longer hangout with friends over cervezas. Behind the counter, marinated pork rotates on a spit — succulent al pastor in the making. The menu, from chefs Romulo Barrientos and Jaime Leon, features six signature tacos, (with grilled pork and skirt steak, braised pork ribs, chicken tinga, and vegetables), as well as other dishes, including a salad with grilled elote asado, nachos, a burrito, and guacamole. To drink: refreshing agua frescas (tamarindo, jamaica, horchata), beers, sangria, and Mexican sodas. Keep an eye out for upcoming events, like happy hours with live music.

Pro tip: “We encourage everyone to embrace the adventure and try new dishes and flavors,” says Francesco Realmuto, president of Realmuto Hospitality Group. “Ask questions. Our staff can help you choose the perfect combination for your meal.”

Dish to try: This month’s Taco Especial, a grilled shrimp taco with lettuce, chipotle aioli, and a mango sauce, has been a crowd favorite. Realmuto notes, “Both the flavors and texture of this dish are just an exceptional combination.”

Puya Tacos de Puebla is open Monday through Sunday from 10:30am to 7pm.

The Tipsy Baker

In early July, the team behind bakery and cafe Pain d’Avignon and Café d’Avignon opened a new cafe (and soon-to-be bar) called The Tipsy Baker. As co-owner Uliks Fehmiu explains, “Everything we do is rooted in the artisanal breads we serve to Michelin-starred restaurants across the city.”

Behind a glass counter filled with an artful array of croissants, cakes, tartines, and quiches, baristas make coffee drinks. Across the room, barstools ring a U-shaped bar. “We wanted to create a warm and welcoming space where two seemingly opposing concepts — morning and night, coffee and wine, the baker’s counter and the bar — live in harmony,” says Fehmiu. “It’s a space where you can grab a sandwich and salad on the go, or you can sit down at a table and have a glass of wine with a beautifully plated lunch.”

Dish to try: “My personal favorites are the pork belly on brioche and the tuna curry tartine. I absolutely love the grilled octopus and lamb kebabs, probably a sentimental journey for me to my Balkan homeland,” Fehmiu says.

Coming soon: The cafe counter will expand to include antipasti (think orange-glazed carrots, baba ganoush, roasted olives), and the bar will offer organic and biodynamic wines, beers, spirits, and cocktails (including non-alcoholic options) that highlight the “old-school glamor and iconoclastic personality of Rockefeller Center and what it stands for.”

The Tipsy Baker is currently open on Monday from 7am to 12pm, and Tuesday through Sunday from 7am to 3pm.

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