Café Carmellini

An elegantly maximalist approach to fine dining

The opening of Café Carmellini confirms that chef Andrew Carmellini has earned the right to an eponymous-named restaurant. The toque’s resume reads like a list of Manhattan’s most coveted reservations from the past 30 years, with time spent in the hallowed kitchens of Café Boulud and Lespinasse, and later, opening sceney New York City staples such as Bar Primi, The Dutch, Locanda Verde in The Greenwich Hotel and The William Vale’s Leuca.

The chef’s latest venture serves as The Fifth Avenue Hotel’s signature restaurant and celebrates the revival of Gilded Age grandeur, much like the hotel. Designer Martin Brudnizki created a lively setting befitting Café Carmellini’s maximalist yet refined menu. Inspired by his family’s Italian heritage, the kitchen melds the purity of Italian flavors with the finesse of French cuisine to spectacular results. Expect the perfect balance of formality and fun (along with a festive Stevie Wonder soundtrack) when you come experience it all for yourself.

Our Inspector's Highlights

  • The warm waitstaff displays an impressive commitment to ensuring guests enjoy a wrinkle-free dining experience (ironing every white tablecloth in between reservations) by doing everything from walking you down the hallway to the Portrait Bar to holding back the table's draped cloth as you settle into your seat. Most impressively, the production feels natural rather than formal.
  • The terraced two-story dining room exudes gilded-age glam. Six tiered chandeliers hang above two live trees in the space's center and are surrounded by gleaming brass mirrored columns and royal blue velvet banquettes, with a blue-tiled open kitchen and an ornately mirrored, six-seat bar with etched peacocks at either end.
  • Artful flourishes appear throughout Café Carmellini in the decor and the dishes. Keep your eyes peeled for a blue peacock cognac stopper, black leather embossed menus, a sculptural curved glass wine decanter and a ceramic vase used for the bread service.
  • The menu's thoughtful organization prevents decision fatigue caused by leafing through a novel's worth of options. Here, choose from well-curated selections in the “Raw & Cured,” first-course, second-course and entree sections.
  • A seat on the dining room's second-story indoor terrace guarantees an intimate evening, a coveted luxury in Manhattan's many crowded restaurants. Guests can watch the action happening below comfortably perched in the plush banquettes. For maximum seclusion or larger events, the NYC restaurant also offers The Club Room private area with seating for 20.

The Food

  • The menu shares The Fifth Avenue Hotel's sense of whimsy. The sticky toffee pudding's aged rum is served in a flash of flame. The artichoke perigourdine arrives on a bed of frothing cream. A green apple sorbet accents the oysters à la pomme. And with a knowing wink to decadence, the lobster cannelloni comes with a generous heap of golden Osetra caviar.
  • Easy-drinking reds, complex whites and crisp Italian and French sparkling wines offered by the glass amplify the food's rich flavors, a credit to master sommelier Josh Nadel's thoughtful pairings. One of the staff's wine stewards can guide you through the 1,800-bottle wine list.
  • Standout dishes include a saucy rabbit cacciatore, a towering crab mille-feuille and a scallop coconut curry, named in homage to Floyd Cardoz, the late chef credited as the godfather of Indian cuisine.
  • Pastry chef Jeffrey Wurtz's impressive pedigree — he was a student of renowned chef Alain Ducasse — shows in his airy passion fruit chiboust, zesty hazelnut and citrus tart and other concoctions. The dessert menu wisely favors the refreshing over the decadent, with a grapefruit sorbet serving as its signature dish.
  • The bread service is not a mere afterthought. The wafer-thin cheese-laced breadsticks arrive in a ceramic vase, along with a steaming loaf of pull-apart sourdough bread complemented by anchovy paste and cultured sea salt butter sourced from Vermont.

Business casual
Gluten-free options
Private dining
Reservations recommended
Valet parking
Vegetarian options
Getting There
250 Fifth Avenue, New York, New York 10001
Café Carmellini
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