Le Cirque New York

A meal at Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star Le Cirque is the perfect capstone to a day spent seeing the sights of New York. Located on the east side in Midtown, this New York restaurant is mere steps from some of the city’s best shopping, attractions and hotels. The venerable New York City mainstay of haute cuisine reincarnated itself in 2006 when it moved from its old digs at The New York Palace Hotel to the Bloomberg Tower in Midtown. The move proved to be a good one — the old mainstay has settled nicely into its current space. Le Cirque’s impresario-owner, Sirio Maccioni, presides over his baby each night, looking over a more subdued dining room from the outlandish previous space — there’s no longer a baroque-carnival feel, but more of an Upper East Side party atmosphere, albeit encased in a gold tent. The futuristic glass and steel space is more suited to Midtown’s business crowd and the sometimes-cold Le Cirque service.
Our Inspector's Highlights
  • Expect great people-watching during your visit. Celebs, ranging from Kirk Douglas to Sophia Loren, have all been in to dine. The proof? Their photos are displayed on the restaurant’s walls, all taken during their individual visits.
  • The French translation of Le Cirque means circus, and that’s exactly what you’ll find inside the doors of the restaurant. In fact, the main dining room is even modeled after a big top, with bright colors to match. Although you may be under the big top, Le Cirque is known for its elegant fine dining and decadent French-Italian cuisine.
  • The service at Le Cirque is professional and well practiced. If you’re in for lunch or dinner, expect a formal experience that has been fine-tuned over time.
Things to Know
  • The most important thing to note about the New York restaurant is its history. Maccioni first opened Le Cirque’s doors in 1974, making it a much-celebrated and long-term part of New York’s restaurant scene.
  • It’s a worldwide eatery — Le Cirque now has several locations around the world in Las Vegas, the Dominican Republic, New Delhi and on the Holland America Cruise Line.
  • If you’re eager to try Le Cirque, but it’s a little bit beyond your budget, our recommendation is to dine in the café for more casual fare.
The Food
  • The four-course tasting menu is a retrospective of the restaurant’s greatest hits. Choose from a variety of dishes including the foie-gras terrine created by chef Alain Sailhac in 1983 or the lobster risotto that chef Daniel Boulud first put on the menu in 1986.
  • All of the dishes are available a la carte as well, but the tasting menu is the most bang for your buck.
  • The menu is upscale French and Italian classics with caviar, oysters, escargot, and rack of lamb available to order.
The Look
  • Le Cirque occupies 16,000 square feet of space that’s been brought to life by interior designer Adam Tihany and architect Costas Kondylis. Together, Tihany and Kondylis have created a lavish and celebratory space filled with color, elegance and some of that old New York charm.
  • Expect reds, yellows, oranges and golds — all eye-catching and vibrant colors that make Le Cirque come alive.
  • Look to the ceiling in the main dining room to get a sense of the ‘big top’ light shade, an homage to the restaurant’s theme. Also, take note of the fresh floral displays and the wall mirrors set up to reflect every possible view.
  • In Le Cirque’s casual dining café next to the bar, attention is placed on the restaurant’s history in New York. Large candid black and white photos of Maccioni — pictured over the years with a variety of celebrity guests — are on display.
  • Another signature design element in the café? The glass bar connected to a kaleidoscope wine tower, a gorgeous architectural piece that steals all the attention in the room.
Getting There
151 East 58th Street, New York, New York 10022