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The Best Museum Restaurants Around the U.S.

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5 Best Museum Restaurants in the U.S. | The Art of Dining

Photo by Evan Sung, The Modern

It’s an inspiration to all your senses to enjoy culinary excellence in the halls of the country’s best museum restaurants.

What could make for a better “Live Beautifully” day than to tour an awe-inspiring, well-designed, architecturally interesting art museum with works by the most-known masters and dining to elevate the spirit. It’s an a-plus day for all your senses, and we recommend making sure you experience each of these fine culinary destinations as you travel to the most ICONIC U.S. cities to savor the best museum restaurants.

THE MODERN at MOMA | New York

The Modern

I don’t make a trip to New York without making a reservation in advance for The Modern at the Museum of Modern Art, notably located across the street from one of my favorite hotels, the Baccarat Hotel, included in our Ultimate Travel Guide for 2019. The Modern features a sophisticated environment for Chef Abram’s refined, contemporary cooking in a beautiful setting overlooking the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Sculpture Garden. There are options to order from a seasonal menu or to enjoy the tasting menu, which we highly recommend. Every dish is plated like artwork and totally Insta-worthy. Be sure to save room for artistically designed desserts made by Pastry Chef Jiho Kim. The restaurant is proud of its award-winning wine program, and every glass is perfectly served in a stunning stem. The Modern holds two Michelin stars, a Three Star review in the New York Times, four James Beard Awards, and the Grand Award from Wine Spectator, making it one of the best museum restaurants. Always modern in its ways, The Modern does not accept tipping.

RAY’S & STARK BAR at LOS ANGELES COUNTY MUSEUM OF ART | Los Angeles

Ray's

Also designed by architect Renzo Piano, Ray’s & Stark Bar in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is a contemporary work of art unto itself. Floor-to-ceiling windows make it look like a jewel box. Dancing tea cups designed from 1850 to 1950 float throughout the space. Outside, artist Chris Burden’s iconic “Urban Light” installation of 202 decommissioned Los Angeles-area streetlamps makes for a striking backdrop as seen on so many television shows and movies. Named in honor of film producer Ray Stark, guests can enjoy a California-centric wine list, the nation’s most extensive water menu, and an artisanal selection of beers and spirits, creating a dynamic ambiance for art-loving patrons to go along with wood-fired pizzas and small bites.

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465 BAR AND RESTAURANT at MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS | Boston

The Museum of Fine Arts Boston’s dining venue 465 Bar and Restaurant, features executive chef Brian Flagg’s seasonal menu emphasizing fresh local ingredients, with an environmentally friendly and innovative root-to-stalk approach. The best museum restaurants offer a sophisticated space for dining with a view of world-class art with cocktails or mocktails, and 465 Bar and Restaurant is no different, with an excellent multi-course meal or a quick bite and discussion before or after a film, lecture or program. Originally designed by I. M. Pei, the space has been renovated and redesigned by architectural design firm Bergmeyer, its modern venue showcasing six still-lifes from the museum’s collection. 

PALETTE at PHOENIX ART MUSEUM | Phoenix

Palette

A visit to the Phoenix Art Museum never disappoints, especially when paired with a meal at Palette restaurant. With a focus on family-friendly and seasonal American food, the Palette menu showcases local farmers and producers, giving visitors a taste of Arizona through organic vegetables, handcrafted sauces and local meats. Offering local-to-Arizona boutique beers and wines, it’s also a great spot for a drink. Choose to dine in the casual dining room, or on the patio overlooking the beautiful Dorrance Sculpture Garden.

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VERDANT at ORANGE COUNTY MUSEUM OF ART | Costa Mesa

Verdant

Designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Thom Mayne of Morphosis Studio, the new home for the Orange County Museum of Art is a work of art, and so is the on-site Verdant Cafe. Led by Chef duo Ross Pangilinan and Nick Weber, Verdant focuses on California-inspired cuisine with an emphasis on fresh, innovative and plant-forward dishes. The menu highlights the bounty of local, organic and seasonal produce in Southern California, with tantalizing dishes like Homemade Farmers Cheese, Seasonal Vegan Soup and Vegetable Tagine. In addition to really great food, Verdant also offers gourmet coffees and teas, including ceremonial-grade matcha, as well as a full bar with a curated wine list and excellent craft cocktails.

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