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Where Food is Art: Seven Best Museum Restaurants in the U.S.

The Modern at MOMA New York

The Modern at MOMA, New York

It’s an inspiration to all your senses to enjoy culinary excellence in the halls of the country’s most impressive art museums.

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 America’s most iconic cities to savor the best museum restaurants.

The Modern at MOMA New York

The Modern at MOMA, New York

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THE MODERN at MOMA | New York
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. One of the best museum restaurants 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. Always modern in its ways, The Modern does not accept tipping

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Terzo Piano at the Art Institute of Chicago

Terzo Piano, Chicago

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TERZO PIANO at THE ART INSTITUTE | Chicago
My hometown of Chicago has provided so many fond memories in the world of food and art, and most of them have been at The Art Institute. Notable for dining, theatre and some of the most coveted acquisitions in the world. Among them is James Beard Award-winning Chef Tony Mantuano, whose four-star Spiaggia is one of the country’s best Italian restaurants and who also served as Bravo’s Top Chef Masters, who is at the helm at Terzo Piano, a beautifully minimalist dining room flooded with natural light that overlooks all highlights of the Windy City— the city skyline, Millennium Park and Lake Michigan. Located in the Modern Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago, Terzo Piano is a must-stop for lunch or brunch. The restaurant also features Chef di Cucina Carolina Diaz, who uses fresh, local, organic and sustainably produced ingredients to create seasonal lunch, brunch and dessert menus with a Modern American flair. The menu is complemented by Cathy Mantuano’s wine list.

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Untitled Restaurant at the Whitney Museum New York

Untitled, New York

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UNTITLED at THE WHITNEY MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART | New York
Danny Meyer’s second museum restaurant Untitled at The Whitney Museum of American Art features farm-to-table takes on New York diner classics. The café is open for lunch Wednesday through Friday, for brunch on Saturday and Sunday and for dinner only on Fridays. Chef Suzanne Cupps’s bright, artful cooking in an optimistic setting leans heavily into vegetables, and the menu lends itself easily to sharing. Subtle global influences create moments of discovery and worldly inspiration for visitors and locals alike. Untitled, like the Museum around it, is designed by world-renowned architect Renzo Piano and showcases views of the Hudson River and High Line Park from every seat as well as contemporary American artworks from the Museum collection. The striking, glass-walled space blends interior and exterior seamlessly, evoking the transparent spirit of the kitchen.

Ray | Stark Bar at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Ray's | Stark Bar, Los Angeles

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

The modern design boasts floor-to-ceiling windows that line the restaurant and a two-story glass wine wall that holds more than 2,000 bottles of the restaurant’s impressive collection.

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THE SOURCE BY WOLFGANG PUCK in NEWSEUM | Washington, D.C.
Wolfgang Puck brings his original brand of Asian fusion to this tribute to all things media in the Newseum at The Source. Chef Scott Drewno keeps his menu in tune with the seasons; this fall he added a squash hot-and-sour soup with warming Sichuan peppercorns, bright ginger and curried shrimp dumplings. The sleek and contemporary restaurant spans three distinct levels. Dining experiences include a casual bar, an elegant main dining room and a subterranean private dining room.

The Source Restaurant by Wolfgang Puck

The Source, Washington D.C.

The modern design boasts floor-to-ceiling windows that line the restaurant and a two-story glass wine wall that holds more than 2,000 bottles of the restaurant’s impressive collection.

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The Collections Cafe at the Dale Chihuly Garden and Glass, Seattle

Collections Café, Seattle

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THE COLLECTIONS CAFÉ at CHIHULY GARDEN AND GLASS | Seattle
A museum in its own right, Chihuly Garden and Glass, offers the culinary side with The Collections Café, which honors glass artist Dale Chihuly’s passion for collecting objects. Vintage accordions hang from the ceiling and glass-topped dining tables double as display cases for clocks and toy soldiers. The food is Northwest hearty—a pressed pork sandwich with apple butter and spicy cider vinegar slaw; grilled wild salmon with green onion spaetzle, cauliflower, and porcini butter. And you can expect plenty of craft beers and regional wines.

465 Bar and Restaurant at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

465 Bar and Restaurant, Boston

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465 BAR AND RESTAURANT at MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS | Boston
The Museum of Fine Art’s newest dining venue 465 Bar and Restaurant, open for lunch and dinner, features executive chef Brian Flagg’s seasonal menu emphasizing fresh local ingredients, with an environmentally friendly and innovative root-to-stalk approach. The restaurant offers a sophisticated space for dining with a view of world-class art with cocktails or mocktails, a 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.

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