Complete Guide to Restaurants In Grand Central Station

Grand Central Station is not just a place where trains come and go. It is a Beaux-Arts beauty, a temple to transportation, an homage to the Industrial Revolution, and also a great place to grab a delicious bite or enjoy a marvelous meal. Here are the best restaurants in Grand Central Station.

grand central station
Grand Central Station encompasses delicious eateries. Photo credit: Maxime Levrel

There’s so much to marvel at in Grand Central, it would be almost understandable if you forgot that it’s also a great destination for dining. Any good railway station should have good eating options. Still, Grand Central takes it to the next level with a European-style grab-and-go market and a small handful of incredible and iconic eateries that are worth going to even if you’re not coming or going via train. 

The Campbell Bar

John W. Campbell, a railroad executive at Grand Central, demanded to have a grand office, one that would impress his clients and colleagues. He got it. Campbell’s office had 25-foot, hand-painted ceilings, Italian chairs and tables that dated back to the 19th century, and a Persian rug that stretched across the entire room that cost $300,000 at the time (today it would be $3.5 million). 

Campbell died in 1957 and, like much of Grand Central, the office fell into disrepair. But it underwent a $2 million renovation in 1999 and was restored back to its former glory. And then it was turned into a posh cocktail bar. It is still an upscale drinking den today, as lovers of history and cocktails can cozy up to the bar and sip a $20 dirty martini and graze on hummus and foie gras. A few years ago, the Campbell Bar had a strict no jeans/no sneakers policy. It has since relaxed the dress code. 

old dining space with Christmas tree
You can have your choice of classic or modern cocktails at Campbell bar. Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons

Cipriani Dolci

Located on the west balcony inside the Main Concourse, Cipriani Dolci may offer one of the greatest restaurant views in the country. From the family that brought us Harry’s Bar, an iconic restaurant in Venice where the Bellini cocktail was invented, Cipriani Dolci is a stylish and uber-atmospheric place to tuck into pricy pasta dishes where the view and ambiance may taste better than anything on the menu—making a visit here well worth it, oddly enough. The place was designed by Arturo di Modica who famously made the iconic Wall Street bull sculpture.

Tagliatelle pasta served with mushrooms and fresh herbs
Cipriani Dolci has been serving the comers and goers of Grand Central Station since 2002. Photo credit: Gabriella Clare Marino

Grand Central Market

East of the Main Concourse is the Grand Central Market where there are 13 food and drink purveyors and some of the best gourmet grub that the Big Apple has to offer. The fabulous French bakery Bien Cuit is here, offering variations on the theme of bread. Pair a baguette with some cheese from Murray’s, the legendary Greenwich Village cheese shop that also has an outlet in the Grand Central Market. 

And why stop there? Hit up Eli Zabar, an outpost of Zabar’s on the Upper West Side, where you can pick up smoked fish, cured meat, and other delectable items. And let’s not forget about the sweet stuff. The incredible Li-Lac Chocolates also has an outlet inside this European-style market. Besides the above, there is also sushi, Italian snacks, and a seafood purveyor. 

busy market hall with neon signs
Grand Central Market was originally opened in 1917 as “Wonder Market”. Photo credit: Thomas Hawk

Grand Central Oyster Bar

One of the most iconic restaurants on the planet, the Grand Central Oyster Bar goes deep into the dining fabric of the Big Apple. The Guastavino-tiled and vaulted interior is worth a visit in and of itself. Opened in 1913, the restaurant is still a must for anyone who loves ambient interiors and seafood. 

In 1941, a dozen oysters cost 70 cents. The price has gone up since then—today a dozen bivalves will run you about $40, depending on the type of oysters you want to slurp down. Despite the name, the menu here goes far beyond the oyster, diving deep into the sea for any and everything that’s fresh and tastes great. 

The offerings change daily, but expect to find excellently sourced and cooked clam chowder, fish stews, fish sandwiches, fried fish, whole lobsters, grilled octopus, jumbo shrimp salad, Maryland crab cakes, and succulent soft-shell crab. The restaurant is on the lower level, right in front of the so-called Whispering Gallery. 

extreme close up of a metal dish with oysters on ice, metal tins of sauce, and cooked shrimp. A glass of red wine is blurred in the foreground.
You can expect to enjoy incredible seafood when in Grand Central Oyster Bar. Photo credit: koemu

Lower Level Food Court

If you’re in the mood for something more casual, the Lower-Level Food Court offers a bounty of outstanding eating options—and some great local businesses. Enjoy the cupcakes that Carrie Bradshaw made famous at Magnolia Bakery, or one of the best fast food burgers on the planet at Shake Shack or a lobster roll at Luke’s Lobster. And save room for the sweet stuff: the Doughnut Plant, which makes market-driven artisanal doughnuts as you’ve never tasted, has an outlet in the food court too. 

Overhead shot of a dozen differently colored cupcakes in a white bakery box
A tasty selection of Magnolia Bakery’s famous cupcakes. Photo credit: Dominic DeLuque

The dining options at Grand Central are sure to please just about every palate. But if somehow that’s not enough, there’s good news: by the end of 2022, there will be a few more interesting options. Cipriani is opening a massive Argentine chophouse next to Ciprianai Dolci. City Winery will be setting up shop in the huge Vanderbilt Hall. Dirty Taco is going to soon be slinging Los Angeles-style street tacos in the station. And popular Australian bakery, Bourke Street, will also be baking delicious pastries here.