The Top 19 Fun Restaurants in NYC in 2023

Published on August 16, 2023 | 0 Comments
fun restaurant nyc

No matter where you happen to be in the Big Apple, you can find fun restaurants in NYC that serve up as much entertainment as fabulous food. With so many eclectic eateries lining the streets, fun restaurants in NYC are easy to locate if you know where to look. Whether you're dashing out for a quick bite or settling in for a date night in NYC with your special someone, fun restaurants in NYC can provide excitement beyond what you'll find on the menu.

So what qualities make a particular eatery stand out as a fun restaurant in NYC? A sense of playfulness in both the food and atmosphere is a great place to start! If you're looking for things to do in NYC  in spaces where spirits are light and food is spot-on, our list of fun restaurants in NYC provides a selection of special spaces that are ready to show you a fantastic time.  


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Find the Best Restaurants in NYC

No need to set out on your own to find the fun NYC restaurants when you have food tours in NYC to make quick work of your quest. Walk with an expert guide who's mapped out an easy route to the most fun restaurants in NYC, and see exciting sites along the way. These excursions are the perfect solution for shortening your search so you can get the good times rolling!

Top 19 Fun Restaurants in NYC 

1. The Elgin

For a fun restaurant in NYC that keeps its sense of sophistication, The Elgin offers a classic sensibility with a warm, historic glow. Modern comfort food makes the menu sing with delicious possibilities.

The Vibe

Take a trip back in time to the salon days of early 20th-century New York.

What to Order

The most inventive item by far is the cheeseburger egg roll, a crisp wrapper filled with custom blended beef, pickles, cheese and a tempting schmear of savory burger sauce.

The Elgin | 64 W. 48th St., New York, NY 10036 | $$ 

The Elgin is one of the top fun restaurants in NYC.
via The Elgin

2. Action Burger

Superheroes and burgers unite in a powerful blend at Action Burger, a fun NYC restaurant where comic books and video games rule. A quick jaunt to Brooklyn will get you to this technicolor diner, where you can eat like a hero with healthier fare or walk on the dark side with more indulgent options.

The Vibe

Vibrant primary colors and comic book pages bring excitement for fans of sci-fi and fantasy. Dare we say it makes a great low-key spot for a date night in NYC if you're both comic book or game nerds?

What to Order

Ever had a ravioli burger? Well, you can here! This powerhouse includes a garlic truffle patty topped with jalapeño poppers, a special sauce and yes, a ravioli.

Action Burger | 292 Graham Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11211 | $$ 

Action Burger is a comic-themed fun NYC restaurant.
via Action Burger

3. The Dead Rabbit

The charm and cheer of an authentic Irish pub transform The Dead Rabbit into a shining slice of the Emerald Isle. This fun NYC restaurant lets you experience traditional coziness with a modern sheen.

The Vibe

Close quarters combined with classic fixtures makes for a snug setting rich with personality.

What to Order

Dive into deli delights with a corned beef on rye with melted Gruyère, or go for a chicken pot pie to complete the Irish experience.

The Dead Rabbit | 30 Water St., New York, NY 10004 | $$ 

a bar lined with green stools
via The Dead Rabbit

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4. The Cabin

The Cabin adds a touch of outdoor excitement among the fun places to eat in NYC. Rustic décor and woodland corners carve out a space for wild times in the big city.

The Vibe

Lumberjack chic conjures woodsy magic just in time for dinner and drinks.

What to Order

Order up the hearty glazed bacon steak for a maple, sweet-and-smoky dish accented with warm chives and the crunch of roasted corn nuts.

The Cabin | 205 E. Fourth St., New York, NY 10009 | $$ 

The Cabin is a rustic fun restaurant in NYC.
via The Cabin

5. Beetle House

What else would you find in a fun NYC restaurant called Beetle House but Tim Burton's wacky, imaginative characters? Both food and décor are a tribute to the genius filmmaker's visionary works.

The Vibe

The décor pays homage to everything from Edward Scissorhands to Beetlejuice himself. Think spooky fun!

What to Order

Don't leave before trying Death by Chocolate, a chocolate fondant cake soaked in rich fudge sauce sweet enough to send you to the other side.

Beetle House | 308 E. Sixth St., New York, NY 10003 | $$ 

Beetle House is a spooky fun restaurant in NYC.
via Beetle House

6. La Caverna

La Caverna takes the notion of fun restaurants in NYC to new depths, so to speak. Styled like a stone cavern, patrons can party in the underground without leaving the surface.

The Vibe

Convincing design gives this cool space the feel of a Mexican cave, with a dance floor and DJ adding slick atmosphere.

What to Order

Give the veggie tacos a go and enjoy corn tortillas stuffed with mushrooms, corn, zucchini and fiery jalapeño aioli. In a meaty mood? Grab the beef tacos stuffed with fried beans, chipotle aioli and pico de gallo.

La Caverna | 122-124 Rivington St., Manhattan, NY 10002 | $$

beef tacos
via La Caverna

7. Trailer Park Lounge

Trailer Park Lounge is as casual as fun restaurants in NYC come. Vintage diner tables and wall-to-wall kitsch set the tone for the ultimate in low-key dining.

The Vibe

Retro travel memorabilia and a tropical bar create a joyful feast for the eyes.

What to Order

If you're going authentic, then an order of chili bacon cheese tots is sure to hit the spot. Grab a moon pie for dessert before you hit the road.

Trailer Park Lounge | 271 W. 23rd St., New York, NY 10011 | $$ 

Trailer Park Lounge is a fun restaurant in NYC.
via Trailer Park Lounge

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8. Don Antonio

A brick-and-mortar pizza parlor like Don Antonio is a must-have on any list of fun places to eat in NYC. And would a fun restaurant in NYC serve anything less than some of the best pizza in town?

The Vibe

This restaurant in Hell's Kitchen is a cool, contemporary throwback to neighborhood diners of old.

What to Order

Take the opportunity to try one of the city's most authentically NYC foods, pizza fritte. This dish serves up slices of your favorite pizza deep-fried for extra fun.

Don Antonio | 309 W. 50th St., New York, NY 10019 | $$ 

pizza fritte
via Don Antonio

9. Rolf's German Restaurant

German cuisine served in a space that keeps its halls decked for the holidays all year long makes Rolf's one of the brightest locales in town. Fun restaurants in NYC that celebrate eternal Christmas are a gift that everyone deserves!

The Vibe

Prepare to be dazzled by countless twinkle lights as you dine on European classics.

What to Order

Fill your plate with schnitzel robed in paprika cream sauce, served with vegetable and spätzle, a German take on cheesy pasta.

Rolf's German Restaurant | 281 Third Ave., New York, NY 10010 | $$$ 

Rolf's is a fun restaurant in NYC that has Christmas year-round.
via Rolf's German Restaurant

10. Serendipity3

Serendipity3 is an icon among the fun restaurants NYC showcases, serving as a recognizable location in several Hollywood films. This brilliant-hued diner is a staple on the scene of fun places to eat in NYC.

The Vibe

Vibrant pop culture sweetens the space as much as the ice cream flavors in the freezer.

What to Order

Sink your teeth into the Serendipitous Buffalo Chicken sandwich, topped with blue cheese dressing and crumbles. Save space for a whopper of a sundae for dessert.

Serendipity3 | Multiple Locations | $$ 

an array of ice cream sundaes
via Serendipity3

11. The Cauldron

Immersive experiences like potion making and afternoon tea help The Cauldron conjure one of the most fun restaurants in NYC for Harry Potter-heads to visit. Get your Hufflepuff on and stop in for wonderful wizardly treats.

The Vibe

Prepare to enter a fairy tale café only magicians can find.

What to Order

Any wizard hungry for a cauldron of dragon wings will find spicy satisfaction. For more sophisticated palates, Fra Diavolo spaghetti topped with chicken or shrimp is a go-to goodie. Afternoon tea is also a blast, but book ahead! 

The Cauldron | 47 Stone St., New York, NY 10004 | $$ 

The Cauldron is a magic-themed fun restaurant and bar in NYC.
via The Cauldron

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12. Cowgirl

Western grub may not be the first thing that comes to mind when considering the most fun restaurants in NYC, but Cowgirl brings a hearty helping of country character to the city folk daring enough to saddle up.

The Vibe

Barbecue chic, right down to the checkered table cloths and antler chandeliers.

What to Order

The most authentic dish on the menu might be the catfish dinner, offering a fried or grilled fillet served with jalapeño tartar sauce for a fiery Southwestern kick.

Cowgirl | 519 Hudson St., New York, NY 10014 | $$ 

nachos on a red checkered tablecloth
via Cowgirl

13. Highkey Rainforest Rooftop

A rooftop rainforest? Yes indeed! Highkey Rainforest Rooftop helps dining entertainment reach lofty heights, both figuratively and literally. It's a fun restaurant NYC keeps hidden high atop the city.

The Vibe

Hip and high-energy, but with a luxe lushness that makes the city feel extra-cool.

What to Order

Brunchtime treats like Maine lobster rolls and French Toast Mezcal make choosing the right plate a challenge. Might as well try them both!

Highkey Rainforest Rooftop | 6 Platt St., New York, NY 10038 | $$

a rooftop, rainforest-themed fun restaurant in NYC
via Highkey Rainforest Rooftop

14. The Folly

The Folly bills itself as a gastropub with a distinctly nautical feel. The impact turns a fun restaurant in NYC into a winsome hideaway with swashbuckling aspirations.

The Vibe

Wooden rib beams and portholes lining the walls create the sensation of dining in the belly of a pirate ship, minus the seasickness.

What to Order

Order up a classic Cubano. The Folly makes theirs with roast pork and ham, topped with a Manchego cheese tapenade and mustard, plus a pickled green tomato for good measure.

The Folly | 92 W. Houston St., New York, NY 10012 | $$

a ship-themed restaurant with wooden walls and overhead beams
via The Folly

15. Lillie's Victorian Establishment

Perfectly capturing the spirit of the era referenced in its name, Lillie's Victorian Establishment leaves out not a single detail. If the pretty teatime furnishings are vintage at this fun NYC restaurant, the modern menu brings you back to the future.

The Vibe

Elaborate Victorian décor sets the period, with magical leanings and references to the wee folk.

What to Order

Do yourself a favor and savor the smoked duck breast, with elegant additions like maple glazed Brussels sprouts and cherry tomato confit served on the side.

Lillie's Victorian Establishment| Multiple Locations | $$$ 

a Victorian-style bar
via Lillie's Victorian Establishment

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16. Max Brenner Chocolate Bar

A decadent sweet shop like Max Brenner Chocolate Bar that doubles as a fun restaurant in NYC should be on every diner's agenda. Inside, you'll find gooey gourmet creations, fine food offerings and top-notch beverages.

The Vibe

Boutique beauty that makes dropping in for a bite a sweet prospect.

What to Order

The showstopper at Max's is crêpes and eggs. This combination of a fresh crêpe serving as a nest for scrambled eggs with spinach and cheese is a luxury almost as tasty as chocolate.

Max Brenner Chocolate Bar | Multiple Locations | $$ 

Max Brenner is a chocolatey fun restaurant in NYC.
via Max Brenner Chocolate Bar

17. The Ugly Duckling

When the most fun restaurants in NYC serve your food with a rubber duck on the side, you must be dining at The Ugly Duckling! This super cute bistro is anything but homely, serving up smiles in the form of vibrant yellow fowl at every turn.

The Vibe

With rubber ducks everywhere, including in the drinks, you'll find yourself floating on a wave of fun.

What to Order

Duck into a fried chicken and cheddar waffle sandwich and delight in a beer-batter waffle, fresh fried chicken and chipotle aioli sweetened with maple syrup and topped with cheddar.

The Ugly Duckling | 106 Third Ave., New York, NY 10003 | $$ 

a rubber ducky floating in a drink
via The Ugly Duckling

18. Oscar Wilde

The lit-wit who was Oscar Wilde gets a buzzy tribute at the fun NYC restaurant named and decorated in his honor. This dazzler of a spot boasts NYC's longest bar, at 118 1/2 feet!

The Vibe

Like a postcard from the past, from the furniture to the knicknacks to the drink menu.

What to Order

Feast on buttermilk chicken served on a brioche bun and seasoned with dijonnaise and something the menu calls "hot sauce powder." It's bound to be an adventure.

Oscar Wilde | 45 W. 27th St., New York, NY 10001 | $$$ 

Oscar Wilde is an atmospheric fun restaurant in NYC.
via Oscar Wilde

19. Barcade

For the vid-heads looking for fun restaurants in NYC, there's Barcade. This combo bar and arcade provides non-stop gaming entertainment to go with its bites and beverages.

The Vibe

Wall-to-wall pinball machines and video games keep this space chiming.

What to Order

Treat your crew to a falafel platter, featuring freshly made falafel served with warm pitas and a flavor-fest of fresh vegetables.

Barcade | Multiple Locations | $$ 

Barcade is a fun restaurant in NYC for game lovers.
via Barcade

The array of fun restaurants NYC offers leaves no doubt that this city is one of the world's most joyous dining destinations. Where else can you travel to the rooftops for drinks in a makeshift rainforest, descend to a faux cavern for dancing and drop in on a pirate ship for a late-night bite? With a variety of fun restaurants in NYC to flavor up your dining experience, you may be tempted to sample them all!

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