Le Bernardin is a Michelin Guide three-star French seafood restaurant in New York City. Aptly named after an order of monks devoted to good wine and food, Le Bernardin was founded in Paris in 1972 by the Le Coze siblings. Today, its accolades include three Michelin stars, and San Pellegrino World’s 50 best restaurants number 24 in the world. In La Liste 2017, a ranking of the best restaurants in the world, Le Bernardin was named number one in the United States and number two in the world.
The Le Bernardin story is very much a success story. It first earned one star, then two as the restaurant was carving out a niche in Paris. When Le Bernardin opened in New York City in 1986, it became renowned for setting standards in seafood in America.
In Paris, Chef Eric Ripert worked at the Michelin three-starred Jamin under Joel Robuchon as the poissonnier, the chef responsible for the preparation of all fish dishes. Ripert took over the kitchen in 1994 and along with Le Coze continued to uphold Le Bernardin’s position as one of the world’s premier restaurants.
This was the meal I was most looking forward to on my visit to New York City. We had just come off a cruise so you can imagine our indulgence in unlimited gourmet meals. But still, I couldn’t wait to sample the expertly prepared seafood from Le Bernardin, especially since I read so many favourable reviews. I’m also slowly making my way through the list of Michelin three-star restaurants in NYC – Le Bernardin is my 4th out of the current 6 restaurants!
If you want to get a taste of New York’s finest cuisine, having lunch here is the way to go. At Le Bernardin, you can score a 3-course prix fixe for $87 USD (which is the same as lunch at Jean Georges). The 3-courses are selected from these categories: Almost Raw, Barely Touched, Lightly Cooked, and Dessert. If you want more food for lunch, you can choose the $180 Le Bernardin’s Tasting Menu (6-courses), or the $220 Chef’s Tasting Menu (7-courses).
The meal was so light, yet comfortably filling. The seafood truffle pasta was creamy and a generous shaving of truffle accented each bite. I only wished there was more! The poached halibut tasted as delicate as it looked. The dessert course was equally fun to eat – I was so amused by the bird’s nest that encased my apricot delight; the strawberry bombe exploded with a strawberry filling inside.
Our meal in pictures:
The Other Stuff
One minor gripe: on short notice, we wanted to celebrate a special occasion. I emailed the reservationist, but the message was likely lost in translation, as we didn’t receive a celebratory acknowledgement.
Though it was quite busy over the lunch hour, our server remained attentive throughout. The sommelier explained which wines would pair well with our meal. The unpretentious vibe is important to consider with Michelin starred restaurants since the dining experience is equally as important as the food.
Lunch for Two: $350 USD
Rating: 3 Michelin Stars
Location: 155 W 51st Street, New York City, United States
Planning Tip: Call (212) 554-1515 to make your reservations or book on Open Table
Photo Credits: Header image, Shimon & Tammar / Interior image, Daniel Krieger