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Aquavit - 50 Reviews - 65 East 55th Street, New York, NY - Restaurants Reviews - Phone (212) 307-7311

Aquavit

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65 East 55th Street (at Cross Streets bet. Park & Madison Avenues)
New York, NY 10022
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(212) 307-7311
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Aquavit - New York, NY
Aquavit - New York, NY
Aquavit - New York, NY
Aquavit - New York, NY
Aquavit - New York, NY
Aquavit - New York, NY
Aquavit - New York, NY
Aquavit - New York, NY
Aquavit - New York, NY
Aquavit - New York, NY
Aquavit - New York, NY
Aquavit - New York, NY
Aquavit - New York, NY
Aquavit - New York, NY
Aquavit - New York, NY
Aquavit - New York, NY
Aquavit - New York, NY
Aquavit - New York, NY
Aquavit - New York, NY
Aquavit - New York, NY
Aquavit - New York, NY
Aquavit - New York, NY
Aquavit - New York, NY
Aquavit - New York, NY
Aquavit - New York, NY
Aquavit - New York, NY
Aquavit - New York, NY
Aquavit - New York, NY
Aquavit - New York, NY
Aquavit - New York, NY
Aquavit - New York, NY
Aquavit - New York, NY
Aquavit - New York, NY
Aquavit - New York, NY
Aquavit - New York, NY
Aquavit - New York, NY
Aquavit - New York, NY

Reviews

( 21 )
( 10 )
( 7 )
( 4 )
( 8 )

Best

Aquavit is the type of place, at first glance, that seems a bit on the stuffy side - a little too stiffly pressed and polished. The door is so nondescript that you could easily m...

Worst

I highly recommend the venison when in season, all flavors of Aquavit (worth a try), and the Sunday brunch is great. The restaurant is extraordinary.

Aquavit 3/31/2011

Only if you like Scandinavian food... The ambiance is amazing, the service is impeccable and the food is of... more

Delicious Scandinavian Cuisine 7/28/2010

My father used to work at a Swedish company and he used to travel there all the time for business. I was not so lucky in the aspect and I am curious what Scandinavian food consists of besides meatballs. Finally, restaurant week granted me the chance to sample it for a reasonable price! For appetizers, we tried the herring sampler and boar salad. I was a bit scared to trry the herring at first because it is basically cold fish. It tastes surprisingly good and there is very little fish smell. The wild boar salad was also great. My boyfriend, who doesn't like salad so much, was totally impressed. I got the Asparagus Barlotto for entree and my boyfriend got the roast beef. The asparagus dish tastes like creamy asparagus risotto but it uses barley so it is actually healthier. I got to say the dark green color make the dish slightly undesirable but again it surprised me. The roast beef is also good but I guess it is not very special. I really like their dessert, Budapest Cake, which is chocolate and hazelnut moose cake paired with ice cream. The dish I got, Cardamon pound cake, is good but nothing to rave about. The service is definitely 5 star and I really like their simplistic design. I am glad I got another great NYC restaurant under my belt. Pros: Great Food and Excellent Service more

Swedish Delight 2/10/2010

Sometimes the food gods smile upon us, and we feel lucky. I was fortunate enough to feast with great company during Restaurant Week at Aquavit, whose dining room would otherwise be priced out of. This day, however, I was granted one of the more sublime lunch experiences I have had, in a warm, wood-paneled space that took me in out of the January New York cold. The quite affordable three-course menu had us tasting a melt-in-your mouth artichoke bisque spiked with truffle cr?me fraiche and bits of venison, a smooth and perfectly pink seared salmon topped with bright orange roe, and a chocolate lover?s dream of a chocolate mousse to end the meal. The service was also impressive: on our way out, no less than five people wished us a good afternoon, and one even walked me to the bathroom. I?ve never been to Stockholm, but if this is what its like, I?m on the next flight. more

Bland and Expensive 1/23/2010

This is a pleasant room with high ceilings. Unfortunately, that's where the compliments end. The smoked salmon was utterly tasteless (odd for smoked salmon but true) and the poached cod was also very bland. Plain boiled potatoes tasted like plain boiled potatoes. Even the horseradish is weak. You can't definitively say the food is ""bad"", but this is only because it is all so bland. Is the Cafe expensive for New York? No. Is it expensive for small, plain and unseasoned fish dishes that would be outshone by fish at your local Greek diner? Absolutely. FYI the bartender also is terrible - the mixed drinks there stink. Pros: Pleasant Atmosphere Cons: Tasteless food, slow service, high pricing more

Agree with good for business dinner 5/4/2009

I've eaten here twice. Once for a business dinner and we ordered the chef tasting that was paired with the different vodka's for each course. And the dessert was great. Second time, the food was average, so there was some inconsistency, but the service was good. Although I couldn't understand what the wait staff was saying when describing the dish.. englsish was not a first language. Pros: good dessert Cons: chef can do much better more

$48 smorgasbord on Sundays (all-you-can-eat... 3/8/2009

$48 smorgasbord on Sundays (all-you-can-eat buffet, herring galore!) was mostly really good, with a few... more

Valentine's Day Dissapointment 2/14/2009

We went to Aquavit for Valentine's Day. Granted, I understand they must serve more people than usual on a night like this, but I expected for $95 per person that the food would be decent. The prix fix menu (which they have every night) looked fabulous on arrival. Our drink order was taken immediately and the aquavit flights were delicious. However, the meal went downhill from there. They took our orders and specifically asked if we were allergic to anything - and we responded shellfish and squash. The appetizers were good, but the next course was supposed to be a tuna tartare and THEY RAN OUT OF TUNA! They instead offered us a beef dish that was bland and almost inedible. We told the staff that it was not good, and they tried to make it up to us by bringing us a soup course of squash soup. So, after telling them about our squash allergy, they brought us a squash soup! When I reminded the staff, they grumbled behind me, ""well, i tried."" My entree of beef was equally uninspired, but the trio of desserts were good. I would not recommend this restaurant to anyone. The entire meal lacked passion and you can eat much better food for that price. Pros: Aquavit flights are delicious Cons: Food is bland and uninspired; service is snotty more

good for business dinner 2/14/2009

Food is good but pricy for non expense account dinner. We weren't pleased that they try to hide the restaurant menu. we had to request it. more

Fantastic! 1/16/2009

Aquavit is the type of place, at first glance, that seems a bit on the stuffy side - a little too stiffly pressed and polished. The door is so nondescript that you could easily mistake it for the entrance to any generic office building lobby. Once inside, however, you'll feel like you've been transported to the Helsinki airport or to some swanky hotel in Sweden. Relax, the staff here is so remarkably nice and helpful, you'll thank yourself for staying and letting them walk you through a tasting menu - drinks, meal and dessert. It's all fantastic - very grown up and utterly worth the price. Highly recommended. Pros: beautiful space, amazing food, fantastic service more

it was an expreince that I will never forget 11/15/2008

I made a reservation here not knowing how expensive it was going to be, but it turned out to be the best meal of my life hands down. Yes the bill was around $250 for two, but it was an experience that I will never forget. The service and food was impeccable. If you are a foodie, save your money and come here at least once in your life. Pros: food,cocktails,service more

Can't wait to go back! 10/10/2008

Since my mom is actually from Sweden (moved over to the US when she was 15), I'm always skeptical about Swedish food in America. My mom and I decided to take the chance and try Aquavit one night on a whim - we chose the cafe area rather than the dining room - and it instantly became both of our favorite restaurants. The choices in aquavit all sounded so good it took me forever to choose, and needless to say, there was no disappointment for either of us. Having always been my favorite Swedish food, gravlax is what I ordered. Not only was the texture and flavor sensational, but it was exactly the right portion as well. Swedish food has a tendency to make you feel heavy very quickly. With the portion I had, I felt full, but not heavy - a hard thing to do with this type of cuisine. After a couple quips in Swedish with the waiter (which I found extremely impressive for a restaurant in America), my mom ordered the Swedish meatball, which she makes at home from scratch for any Swedish holiday. She loved them! After dinner we split a princess torte (our favorite Swedish dessert), which we found impressively authentic, and lingered over our coffee because we both loved the environment so much. The style is clean and chic, but relaxing. Pros: Authentic cuisine, portion and flavor ideal, service, ambience Cons: Not a thing. more

If you love food, you can't go wrong with Aquavit. Not f... 9/9/2008

scottbowling Provided by Partner
If you love food, you can't go wrong with Aquavit. Not for the unadventurous. more

best lunch deal in town i think. unbelievable herrings. m... 9/9/2008

ClaraPark Provided by Partner
best lunch deal in town i think. unbelievable herrings. meatballs. UNBELIEVABLE and yummy aquavits. mmmM!!! more

I felt like I was a taster on Top Chef. Food... 9/9/2008

meierh Provided by Partner
I felt like I was a taster on Top Chef. Food was delicious and beautifully presented. more

It is very....Scandanavian 8/1/2008

First off, I am writing about the cafe not the dining room. But there is no listing on citysearch for the cafe, so what else can I do. We tried it for restaurant week. They seated us in what is normally the bar lounge area because there was a private party in the cafe. So the ambience was lacking a bit because it was not a real dining room. First we had a drink at the long, mostly empty bar. The drink menu is extensive and the drinks were excellent - cranberry caipirinha, lychee martini. The bar stafff all seemed a bit depressed. The mood was quiet and relaxing. Is it just me or should a bartender be friendly and happy? Anyway we were seated on time in the makeshift dining area and the decor is very white, very modern, and very Scandanavian. There were weird jars of mysterious stuff in liquid on the shelf behind me, I didn't think it was very appetizing. Our waitress was friendly and helpful. I went for a chilled corn soup and the swedish meatballs, which is one of my favorite things. Both dishes were excellent but I wanted more gravy on the meatballs (the portion was big enough for a 400lb man). My boyfriend had the herring sampler and the hot smoked salmon, he said both were very good. Dessert was some itsy bitsy chocolate cake thing, only enough for a small doll to eat but WOW was it delicious! I was unimpressed w/the table setting, I felt a bit like I was in the IKEA cafeteria. All staff seemed slightly depressed. We got free espresso infused Aquavit after dinner and wow I would have enjoyed another 3 or 4 of those. If I went back it would be to try the main dining room. We looked at the menu and it looked great. The main dining room is very cold and austere with somewhat strange lighting. But I guess that's the Scandanavian way and I'd say it's probably worth a try. This is a good place if you need a quiet bar for a drink. There was hardly anyone there and the drinks were super delicous. Pros: Tasty food and cocktails Cons: Very subdued, almost depressing atmosphere more

A 20 year old institution that deserves its reputation 7/18/2008

As a regular diner at Aquavit, I'm surprised to read these past comments and am compelled to write about my experiences. The food is consistently good and I often take my clients as well as my friends. The decor is very warm and spacious and the tables are placed well apart from each other. The entrees are consistently good and innovative (smoked trout with apple-horseradish broth, Venison with dumplings and lingonberries) and the Scandinavian staples include several preparations of cured salmon and herring ? all delicious. The service is warm and inviting and the staff is very knowledgeable and helpful, including the sommelier who found me a wonderful wine off their extensive list that impressed my clients without stretching my budget. And those who call the maitre d' snobby must have been in a different restaurant! He always takes good care of me and is there almost every time I go ? lunch or dinner. Overall I would recommend Aquavit to anyone who is looking for a classic meal in a stylish environment. I'll be back again and again. Pros: Spacious, Delicious food, Gracious service, Great wine list Cons: Price can be high, but its worth it! more

Worst Service I have ever experienced 7/11/2008

I can not believe that you can get a job as a waitress at Aquavit with clearly no waitress experience at all. Our waitress managed to get everything wrong. First she forgot to put in our drink order, meanwhile she dropped silverware all over the floor. After returning with new silverware, she somehow, believe it or not, did not know that the fork goes on the left, and the knife on the right. We were in shock. After having to ask about our drinks again, we finally received our them at the end of the ""very average"" main course. At this point, the manager stepped in and offered free dessert. We got the dessert, but not the ordered coffee. To top it off, our bill was more than double the correct amount. The whole wait staff including management was scrambling for a good fifteen minutes to figure out the correct amount before we could finally get out of this resturant experience nightmare. Cons: Service, price, lack of professionalism more

HORRIBLE SNOBBY HOST AND MEDIOCRE FOOD. OVERPRICED/SHOWY WITH BLAND FOOD 6/19/2008

I completely agree with Globetrotter 79. This restaurant is awful. Listen...I'm a gourmet and I know what's good and what's not. Swedish food is not spicy or complex (compared to other cuisines). HOWEVER, good Swedish/Danish food is just that-GOOD. It will be fresh and taste delicious. You don't even have to be a gourmet to know that this restaurant is not all its hyped up to be. In fact, it is the COMPLETE OPPOSITE. The same HOST (perhaps he was the same who was mentioned by Globetrotter) was nasty, cold and arrogant. The food I ordered (gravlax) was blah. I love gravlax and I've had delicious gravlax. I might as well have gone to McDonalds. Yes-corporate types who have no taste go here...and if you want to get real Danish or Swedish food-GO TO DENMARK OR SWEDEN-because if this is supposed to be excellent-we're in trouble here in NYC!! Don't waste your time. ! Pros: Elegant and cool interior.. Cons: snooty atmosphere and food to make you ill. This site is overly censored! Can't use words here! more

very rude staff not really swedish 2/15/2008

well to start i can only comment on the service i had been in nyc looking to come and dine here which we had wanted to for years i had reservations went in and was treated like a third class citizen by the young latin looking male host. being dressed very nicely in a suit. i was told they didnt have a reservation for me that i would have to come back another time the place was empty. well to start im of swedish decent and the menu is not swedish it trendy and the only people there are really corperate people on exspense accounts if your not that they dont want you there if i want swedish food ill dine at a true swedish place Pros: pretty place Cons: overrated snobby host more

Great cafe dining and service 12/12/2007

After drinks at the Four Seasons Restaurant (my absolute favorite NY bar) ,six friends and I decided to further the evening at Aquavit. One in the bunch is Swedish. He selected the herring sampler of three flavors. Curried, pickled and a third which was gone way before it got to me were incredible! Light and full of flavor!!! Pros: Lovely food presentation, beverage selections, elegant dining experience. Delicious! more
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Menu for Aquavit




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Aquavit, this country?s preeminent Scandinavian restaurant, opened in 1987. At the time it was the first Scandinavian restaurant to open in New York City in 35 years. Named for the stiff elixir that some hoped would give immortality - AQUA VITAE - or "the water of life," the restaurant offers a notable list of the stuff. Early distilled spirits were so crude-tasting, that spices were added to make it more drinkable. Aquavit continues the tradition with it's own in-house blends, such as "Svarta Vinbar-Black Currant," "Baska Droppar" and Vargtass-Lingonberry. Marcus Samuelsson, co-owner of the restaurant, has already received more accolades than most chefs receive in a lifetime: He was the youngest chef ever to receive a three-star restaurant review from The New York Times in 1995, and in 2003 was named "Best Chef New York City" by the James Beard foundation. You will find an ever-evolving and creative menu of home-cooking interpretations, whether you dine in the main dining room, café or private dining room. Also consider the traditional Swedish Smorgasbord, served Sundays from noon to 2:30 pm; it is an unforgettable experience. The present executive chef maintains the restaurant's high standards and reputation for which it is deservedly known. The ambiance of Aquavit is as wholly Scandinavian as the fare, a setting of muted woods contrasted by stark white walls that creates a calm, almost fjord-effect, if it weren't for the solid lighting and sparkling bar.

Editorial

  • Mod furniture and the clean lines of Nordic design make this Scandinavian fine-dining restaurant feel very 21st century, with dark wood tones lending the rooms warmth, and cherry blossoms in vases...

  • 4/28/2010 Provided by Citysearch

Additional information

  • Hours:

    Daily 12pm-2:30pm, 5:30pm-10:30pm
  • Payments:

    American Express, Visa, Master Card, Diner's Club
  • Neighborhoods:

    Midtown, Midtown Center
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