Some restaurants are mired in ethnic tradition. Not Aquavit, a vetted Midtown kitchen that since 1987 has plated up innovative Scandinavian food and is not afraid to evolve. Much as in Sweden itself, fresh, northern and woodsy ingredients cooperate on the plate in ways the social democracy would be proud of. Guests are treated to a setting that feels both mod and timelessly elegant. The dining room seems to suggest—gently but firmly—that you wear a dinner jacket. (The Bistro, with a more traditional Scandinavian menu, is less formal.) But fret not, this is the kind of place you want to dress up for. The stylish clientele might be UN aides, or they’ve just jetted in from Malmö. As for the food, dishes such as venison tartare with smoked egg yolk and huckleberries speak a language understood by all.

sweet seats

Just be sure to get into one of Arne Jacobsen’s Egg chairs in the lounge before or after dinner.

chew on this

A few months ago, co-owner Marcus Samuelsson passed his toque to a new chef, Marcus Jernmark, who not only shares a first name with Samuelsson, but also grew up in the same city, Gothenburg, Sweden. Meanwhile, Aquavit remains insanely popular among Scandinavians, and the bar scene from five to seven brims with expats and tall blondes, often traveling solo.


lunch: Sun.–Fri. 12 noon–2:30 PM
dinner: Mon.–Sun. 5:30 PM–10:30 PM

price of dinner menus

$78 (three-course prix fixe) or $105 (chef’s tasting)


lunch: Mon-Fri 11:45 AM-2:30 PM
dinner: Mon-Sat 5:30 PM-10:30 PM
closed Sunday