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Midtown's Best Restaurants: There's something to be said for staying power, and Le Bernardin certainly delivers. Celebrity chef Eric Ripert has created a New York space that's romantic, refined and seductive, while still managing to infuse his French-Spanish influence into every corner. Le Bernardin, regarded by many as the best restaurant in NYC, has received more James Beard Awards than any other restaurant in the city, and holds four New York Times stars, in addition to three Michelin stars. The food, as you might imagine, is impeccable. Simple preparations and respect for the ingredients trump any type of frou-frou experiments, though the cuisine still manages to shine with creativity that can only come from years of intense love and attention-to-detail. If you love seafood, put Le Bernardin at the very top of your culinary bucket list.

Lunch: One of the finest tables in New York City and ranked among the top 50 in the world, Le Bernardin has a sublime blend of celebrity in chef Eric Ripert whose blend of a French and Spanish influenced seafood menu is served in an elegant and tranquil setting accented by life-sized artwork that is romantic and seductive even midday. Eric Ripert, a close friend and disciple of the original owner Gilbert Le Coze, came on expanding the choices to include such treats as the savory Chinese-spiced red snapper with crepes, crowned with an aged port and Jerez vinegar reduction; and the scallop slivers with shaved black truffles; meats are prepared on request. A prix-fixe three-course lunch menu costs $85 for a meal that will remain in your gastronomic memory for a very long time. 212-554-1515; 155 W. 51st TRAINS: B, D, F/47-50th St-Rockefeller Center, Q, N/57th St.

Romantic Dining, Seafood: Celebrity chef Eric Ripert has created a New York space that's romantic, refined and seductive, while still managing to infuse his French-Spanish influence into every corner. Le Bernardin, regarded by many as the best restaurant in NYC, has received more James Beard Awards than any other restaurant in the city, and holds four New York Times stars, in addition to two Michelin stars.

The food, as you might imagine, is impeccable. Simple preparations and respect for the ingredients trump any type of frou-frou experiments, though the cuisine still manages to shine with creativity that can only come from years of intense love and attention-to-detail. If you love seafood, put Le Bernardin at the very top of your culinary bucket list.

French: Opened in 1986 by Gilbert and Maguy Le Coze, this award-winning restaurant is a respite from the Rockefeller Center and Bryant Park crowds in Manhattan's Midtown East. The menu focuses on seafood-centric, high-end French fare, all the work of the legendary, Antibes-born chef and co-owner Eric Ripert. The understated dining room is a study in beige, with white tablecloths gleaming in bright natural light from large, south-facing picture windows. The four-course, prix fixe dinner menu includes sauteed merluza with foie gras and turnips, classic Dover sole and "almost raw" first-course options like chilled Beausoleil oysters and wild striped bass tartare served with Champagne-mango reduction.

10Best List photo Insider Tips

Local Expert Courtney Sunday Says:

French: "The restaurant's renovation in 2011 included a bright, welcoming front lounge, which provided a more casual setting for lunch, prix fixe and tasting menus."

Best for French Because: Celebrity chef Eric Ripert serves superlative seafood in an elegant, continually evolving Manhattan dining room.

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