This purveyor of high-end, modern Scandinavian cuisine reached its apex in the early 2000s with Marcus Samuelsson at its helm, far before the rise of today's Scandinavian foraging fad. Under Marcus Jernmark, it is still a very fine restaurant that offers a welcome change from the usual cuisines that headline New York’s top restaurants. Housed in a sleek, airy space with a long bar running from a bistro in the front toward a formal dining room in the back, the restaurant walks the razor’s edge between formality and austerity.

The bistro inclines more toward Scandinavian home cooking, which is largely Germanic in influence, while the main restaurant inclines more toward Scandinavian fine dining, which is largely French in influence. First-time visitors should follow the well-trod path of initiates, beginning with a herring sampler plate and glasses of Carlsberg beer and Aquavit, the icy spirit for which the restaurant is named. In this and in most other beverage choices, patrons should yield unreservedly to the sommelier. From there, pick any fish, although the arctic char has always been highly regarded. 

Operating since 1987, Aquavit is likely to continue to garnish New York’s fine dining scene with a much welcome dose of variety and innovation.


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Midtown East
65 E. 55th St.
New York (nr. Madison Ave.)
(212) 307-7311
Mon-Fri, 11:45am-2:30pm, 5:30pm-10:30pm; Sat, 5:30pm-10:30pm
    Marcus Jernmark, Chef