ilili

Price guide: Mid-range

236 5th Avenue, New York City, New York, 10001

Price guide: Mid-range

Duck egg with sumac and cheese

By Shandana A. Durrani, your New York City expert

I write for GoodLifeReport.com, .... Read more
#9 of 80
expert-rated restaurants in New York City
Expert overall rating:4.6 out of 5
Food and drink:
4.8
4.8
Ambience:
4.6
4.6
Service:
4.6
4.6
Location:
3.6
3.6
Value for money:
3.8
3.8
Recommended for:
Business travellers, Couples, Culture vultures, Foodies, Mature travellers, Design and architecture, Romance, Special occasions

Expert review of ilili

Mediterranean and Middle Eastern fare near Madison Square Park.

ilili focuses on innovative Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cuisine. Yes, you'll find some staples such as hummus, but you'll also get modern takes on traditional Lebanese dishes. The restaurant is divine, one of my favorite business lunch places due to the delicious food and the welcoming atmosphere. 

Food and drink: 

It's Lebanese fare but done in a modern way. The food quality is fresh and the seasonings are top notch. The wine list is heavy on Lebanese varietals but also offers other new world wines. 

Recommended dishes: 

Vegetarians will really like this restaurant as it offers quite a few meat-free dishes. Standouts include moujadara (sauteed lentils with crispy onions) and the brussel sprouts with grapes, walnuts and mint yogurt. Meat lovers will enjoy the da'ud basha (lamb meatball with pine nuts) and the kibbeh nayeh beirutieh (steak tartar with onions and mint). I have yet to see someone try the bone marrow with sour cherry tabbouleh but I may have to partake next time I visit. 

Ambience: 

It's very elegant even though the vibe is unpretentious. You get a lot of people on business lunches. In fact, that's how I first discovered the restaurant. 

Service: 

Really excellent. The waiter never hovered too much and left us alone to enjoy our meal and conversation. But you never have to wait long to get service if you need it. 

Location: 

On a semi-desolate stretch of 5th Avenue. There isn't a lot going on in this area past 5pm but that's changing as more hotels and restaurants pop up.

Price advice: 

Dinner is a bit pricey and can cost you $100 for two. Opt for the sharing plates or the prix fixe dinner ($42 per person) from Sunday to Wednesday.

Tables to book: 

I prefer the front of the restaurant to the back. It's more conducive to conversation. 

More information on ilili:

Price guide:
Mid-range
Type:
Restaurant
Food:
Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, North African
Address:
236 5th Avenue, New York City, New York, 10001
Telephone:
212-683-2929
Website:
http://www.ililinyc.com
Serves:
Brunch, Lunch, Dinner
Opening times:
Sun-Wed noon-3pm, 5.30pm-10.30pm; Thu-Fri noon-3pm, 5.30pm-11pm; Sat noon-11.30pm.
Accepts Credit Cards:
Yes
Reservations:
Essential at peak times

Have you been to ilili? Would you recommended it?