Visit One Of New York’s Most Unusual, Fascinating Restaurants—And, By The Way, Eat As Well

Victorian Artifacts And Good Eating

Oscar Wilde's Bar

Oscar Wilde NYC

Once you step inside Oscar Wilde, you cannot stop looking around.

The incessant, obsessive Victorian decor is everywhere, overwhelming, amusing, eye-opening.

This is a restaurant at 45 West 27th Street in the heart of Manhattan, but you won’t be going there for the food alone.

Say, isn’t that stained-glass window from an Irish castle? And what about that fireplace from 1820s Paris? There are architectural and porcelain goodies everywhere, thanks to one of the co-owners, Frank McCole, who enjoys rummaging through old Europe and bringing beautiful artifacts to complement his quite modern restaurant.

The food is under the supervision of Ali Dey Daly, an enthusiastic chef, born in Tunisia but with an eye to making the ordinary very interesting–in fact, even something so simple-sounding as cottage pie is rife with tastes beyond beef and potato. Perhaps it’s the white cheddar added, or the slow cooking of the beef tenderloin.

Chef Ali, who changes about a third of the menu every sixty days or so, wants diners to be comfortable at the bar or at a table–so the food, he says, “can be eaten at two different places, and works at both.”

And if you’re sitting at the bar you are hardly alone. Oscar Wilde boasts the longest bar in New York City–almost half a football field, 40 yards. Yet, it retains an intimate feel, as do all areas of the restaurant.

On a recent week night, filled, you weren’t distracted by noise. Some diners sat studying their cellphones, alone. Others in earnest conversation with friends. Others hoisting a variety of colorful cocktails and classic drinks.

In keeping with the idea of the menu changing with the seasons, the restaurant will be open Christmas Day from 4 P.M. to midnight. The upcoming winter menu includes a Wilde Mac and Cheese not with two or three different cheeses–but five. It’s typical of the fun menu, which goes one step beyond what you’d expect. And if you’d like to continue the revelry on New Year’s Eve, there will be a celebration with a DJ and a huge screen display of the ball coming down in Times Square. More at:

[email protected]

If you’re sitting at the bar, look up and down the 118 feet, and be glad you’re not working behind it. Bar manager Nick, who creates something new virtually on a daily basis, also has to keep an eye from one end to the other. He estimates he walks 6.7 miles behind the bar on a busy day.

It attracts an eclectic crowd, and not just New Yorkers. Television shows have been filmed here. Drew Barrymore has been spotted, along with “Bohemian Rhapsody” star Rami Malek.

Drinks Galore

If it’s drink you’re interested in, you can nurse any one of dozens of wonderfully named drinks, from The Ugly Peacock to Writer’s Block.

But besides gawking, you will be wanting to eat. And all sorts of tasting menus can be prepared (call in advance if you want to make sure you get what you want). Chef Ali and Nick also will marry your food to the appropriate wine and drinks. So each course comes with its colorful array of food, complemented with the liquids.

You get the sense this is definitely a place that is concerned about the enjoyment of place, food, and drink.

As the chef explains, “You have to love people and want to make them happy.”


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Once you step inside Oscar Wilde, you cannot stop looking around.

The incessant, obsessive Victorian decor is everywhere, overwhelming, amusing, eye-opening.

This is a restaurant at 45 West 27th Street in the heart of Manhattan, but you won’t be going there for the food alone.

Say, isn’t that stained-glass window from an Irish castle? And what about that fireplace from 1820s Paris? There are architectural and porcelain goodies everywhere, thanks to one of the co-owners, Frank McCole, who enjoys rummaging through old Europe and bringing beautiful artifacts to complement his quite modern restaurant.

The food is under the supervision of Ali Dey Daly, an enthusiastic chef, born in Tunisia but with an eye to making the ordinary very interesting–in fact, even something so simple-sounding as cottage pie is rife with tastes beyond beef and potato. Perhaps it’s the white cheddar added, or the slow cooking of the beef tenderloin.

Chef Ali, who changes about a third of the menu every sixty days or so, wants diners to be comfortable at the bar or at a table–so the food, he says, “can be eaten at two different places, and works at both.”

And if you’re sitting at the bar you are hardly alone. Oscar Wilde boasts the longest bar in New York City–almost half a football field, 40 yards. Yet, it retains an intimate feel, as do all areas of the restaurant.

On a recent week night, filled, you weren’t distracted by noise. Some diners sat studying their cellphones, alone. Others in earnest conversation with friends. Others hoisting a variety of colorful cocktails and classic drinks.

In keeping with the idea of the menu changing with the seasons, the restaurant will be open Christmas Day from 4 P.M. to midnight. The upcoming winter menu includes a Wilde Mac and Cheese not with two or three different cheeses–but five. It’s typical of the fun menu, which goes one step beyond what you’d expect. And if you’d like to continue the revelry on New Year’s Eve, there will be a celebration with a DJ and a huge screen display of the ball coming down in Times Square. More at:

[email protected]

If you’re sitting at the bar, look up and down the 118 feet, and be glad you’re not working behind it. Bar manager Nick, who creates something new virtually on a daily basis, also has to keep an eye from one end to the other. He estimates he walks 6.7 miles behind the bar on a busy day.

It attracts an eclectic crowd, and not just New Yorkers. Television shows have been filmed here. Drew Barrymore has been spotted, along with “Bohemian Rhapsody” star Rami Malek.

Drinks Galore

If it’s drink you’re interested in, you can nurse any one of dozens of wonderfully named drinks, from The Ugly Peacock to Writer’s Block.

But besides gawking, you will be wanting to eat. And all sorts of tasting menus can be prepared (call in advance if you want to make sure you get what you want). Chef Ali and Nick also will marry your food to the appropriate wine and drinks. So each course comes with its colorful array of food, complemented with the liquids.

You get the sense this is definitely a place that is concerned about the enjoyment of place, food, and drink.

As the chef explains, “You have to love people and want to make them happy.”


I have had a rollicking 44-year ride as a reporter (sports) for The New York Times—that included 8,000 bylines, second-highest in the paper’s history. Along the way, I w...