Located in Le Parker Meridien hotel, Norma’s is considered one of the most upscale brunches in Manhattan. Taste the first bite of your dish and you will understand why their reputation is so well deserved.
The selection of dishes is very original. For instance, I had never tried or even heard of a foie gras brioche. I also liked how they humorously categorize them (see their online menu here).
One essential tip before you set foot in the restaurant: you have to go with an empty (VERY empty) stomach. The portions are HUGE! You can really expect a lavish feast once you hit the table. All of us struggled to finish our plate, even the guys. Everything is served in excess… Its actually great value (even though we would have been satisfied with less)!
In regard to the ambiance, it was nice but nothing astonishing: no view, no extravagant chandeliers, no wow-factor. The decor was modern but simple. Restaurants are usually very chic and special when they’re located in nice hotels so I expected the decoration to be a bit more original and sophisticated. Nonetheless, it is very pleasant to have a lot of space in between the tables and the dining area definitely offers all the space you could need with its high ceilings.
The service was good but a bit ‘confusing.’ We didn’t even have time to sit down and open the menu before the server was already pouring some fresh orange juice in our glasses and serving us coffee. We thought ‘cool, there must be some kind of orange juice open bar here’. But no… They actually included it all in the bill 🙂 they never really asked us if we wanted, they just assumed that we did. The manager obviously took it off the check when we pointed it out, without arguing. Be sure to tell the waiter what you want and what you don’t want. Despite his forwardness in satisfying our thirst , he knew all of the dishes very well and made some good recommendations.
-Great value – no way you’ll leave hungry!
-Right next to Central Park
-The menu has a great selection, which can satisfy anyone’s taste buds
-The plating: beautiful presentations
-No booze can be served. So you can forget about a Bellini or a Bloody Mary… 🙁
-Pricey (eg: 7$ for a cappuccino)
-The portions are way too big… For the fatties (or should I say for the people with a very VERY large appetite) it may seem like an awesome deal but for most people, it may seem like a waste.
-They don’t take reservations and the wait is normally pretty long… I would advise you to come at least an hour early and walk around Central Park until your table is set up!