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Dining at NYC museums: 5 picks

Robert is the restaurant atop the Museum of

Robert is the restaurant atop the Museum of Arts and Design in Columbus Circle in Manhattan. Credit: Alan Battman

A serious meal can be a work of art. But it's really only a development of the last five years that true cuisine has made it through the door of our best art institutions. These museum restaurants are good enough to merit their own trip, and none require museum admission.

1. ROBERT, MUSEUM OF ARTS AND DESIGN: The food is certainly a lure at Robert, but ultimately the views will keep you coming back -- a sweeping window on Columbus Circle and Central Park. Brightly colored seating is one among the eye-popping decor touches you'd expect, given the design galleries downstairs. Tuck into Mediteranean-American dishes like French-cut half-chicken with cauliflower, morels and foie gras ($30).

WHERE | WHEN 2 Columbus Circle; lunch and dinner daily.

INFO Average entree $32, 212-299-7730,

2. SAUL RESTAURANT + BAR, BROOKLYN MUSEUM OF ART: Long a fixture of the Boerum Hill neighborhood, chef Saul Bolton and his talented team -- recipients of a Michelin star -- set up camp last month in the Brooklyn Museum. The new restaurant is bustling already, and diners look thrilled with local, seasonal dishes like dry-aged squab ($32).

WHERE | WHEN 200 Eastern Pkwy., Brooklyn; lunch and dinner, closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

INFO Average entree $30, 718-935-9842,

3. THE MODERN BAR ROOM, MUSEUM OF MODERN ART: Alsatian-born Gabriel Kreuther is one of NYC's top chefs, period, and the front Bar Room at the Modern is a more casual place to experience his take on haute cuisine. Amid the calming, neutral tones and polished service, try the house-made Alsatian sausage ($18). A massive wine list grants you everything you've ever wanted, especially if it's from France.

WHERE | WHEN 9 W. 53rd St.; lunch and dinner daily.

INFO Average entree $26, 212-333-1220,

4. M. WELLS DINETTE, MOMA PS 1: Done up like the school cafeteria it once was, M. Wells is quirky and quite fun. You'll be able to choose from many organ meats and many dishes that reference chef Hugue Dufour's Quebecois origins. Desserts are excellent: split the pear Charlotte ($15) with a friend.

WHERE | WHEN 22-25 Jackson Ave., Long Island City, Queens; lunch daily, closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

INFO Average entree $20, 718-786-1800,

5. THE WRIGHT, SOLOMON R. GUGGENHEIM MUSEUM: As befits a restaurant in Frank Lloyd Wright's spiral masterpiece, the Wright is a super sleek, curving white room dominated by a Liam Gillick sculpture. Chef Rodolfo Contreras uses only sustainable seafood, and he's known for his light touch. His tuna tartare ($16) takes inspiration from both Mexico and Japan, combining a diced jalapeño and shiso leaf.

WHERE | WHEN 1071 Fifth Ave.; lunch weekdays (closed Thursdays), Sunday brunch.

INFO Average entree $26, 212-427-5690,

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