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Muesum Guide: Museum cuisine

Courtesy Guggenheim Museum

It can take an entire day or more to fully explore some of the best museums around the country, which means that somewhere along the way you’re going to have to eat. And although you may have vague memories of museum basement cafeterias, a new breed of fine and inventive restaurants is raising the bar on museum dining.

Today’s museum-goers can expect to find an array of fresh, inventive and locally sourced food, along with artful ambiance, at museums around the country. Here are four restaurants that will prove as memorable as the museums that house them.

— The Wright —
Guggenheim Museum • New York
Arguably one of the country’s most famous art museums, the Guggenheim in New York now has an equally notable restaurant in the Wright, which opened in 2009. The restaurant has received accolades for both its contemporary, colorful design and its menu. It won the 2010 James Beard Award for best restaurant design and has been highly ranked by the Zagat Survey.

The Wright’s menu changes with the seasons and features dishes such as truffle potato leek soup and braised short ribs with spaetzle and shiraz juice. The bar is famous for its Picasso cocktail.

Because this restaurant is in high demand, reservations are recommended, and group leaders should inquire about group meals well ahead of their visits.

— The Moss Room —
California Academy of Arts and Sciences
San Francisco

In a city known for its extensive culinary offerings, the Moss Room at the California Academy of Arts and Sciences has made a reputation for itself with local food and wine and dramatic decor.
The restaurant takes its name from the “living wall” of moss that covers one side of the room. Other artistic flourishes, such as a backlit bar, help to make this restaurant worthy of its museum surroundings. The menu features dishes made with local, organic ingredients, and the wine and cocktail list has an impressive selection of drinks from the nearby California wine country.

The restaurant is open for lunch. You don’t need a museum admission to dine there, but you’ll probably need a reservation, especially if you’re bringing a group.

Brian Jewell

Brian Jewell is the executive editor of The Group Travel Leader. In more than a decade of travel journalism he has visited 48 states and 25 foreign countries.