Five Premier Museum Restaurants and Cafés From Around the World

December 22, 2016 5:00 am
(Erik Smits/Courtesy RJIKS)
(Erik Smits/Courtesy RJIKS)


Whether it’s a simple café or fine-dining restaurant, refined culinary offerings are becoming a mainstay at elite museums around the world. These days, museums are tapping the skills of renowned chefs and restaurateurs to breathe life into their brands.

RealClearLife has curated a list of five of the best museum cafés and restaurants in the world—which will have you skipping the gallery and going straight for that meal.


Rijks at the Rijksmuseum

Located in Amsterdam, Rijks opened its doors in 2014 with Joris Bijdendijk as executive chef, along with Chefs Wim de Beer and Jos Timmer. Bijdendijk introduced its “new cuisine from the Low Countries,” characterized by simple and locally sourced Dutch dishes like North Sea Gurnard (a type of fish) and Swede cabbage steak. Rijks, which seats 140 guests, was awarded a Michelin star this month. Click here for more info.

A photo posted by Rijksmuseum (@rijksmuseum) on


Untitled at the Whitney

With its reopening in 2015, this New York City art museum made a splash with its café located at the base of the building. The light-filled space offers an all-seasons lookout from which to enjoy a cocktail or one of its delicately composed plates, like smoked arctic char mousse on rye toast or pulled pork lettuce wraps with fried oysters. Following their collaboration on the much-loved Gramercy Tavern, restaurateur Danny Meyer and Chef Michael Anthony’s have a recipe for success with Untitled. Learn more about the restaurant here.


Nerua at the Guggenheim Bilbao

With plates as expertly crafted as the Frank Gehry–designed building they’re served in, Nerua features a seasonal menu chosen by Chef Josean Alija (who has a few Michelin stars under his belt). The spartan dining room allows guests to focus on vibrant dishes, such as cod tripe with red onion and squid broth. Among the top eateries in the world (not just in Spain), reservations are recommended well in advance. You can make one here.

M. Well’s Dinette at MoMA PS1

Paying homage to the building’s former identity as a public school, the café at MoMA’s sister location in Queens, New York, offers a sophisticated spin on classic cafeteria fare with dishes such as squash bolognese and chicken liver mousse. In addition to the sandwiches and small plates, Hugue Dufour and Sarah Obraitis, culinary geniuses behind fan-favorite M. Wells Diner, dole out a mean brunch, too. Find additional info on the spot here.

A photo posted by MoMA PS1 (@momaps1) on

Bar Luce at Fondazione Prada

Milan’s best art museum basically has a permanent experiential installation as its café. Designed by Director Wes Anderson, the restaurant, recreated to resemble a classic Milanese café, looks like it could serve as the setting for his next film. Echoing cinematic influences as well as the location’s history, Anderson decked out the restaurant with touches of color and design that are emblematic of Italy in the 50s and 60s. Aside from its excellent cocktail and wine offerings, Bar Luce serves casual Italian treats done right—paninis, fresh pastries, ice cream, and tiramisu. Learn more about it here.


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