One of my favorite things about my favorite TV show is how it showcases the New York dining scene from hole-in-the-walls to neighborhood gems to Michelin-starred restaurants. And it has been my pleasure to share the information about restaurants appearing on the show first in my weekly recaps and then in a full dining guide by the end of the season for Season 1, Season 2, Season 3. and Season 4.
Fan Fun Billions dining guides are some of the most popular posts on the blog and even some leading media outlets have noticed. Look what Forbes Magazine says about us!
“There are posts on actor Damian Lewis’s official website, that diligently track, with screenshots, all the food locations featured in every season. These posts even manage to name-check the take-out Chinese in one scene as the beloved eatery Wo-Hop.”
I describe each restaurant/bar that makes an appearance or gets a mention in Billions Season 5 below with a picture of the scene as a refresher, a link to the establishment’s website, its location as well as its Yelp review where available. I really hope you have a chance to try one or several of these places!
Many of you already know that I sat down and wrote a book that has a complete listing of the restaurants, bars, cafes, bakeries and more that either appeared or was mentioned in Billions in order of their appearance in the show. Each entry includes a description of that place’s particular significance in the show – (who dines there? what are they eating? what’s the occasion?) as well as in the New York culinary scene (its history, its chef, signature dish). There is also practical information about each restaurant (location, price level, happy hour, dress codes, and so on). The last section in the book offers several restaurant recommendations for a New York weekend of your choice (romantic, family friendly, splurge, and so on). You can order now on Amazon or other online booksellers.
Episode 1: The New Decas
The one with Chuck being transparent with Kate about Axe
4 Charles Prime Rib: Appearing in Billions for a second time – it first appeared in Season 3 Episode 1 Tie Goes to the Runner – 4 Charles Prime Rib is an intimate supper club in West Village serving prime steaks, fresh seafood, hand-carved slices of prime rib, and decadent desserts.
Episode 2: The Chris Rock Test
The one with Axe telling the Manhattan DA to keep her eye on the sparrow
Cibao Restaurant: Classic Cuban dishes served in a no-frills setting with counter service. And thanks to DA Gramm, we now know why they call plantains “mangu” in Dominican Republic 🙂
The one from where Lauren has special room service delivered to Ms. Kashkhouk
Union Square Cafe: New York’s most important restaurateur Danny Meyer’s first restaurant serves “seasonal New American cuisine in a casually refined setting. The ricotta gnocchi that Ms. Kashkhokh calls “firm and tasty” is the restaurant’s signature dish.
You can hear Billions co-creator and show runner Brian Koppelman talk to Meyer on his podcast The Moment here.
The one where Chuck and De Giulio agree to go for an early dinner
Peter Luger Steak House: Truly a city institution, Peter Luger is an old school steakhouse serving aged beef since 1887. Their specialty is porterhouse. One thing you have to know about arguably the best steak house in New York is that they do not accept credit cards. However, even though they do not advertise it, they accept debit cards. You are welcome! 🙂
Peter Luger got its first mention in Billions in Season 1 where Chuck Sr said he would go there for dinner with his friends and it appeared on the show in Season 3 Episode 11 Kompenso where Chuck and Ira shared a porterhouse and became friends again. And now the restaurant gets another mention as Chuck and DeGiulio plan to go there for an early dinner to celebrate De Giulio becoming the Solicitor General – the judge is paying! 🙂
And here is what the Billions Writers have to say about the place:
Peter Luger Steak House was opened in 1887 in Brooklyn. New York Times critic Pete Wells gave the restaurant a 0-star review in 2019, but we at Billions respectfully disagree: https://t.co/RJsKv5uaZk
— BillionsWritersRoom (@BillionsWriters) May 11, 2020
The one whose chef cooking for The Mike conference dinner
Lilia: If Bobby Axelrod is a carnivorous monster, I am a pasta monster! And Missy Robbins who makes a cameo on Billions as the chef cooking for Mike Prince’s conference dinner at the Mohank Mountain House, is without question one of my (and also President Obama’s) culinary heroes!
Lewisto and I have followed Chef Robbins and her divine cooking for over a decade from Spiaggia in Chicago to A Voce on Manhattan… And finally to her own restaurant Lilia in Williamsburg serving fantastic Italian fare and homemade pastas in a spacious room that used to be an auto body shop and one of the “hardest to secure a table” restaurants in New York.
Chef Robbins serves her signature Mafaldine with Pink Peppercorns and Parmagiano Reggiano to the conference attendees in the episode. This is the chef’s take on the classic cacio e pepe and you can find the recipe here…
…and here is our own version – yummy!
Episode 3: Beg, Bribe, Bully
The one with the “from the oven to the mouth” pizza
Una Pizza Napoletana: Self-taught chef Anthony Mangieri opened Una Pizza in a tiny space in East Village in early 2000s serving only and only Neapolitan Pizza. Later, he moved his pizzeria to San Francisco for a few years, but now, lucky us, the chef is back and Una Pizza now serves small plates as well desserts next to the to-die-for pies at its new industrial space on the Lower East Side. They also have an all-Italian wine list that focuses on natural winemaking — totally a soft spot for wine snobs like yours truly! There is now a new branch in New Jersey – Mangieri’s home state.
The pizzeria made its first appearance on the show in Season 4 Episode 5 A Proper Sendoff where Axe and Rebecca had a double date with Chuck and Wendy and chef Mangieri personally served them. And now Chef Mangieri is allowing his pizza to travel ONLY for Axe! Given that Axe calls him “my new pizza guy” Una Pizza Napoletana seems to be replacing Bruno’s pizzeria in Billions.
The one where Chuck had fried glazed donuts during Law School
The Doodle: This loving mention by Chuck in his meeting with the Dean of the Yale Law School is a tribute to the Yankee Doodle Coffee Shop that operated between 1950 and 2008 in New Haven. A favorite among the students as well as the faculty and employees of Yale University – former presidents Clinton and George W. Bush were regulars during their studies at Yale – The Doodle served cheap but honest diner food. The specialty at the Doodle was the fried glazed donuts Chuck mentions in the episode which is, according to Wikipedia – “an old fashioned donut cut down the middle, buttered, fried on the grill, and then re-buttered before serving.” I do not even want to think about the calories 🙂
Episode 6: Nordic Model
The one which Axe wants to partner with
Una Pizza Napoletana: It is official. Now that Bruno has retired and moved to Florida, Una Pizza is Axe’s new pizzeria.
Do not underestimate the power of great pizza!
Axe has convinced Tanner to create a series of paintings for him over Una Pizza and now he is convincing the painter to do a portrait of the Secretary of the Treasury over the exact same pizza 😀
And better yet…
“The freezer section. We start there. Best frozen pie ever. Then the sauce. Gelato. We roll out the complete line. The whole Una food experience — but at home.”
If you have ever had pizza at Chef Anthony Mangieri’s Una Pizza Napoletana, you know what Axe is talking about. Besides Axe is finally making a business proposal that would benefit millions of people. I am in!
The one with Pac-Man dumplings
Red Farm: This creative, market-driven restaurant serves fresh American-Chinese cuisine at its two branches in the West Village and the Upper West Side. And it is not only the fact that the Pac-Man Dumplings are YUMMY but also the sad fact I have not been able to have them for more than three months now, I cannot tell you how much I crave for Red Farm‘s Pac-Man Dumplings as Ed Schoenfeld, the owner of the restaurant, is serving them to DA Gramm for lunch at Red Farm’s Upper West Side branch – which is literally a stone’s throw from our NYC apartment!
The dumplings, which look like the ghosts in Pac-Man, are definitely a crowd-pleaser putting a smile on everyone’s faces and I have seen many people deciding to order them upon seeing the dish being served at the next table! And notice that even though they are all shrimp dumplings, they have different colors thanks to their specific flavors: shrimp and bamboo shoots, shrimp and crab, shrimp and yellow leeks, and shrimp, pickled ginger and hot pepper. And as much as this dumpling dish is a must-eat, please make sure you try the spicy crispy beef and diced tuna with crispy noodles, too! Oh, and it is not just me that loves this restaurant, Red Farm is Brian Koppelman’s favorite neighborhood joint.
Episode 8: Copenhagen
The one where Wags thinks he has cornered Scooter
Second Avenue Deli: A classic Kosher diner in the Upper East Side known for its overstuffed sandwiches and Kosher staples like the traditional Jewish Matzoh Brei, the Potato Pancakes with Applesauce and the Egg Barley with Mushrooms.
In Billions, tasked by the Honcho to destroy Scooter Joan of Arc style, Wags corners Scooter at 2nd Ave Deli as the latter is enjoying his turkey and chopped liver sandwich. According to Wags, there are at least two better sandwiches on the menu. Alas, he does not reveal which ones 🙂
The one Ira claims has the cleanest falafel outside the Holy Land
Mamoun’s Falafel: A family business since its inception in 1971, Mamoun’s serves affordable and authentic Middle Eastern food. It is the first falafel restaurant in New York and one of the first Middle Eastern establishments in the United States. The menu has plenty of options for vegetarians and vegans. Village Voice said of the place: “Kissinger could take a lesson in diplomacy here – he’s got Arabs and Jews eating at the same table…” in 1976. While the restaurant flagship is in the heart of Greenwich Village, the restaurant has expanded to other neighborhoods of New York as well as to New Jersey, Connecticut, and Georgia.
Well, I always wanted to eat with Billions characters and here we go! Chuck, Ira and I are having falafel from Mamoun’s and talking about Chuck’s relationship problems 🙂 Ira is right. Mamoun’s falafel is as clean but also as yummy as they make it in the Holy Land. And, yes, I had falafel in the Holy Land. Proof attached.
Episode 9: Implosion
The One that gets into supermarket freezer sections (only in the show, not in real life!)
Una Pizza Napoletana: We know that, after Bruno retired and moved to Florida, Axe has adopted a new pizza place, Una Pizza Napoletana, and we saw him in Season 5 Episode 6 The Nordic Model making a business offer to Chef Anthony Mangieri and his TV cousin Domenick who has a degree from NYU Stern.
We find Anthony and his cousin down in Florida anxiously waiting for Bruno’s verdict about their frozen pie while Axe is joining them on Zoom. Domenick is about to have a heart attack since they have 100K frozen pies on a ship from Italy!
“Holy Shit! Oh, kid! You did it!”
And we know that Genio della Pizza is a go! I so wish that this storyline had been real so we could all buy Chef Mangieri’s pies at a local store – not the first best but believe me, it would be the second best. Cent’anni!
Chef Mangieri has closed down Una Pizza NY location during the pandemic but he recently announced that he will re-open sometime in October 2021. Hallelujah!
Episode 10: Liberty
The new one from the celebrity chef Tom Colicchio
Vallata: Chef Collicchio’s latest venture is an Italian restaurant, a homey one if you will, that has been inspired by family recipes and a year of cooking at home.
Wags, the newly minted CEO of Axe Bank, has a date with Chelsea. It turns out he promised to take her to Chef Colicchio’s new restaurant. Yet Wags is too busy to leave the office today so he organizes a romantic dinner in his office prepared and served by Chef Colichhio himself! Impressive.
My lovely husband threw a surprise book launch party for me and a few close friends at Craft, Chef Colicchio’s legendary flagship restaurant – the one where Ira proposed to Taiga in Season 3 Episode 3 A Generation Too Late a few weeks ago. I would love to take the opportunity here to thank the restaurant staff one more time for taking very good care of us. I will keep my personalized menu forever!
The one from which Chef Colicchio revives the dinner appetizer
Gramercy Tavern: One of the pioneers in farm-to-table dining in New York thanks to the vision of the restaurateur Danny Meyer and chef Tom Colicchio, Gramercy Tavern serves American contemporary cuisine for more than two decades now. The ever-evolving seasonal menu displays the restaurant’s relationships with local farms and purveyors. While you need to have the fixed price restaurant tasting menu in the Dining Room, you can order a la carte in the Tavern.
In Billions, the appetizer Chef Colicchio serves Wags and Chelz is one of the most appetizing dishes I have seen on Billions. Colicchio is reviving a dish that he used to make at his Gramercy Tavern days – a pea puree with a fondue of crab, there is some bacon, little bit of sumac and pink peppercorns.
Our characters have been so busy outwitting, outplaying, outlasting each other that – and probably thanks to the pandemic as well – they did not have the time to dine at a restaurant or bring in a famous chef to cook for them! I am hoping they will resume their regular dining experiences in Season 6 – coming to Showtime on January 23!