There’s just something special about a secret garden. And a secret garden is probably one of the last things you would expect in Midtown East of New York City, but that’s precisely what you’ll find at Tuttles.

While I love living in Turtle Bay, a generally unknown neighborhood in Midtown East of New York City, I am the first to say there is a general dearth of restaurants  in the area. The general look of things is pretty standard and boring, but Tuttles has stepped in and really spiced things up.

I have to admit, I walked right by this place several times before I noticed it was even there. The exterior door is a little bit set back from the sidewalk and rather nondescript, but once you’re inside that’s where it starts to get good. A long bar with white marble countertops welcomes you into the space. But move through to the back and you’re in a sunken beer garden. Dreamy. Large wooden tables fill the space and have a distinctly bierhaus vibe, but the lush plantings and hanging vines give an otherworldly feel to the space.

The menu is rather simple and somewhat standard American fare, but I like that — sometimes in NYC you get a great location and that comes with a snobby menu. None of that here. The weekend brunch menu offers classics like eggs benedict, steak and eggs, omelets, which are all served with a complimentary Bloody Mary or mimosa (or tea or coffee), and the regular menu offers a variety of salads, burgers, paninis and sandwiches, as well as entrees like homemade shepard’s pie.

The first time I went there was a chill in the September air and the bar was serving up a mulled cider, which was delightful and allowed us to fully enjoy the space longer. Overall I’m a fan of Tuttles because it’s relaxed, quiet, and feels like you’re in your own private back yard — that said, I haven’t been here on late nights when the crowd is probably a tad more Murray Hill, but the venue will surely still deliver.

Jeff Smith

Jeff started in photography and short format video, and he's been at the forefront of the web tv movement. He’s worked on haute couture shoots in Paris, shot street style in Milan, and is currently developing a steady roster of beauty, fashion, and digital clients in NYC.