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.

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