Café 2 at the Museum of Modern Art in New York city


One of the three salads offered at Café 2 in the MoMA, this is the kale & artichoke salad

The Museum of Modern Art located in midtown Manhattan provides a broad overview of contemporary and modern art. According to the MoMA, in 2019, around 1.5 million people visited the museum. With all those visitors many are bound to dine at the MoMA. 

They offer three dining options. One is a sit-down restaurant with very expensive options, and the other is a cafe but with appetizer-style dishes instead of full entrees. For the standard museumgoer, Café 2 is a good middle ground and where I would recommend you dine.

Deciding to eat at prime lunch was probably not the best choice personally, although it allowed me to experience what is probably the worst of the wait. Surprisingly, it was only about a 15-minute wait to order.

Ordering your meal is relatively quick. You walk up to the counter and just order and pay. An order number is given to you which the servers use to find you at one of the many tables. For those with a food allergy or restriction, the workers at the counter are able to customize your meal to your needs. 

The menu at Café 2 is pretty limited with about eleven entrees and not all of them are the most appealing. For example, gemelli with crab and garlic sauce pizza is a unique dish for most. They do offer a basic grilled cheese but it does not look the most appealing.

The layout of the restaurant is communal. The choice of seating is up to you, the tables are very long and can fit up to fourteen people which brings a sense of a school cafeteria, minus the subpar food of a school cafeteria.

If I could describe the atmosphere of Café 2, it would be “upscale”. The furniture and dining ware are classy and the staff is very efficient which gives you the feeling that you are their main priority. The food of others around you makes it seem like there is no wrong answer to what should you eat.

Now to the food itself, I ordered the kale & artichoke salad along with a cappuccino. A kale & artichoke salad sounds a little unappealing, but an abundance of roasted chickpeas with parmesan cheese and a sweet vinaigrette really turn it into a complete meal that leaves you satisfied.

The chickpea adds a much-needed crunch and nutty flavor.

I was not sure if my choice of a cappuccino would make a good pair with my salad but it ended up working well. The cappuccino tasted great and the caffeine helped push me through the rest of the day at the museum. The latte art was a nice touch that added to the upscale feel.

If you are getting the sense that Café 2 is not cheap, you would be correct. My kale & artichoke salad cost me $18 and the cappuccino was $5. I will say, if I was to pay $18 for a kale salad, I would like for it to be the kale salad at Café 2. Based on my experience and those I talked with the food is worth the price.

An important aspect of any restaurant is the portion sizes. Don’t come in expecting an overflowing plate. If you ate lunch at Café 2 around noon time, you should expect to be ready for an earlier dinner. The meal will not stuff you but it will most likely leave you satisfied.

If you do not want to pay those kinds of prices there are many restaurants located around the MoMA that could provide a filling meal, although just don’t expect something as fancy.

Café 2 is the place to eat if you find yourself at the Museum of Modern Art. The food is tasty yet elegant which puts you in a museum kind of mood. It makes sense that such a famous and impressive museum would also display art from the culinary world.