We’ve visited La Bonne Soupe for lunch on three separate occasions, as it’s conveniently located a few blocks away from The Museum of Modern Art. On our first visit, we had a very pleasant late lunch at this midtown French bistro. The door was open to the street–and there was street noise–but it really did not impact the noise level in the place. The main space was at least half full, and the other patrons were chatty, but the space was really comfortable. There were a couple of obvious reasons for this: background music was actually in the background, there were upholstered banquettes lining the room, and the cloth-covered walls appeared to be padded. The design decisions, coupled with restraint with regard to the background music, kept the noise at reasonable levels.
Our second and third visits were in late autumn, so the door was not open to the street, but the dining room was packed. On both occasions we were seated near the loudest part of the first floor dining room–tables situated near the bar. This area is bustling, as the busboys come over to replenish glassware and to grab utensils to reset tables, and the very friendly bartender has a booming voice.
Still, despite the chatter and glassware noise, we would still recommend a visit but would suggest that you ask for a table furthest away from the bar or ask if there is a free table on the second floor. While we haven’t eaten in the second floor dining room, we popped up for a quick visit and discovered that it was quieter than the first floor. There also appears to be a back dining space on the first floor, but it wasn’t clear whether customers were seated there during lunch service.
Long and short, La Bonne Soupe is a good safe option for bustling midtown. The sound level is mostly manageable, the food is good, service was fine, and the meal was reasonably priced for the location.
Sunday: 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.
Monday through Thursday: 11:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Friday and Saturday: 11:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m..