New York City hums with a singular energy all year round, but from the moment the Thanksgiving Day parade marches down Sixth Avenue until the New Year’s Eve ball drops in Times Square, it radiates with a little more magic. Giant glittering snowflakes dangle above streets, the Rockefeller Center tree glows bright, and productions of the Nutcracker dance all over town. Dining out during this season is more fun, too, when restaurants deck their halls to get guests in the holiday spirit. From a cozy library to a rooftop with a world class view, these 8 festive NYC restaurants will inspire you to eat, drink, and be merry.
Warm and welcoming throughout the year, Gramercy Tavern transforms into a winter wonderland during the holidays with a glowing menorah, sprigs of greens and reds, and Victorian Kissing Balls. These traditional, botanically bedecked orbs hang from above and create a festive feast for the eyes from floor to ceiling. A changing menu means seasonal flavors are front and center, with plates like Duck Meatloaf, Mushrooms, Chestnuts and Brussels Sprouts on the Tavern’s lunch menu, and Butternut Squash, Cheesecake, Walnut, Maple Milk Foam and Cranberry Sorbet for dessert in the dining room. (You can take a peek at the staff decking the halls here.)
Colicchio & Sons
Tom Colicchio’s Chelsea restaurant gets into the holiday spirit with Elvis-themed flourishes. Strings of blue lights and vinyl records adorn a Christmas tree, and pastry chef Stephen Collucci’s Blue Christmas-themed gingerbread house is on display. Sample appetizer-sized dishes like Porchetta with Quince and Brussels Sprouts and Roasted Guinea Hen with Butternut Squash, and save room for a scoop of ice cream in winter-appropriate flavors like eggnog, spiced cookie, and horchata.
NYC’s second most dazzling Christmas tree (which says a lot, considering the top spot goes to Rock Center’s 78-foot Norway Spruce) is housed in The NoMad Hotel’s Library, an elegant two-level space with a spiral staircase straight out of the pages of Jane Austen. Snag a table at the restaurant and tuck into their famous Whole Roasted Chicken for two with foie gras, black truffle, and brioche, then head to The Library to take in the tree and sip a gin and tonic or another equally posh cocktail.
Located on top of the eponymous hotel that was once a hat factory in NYC’s Garment District, the airy restaurant sets the seasonal mood with snow-dusted topiaries, berry wreaths, and lights strung from the glass-ceilinged lounge. Perfect for après-shopping snacks and Champagne, Refinery Rooftop is reminiscent of a snug ski lodge (complete a with fireplace and crackling fire) that happens to have stunning views of the Empire State Building.