NYC Holiday Dining Guide 2017
Heading to NYC for the holiday season? Whether you’re shopping for gifts, hitting a Broadway show or simply rockin’ around the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center, eventually you’re going to want to grab a bite.
We’ve gathered 10 festive restaurants in Manhattan offering one-of-a-kind dining experiences for a special time of year. From secret tasting menus to pop-up cannoli counters, you’re bound to find something that sparks an appetite.
Agern, the Danish word for “acorn,” can be a tough nut to crack reservation-wise. The discreet, Michelin-starred restaurant and bar tucked inside Grand Central Terminal is renowned for tasting menus that can stretch across seven courses and take four hours to complete.
But for those in the know, there’s a way to enjoy the same Nordic fare without spending a fortune — or half the day at the table. After 8:00 p.m., ask for the secret menu: Agern After Eight. Three courses — two savory, one sweet— are selected each night by chef Gunnar Gislason and pastry chef Isabel Zamora, and served along with Agern’s signature dessert snacks and a glass of wine. The sneaky splurge is available at the bar or open kitchen counter for $75, inclusive of gratuity.
Go: Grand Central Terminal, 89 E 42nd St., New York; 646-568-4018; agernrestaurant.com
The Dining Room at The Met
For “been there/done that” types who think they’ve dined at every exclusive restaurant in the city, lunch at The Dining Room at The Met should prove enticing.
Previously accessible only to museum members, the restaurant opened to the public this summer but is still relatively quiet due to its obscure location, limited hours and admittedly high prices. But those who are feeling flush this holiday season should take a peek at the $55 brunch prix-fixe offerings, including mimosas, Maine crab salad and Challah French toast — all with a front-row seat overlooking Central Park and Cleopatra’s Needle.
Go: 1000 5th Ave., New York; Fourth floor via the elevator in the European Sculpture and Decorative Arts galleries. Reservations via OpenTable or 212-570-3975.
Tokyo Record Bar
Inspired by the intimate listening dens of Tokyo, where Japanese audiophiles obsess over music while sipping sake and nibbling small bites, this 18-seat downtown destination offers a fun alternative to the classic “dinner and a show” pairing.
Each night there are two “Vinyl Jukebox” seatings (6:30 p.m.; 8:30 p.m.) priced at $50 which include a 7-item izakaya menu and an interactive music experience. Guests (actress Olivia Wilde, model Naomi Campbell and skate idol Tony Hawk are fans) help create a playlist to listen to during their dinner. After 10:30 p.m., the space opens up seating and serves an a la carte food and beverage menu, with a dedicated DJ spinning tunes.
Go: 127 MacDougal St., New York; 212-420-4777; tokyorecordbar.com
Air Champagne Parlor
Located upstairs from Tokyo Record Bar, a new salon and living room is dedicated to making Champagne and sparkling wine an affordable luxury. Air Champagne Parlor is a feminine art-deco style room made in Instagram heaven. But the dreamiest element of all may be the accessible prices for popping bottles.
Guests can enjoy bubbles at a fraction of the cost found in most bars and restaurants — practically retail cost — and split a platter of oysters, cheese or charcuterie for an impromptu holiday gathering.
Go: 127 MacDougal St., New York; 212-420-4777; airschampagneparlor.com
If the holidays tend to bring out the fabulous in you, hoof it to Gabriel Kreuther a distinctly luxurious New York restaurant, serving refined French- and American-influenced dishes with inspiration from the chef’s Alsatian heritage.
Here you will find a four-course prix-fixe menu unafraid of caviar, foie gras, black truffle ($155) and the opulent linens worthy of showcasing such delicacies. Located in close proximity to the theatre district, the restaurant is an ideal location to celebrate after taking in “The Nutcracker” or “Dear Evan Hansen.” But if you’re only in the mood for a snack, try its sibling next door, Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate, a glass-enclosed workshop for magical chocolates, bonbons and caramels.
Go: 41 W. 42nd St., New York; 212-257-5826; gknyc.com
Aldo Sohm Wine Bar
Aldo Sohm Wine Bar is the eponymous wine bar from acclaimed Le Bernardin wine director Aldo Sohm. But if you’re not wearing a cocktail dress, don’t be deterred from entering.
The casual and convivial space intends for visitors to feel as if they’re in Sohm’s living room: guests seat themselves and enjoy simple, shareable bites, such as “Brooklyn Charlie’s” charcuterie, short rib skewers, or cozy baked Camembert. Wines, sold by the glass and by the bottle, are likewise available in a wide range of prices to suit one’s taste and budget. But in evidence of Sohm’s pedigree, the same stellar service is extended to all who walk through the door.
Go: 151 West 51st St., New York; 212-554-1143; aldosohmwinebar.com
Eataly NYC Flatiron
“You cannoli live once!'” say the exuberant staff at Eataly NYC Flatiron, Mario Batali’s massive Italian market and cafe complex. But we’ll forgive the pun since Eataly’s new counter selling the dessert, I Cannoli di Eataly, can’t help but make people giddy.
Watch pastry chefs follow the Sicilian tradition of shaping cannoli shells by hand using farm-fresh eggs, stone-ground flour, butter, sugar, cocoa and Marsala wine, then fry the treat in small batches and fill each shell with one of 10 different flavors of sweet ricotta. Guests can choose from 17 different toppings, ranging from Amarena cherry to toasted pistachio to dark chocolate, then pair their indulgence with an expertly curated wine. It’s molto bene.
Go: 200 5th Ave., New York; 212-229-2560; eataly.com
After taking in the windows at Saks and Lord & Taylor, shopping all over town and posing in front of the tree at Rockefeller Center, you may be surprised to find the day has disappeared. So, might as well make a night of it: Zuma recently launched its new, RSVP-only “Yashoku” party series, a play on traditional Japanese late-night dining with live music and DJ sets. Starting at 10 p.m., the upstairs lounge will begin serving a menu of street food and signature cocktails, leading up to a midnight magnum Champagne bottle-popping celebration. Guests in need of a larger repast can reserve the limited 9 p.m. Yashoku Omakase, a 3-course, one-seating meal ranging from sushi rolls to robata grill entrees ($49).
Go: 261 Madison Ave., New York; 212-544-9862; zumarestaurant.com
2nd Ave Deli
Family-owned 2nd Ave Deli has been a New York institution since 1954, which is enough reason to visit as any in a town that changes as often as this one does. But for Chanukah — December 12-20 this year — the restaurant will be suitably decked out with a menorah and dreidels, making it a natural setting for a family Chanukah outing in the Big Apple. Plus! A special three-course prix-fixe menu ($59.95), will include dishes such as matzoh ball soup, stuffed cabbage, gefilte fish, chopped liver, potted brisket, broiled salmon, potato pancakes, traditional Jewish desserts like rugalech and babka, and even includes a glass of wine and coffee or tea.
Pretty good. Pretty, pretty, pretty good.
Go: 162 E 33rd St., New York; 1442 First Ave., New York; 2ndavedeli.com
If you missed our story earlier this year on one of the hottest foods taking over NYC, now’s your chance to get in a bite before the close of 2017.
Mr Bing, a kiosk and catering company that sells jianbing—savory-style crepes that are a breakfast staple in Northern China — is located by the entrance of Urbanspace Vanderbilt food hall in midtown Manhattan and it is as bustling as ever. Made from a combination of mung bean and rice flour crepes filled with scrambled eggs, sesame seeds, herbs, wontons and crispy chili paste, jianbing are uniquely addictive. The soft, crunchy, spicy-sweet flavors provide ample fuel for holiday wanderings throughout the city, but are just as tasty as a grab ‘n’ go option for riding back home on the train.
Go: 230 Park Ave. at 45th St., Manhattan 646-678-8879; mr-bing.com
My favorite New York City holiday tradition: After a day of holiday shopping or festive gatherings with friends, there are limited options for continuing the revelry with our toddler. But we can grab some superlative hot chocolate to go (City Bakery and Dominique Ansel Bakery are personal faves) and take in outrageous holiday light displays until he passes out. This year, the new Luminaries installation at Brookfield Place Winter Garden, featuring 650 LED lanterns, is calling our name. Brookfield Place, 230 Vesey St., New York; brookfieldplaceny.com — Joanna Prisco, @joannaprisco
This content was originally posted on lohud.com