Festive NYC eating places to take pleasure in the most effective Christmas decorations

Eating out through the holidays isn’t the sugar-plummy sleigh experience it was. Not solely  due to the pandemic, however as a result of so lots of the metropolis’s beloved venues for year-end celebration are gone. The Plaza Oak Room,  Bull & Bear and the ‘21’ Membership are among the many many we’ve misplaced. 

However the surviving selections are treasured. Most of our picks evoke Yuletide nostalgia: They’re older and all-on cozy with plenty of holly and poinsettias, plus heat lighting to carry again the crush of  the yr’s earliest sunsets. Such venues could be touristy, however they’re additionally much more atmospheric than newly minted eating areas, nonetheless elegant they is perhaps.

Be aware: The eating places right here is perhaps totally or partly closed for personal events this time of yr, so examine earlier than you go. 

Keens Steakhouse

No restaurant is extra inviting on darkish December days than Keens, which is widely known extra for its barely musky mutton chop ($65) than for its beef. Conventional starters, reminiscent of oysters Rockefeller ($24), and sides like creamed spinach ($15) spherical issues out.

The history-haunted rooms really feel prefer it’s 1885, the yr the restaurant opened. Wreaths and crimson poinsettias adorn darkish picket cubicles. White tablecloths soften the murmur of comfortable carnivores.

The second-floor Bull Moose Room — named for Teddy Roosevelt’s political celebration — unabashedly celebrates the twenty sixth president and his controversial legacy. A portrait of Roosevelt and an enormous moose head mounted on the wall preside serenely over the festivities. A pipe Roosevelt smoked is amongst 1000’s hung from the ceiling on the bottom flooring.

For added merriment, Keens is serving mulled wine till the tip of the yr, though it doesn’t seem on menus. Home-made eggnog shall be accessible subsequent week.

72 W. thirty sixth St.; 212-947-3636, reservations on Closed on Christmas Day.

Russian Tea Room

The Russian Tea Room is glowing with holiday cheer.
The Russian Tea Room is glowing with vacation cheer.

Kulebyaka — pastry-wrapped salmon.
Dishes reminiscent of Kulebyaka (pastry-wrapped salmon) are fairly hearty.

Patrons enjoying the food and decor a The Russian Tea Room.
Patrons benefit from the meals and decor on the Russian Tea Room.

The Russian Tea Room, 150 West 57th Street, Manhattan.
A brilliant crimson awning greets diners on the Russian Tea Room.

Day-after-day seems to be like Christmas on the previous hang-out of Rudolf Nureyev, due to gleaming crimson leather-based cubicles and deep inexperienced partitions that former proprietor Warner LeRoy put in in 1995. The czarist-era fantasy most actually comes into its personal through the holidays with a reasonably tree on the foot of the eating room and carols seeping from out-of-sight audio system. (There are giant upstairs celebration rooms however the floor flooring, which powerfully evokes the 1927 authentic, is the place to be.)

The varied menus — brunch, lunch, afternoon and dinner — boast in depth caviar, vodka and Champagne choices. Be warned: basic dishes reminiscent of beef stroganoff, rooster Kiev and pastry crust-wrapped salmon are fairly hearty.

There’s a particular, four-course menu on Christmas Day for $145 per individual. On New 12 months’s Eve, a four-course menu for $750 per individual consists of reside musical performances by Broadway stars and a bottle of Moët Champagne for 2 folks. 

150 W. 57th St.; 212-581-7100,

The River Cafe

The vacation spirit infuses each sq. foot, indoors and out, of Buzzy O’Keeffe’s  Michelin-starred jewel field on the Brooklyn waterfront. Gaily lit shrubbery exterior and a beautiful tree and picket toy troopers within the foyer set the tone. The eating room is a fairyland of flickering lights.

Should you take pleasure in dressing up for the vacations, River Cafe is for you. Males should put on swimsuit jackets and ladies comply with their sartorial cue. Decrease Manhattan glows extra seductively than ever by way of the home windows, due to tall new towers and the color-shifting Seaport Pier.

Longtime chef Brad Steelman’s three-course, $170 per individual American menu is greater than as much as the setting. The thinly sliced yellowtail appetizer, pan-roasted rack of lamb and venison loin that I had there lately rivaled any comparable dishes throughout the river. 

On Christmas Day, there shall be a particular three-course goose dinner for $195. 

1 Water St., Dumbo; 718-522-5200, reservations accessible by way of OpenTable at

L’Avenue at Saks Fifth Avenue

L'Avenue at Saks Fifth Avenue has a great view of the tree at Rockefeller Center.
L’Avenue at Saks Fifth Avenue has an amazing view of the tree at Rockefeller Middle.

The dining room at L'Avenue at Saks Fifth Avenue is often filled with shoppers.
The eating room at L’Avenue at Saks Fifth Avenue is commonly full of consumers.

Light-but-festive fare includes a Shrimp Dim Sum with Holiday Old Fashioned.
Gentle-but-festive fare features a shrimp dim sum and a vacation old school.

Nothing says “holidays” greater than consuming foie gras and wine in a division retailer eating room the place prospects cheerily tote their just-bought goodies. Your best option by far for such an expertise is the two-story L’Avenue at Saks.

The vaguely Deco, Philippe Starck-designed ninth-floor principal eating room has an attractive, curved bar. A round staircase leads all the way down to the extra rustic Le Chalet bar and lounge, which has an apres-ski temper.

Neither degree has a lot vacation decor, however each supply the most effective Christmas sight on this planet with out having to struggle crowds — the Rockefeller Middle Tree seen by way of the home windows. 

My favourite dishes are the expensive morel morel rigatoni ($34) and Tom Yam Chilean sea bass ($42), however there are many cheaper choices together with a $28 bacon cheeseburger with super-crisp fries.

8 E. fiftieth St.; 212-940-4099, FifthAvenue.NYC/lavenue-at-saks. Closed on Christmas Day.

Extra merry and brilliant

Listed here are a number of different basic spots for celebrating the vacations.

Tavern on the Green has the holiday spirit.
Tavern on the Inexperienced is full of vacation spirit.
  • The Leopard at des Artistes
    The Italian standout is festooned with superbly restored Howard Chandler Christy murals from the Nineteen Twenties. 1 W. 67th St.; 212-787-8767,
  • Gage & Tollner
    The Kings County landmark has reclaimed its long-lost glory with a glowing American menu. 372 Fulton St., Downtown Brooklyn; 347-689-3677,
  • Minetta Tavern
    Keith McNally’s fantastic steakhouse has wealthy leather-based cubicles and evokes Previous New York. 113 MacDougal St.; 212-475-3850,
  • Rolf’s German Restaurant
    Get pleasure from schnitzel and sauerbraten amid extra Christmas decor than anywhere wants. 281 Third Ave.; 212-477-4750,