Where to Dine on Christmas Day in NYC
‘Twas the days before Christmas, and all through New York
We ran around town like crazy, finishing work;
There were projects to wrap up and emails to read,
and just-looped-in co-workers to bring up to speed;
There were presents to buy for our mothers-in-law,
And dirty kitchens to clean so nobody saw
The way that we live, by the seat of our pants;
Since Christmas in the city’s a delicate dance
Of closing out Q4 and cancelling plans,
And of trying to meet endless work/life demands;
So if you’re overwhelmed and can’t cook dinner, too,
Make a rezzie for Christmas! They’ll bring food to you!
Whether you’re celebrating the birth of Christ (or just celebrating a day off of work) we’ve rounded up 15 of our favorite restaurants open on Christmas. 2019 was a hard one -- go ahead and give yourself the gift of not cooking this year.
Order a traditional Feast of the Seven Fishes menu with (count ‘em up!) smoked salmon toast, lobster crostini with caviar, cod croquettes, roasted shrimp chorizo sausage, scallops, Hollander mussels, and a whole roasted branzino. If you can’t handle that much seafood, you can order the entire menu à la carte -- and almost everything can be made gluten free, for those who can’t look at one more Christmas cookie or piece of fruitcake this holiday season.
Cost: Prix fixe is $95 per person, or order à la carte; reserve online
Give a nod to the traditional Christmas day meal of so many New Yorkers -- good old Chinese takeout. Chinese Tuxedo, housed in an old opera house in Chinatown, is offering a Christmas Banquet featuring five spice chicken dumplings with peanut sauce, Singaporean chow mein noodles, spicy Chong Qing chicken, and more. If you’re gonna need another drink before heading home, just step downstairs to Peachy’s, where they’ll be mixing up cocktails from 6pm until the morning.
Cost: $58 per person; reserve online
At brunch time, Boulton & Watt is serving their “hangover sandwiches” -- made with two fried eggs, cheddar, avocado, bacon, and fries -- for those who went a little too hard on Christmas Eve. Have some hair of the dog with a Bloody Mary, or just lay around your bed until dinnertime. They’ll be serving their full dinner menu, too, if you just want to grab some fish and chips or mahi mahi tacos for a chilled-out Christmas dinner.
Cost: Prices à la carte; call 646-490-6004 to reserve
On a cold Christmas night, let a couple of wood-burning ovens give you that cozy “chestnuts roasting on an open fire” feeling. Along with their regular menu of wood-fired pizzas and (you can’t make this stuff up) a 10-ounce dry-aged Kansas City strip steak made with patented technology, Woodpecker is offering holiday specials like roasted oysters, hay smoked lamb chops, steak tartare, mushroom risotto, and a seasonal eggnog panna cotta for dessert.
Cost: Prix fixe is $65 per person ($35 for children), or order the regular menu à la carte; reserve online
For a non-traditional Thai take on the Feast of the Seven Fishes, order seven seafood dishes -- you can choose from spicy coconut crab curry, stir fried manila clams, a whole steamed striped bass, baked crab with glass noodles, and more. If you simply can’t decide, order the chef’s selection menu, which, in the spirit of Christmas, is meant to be shared. It’s selection $105 for 2 people and includes fan favorites like Bangkok-style fried fish and chicken wings with mint, chili, and lime.
Cost: Prices à la carte; reserve online
This new Korean restaurant is all about the skewers -- and on Christmas, they’ll be serving up a nine-course tasting menu of delicious stuff on sticks. With menu items inspired by the celebratory food of the Korean royal court, the menu includes crispy truffle asparagus, abalone and anchovy espuma, lobster with gochujang beurre blanc, and tuna bibimbap. The city’s sidewalks should be pretty empty on Christmas day, so it’s the perfect time to schlep all the way over to 10th Avenue.
Cost: $150 per person; reserve online
This scene-y seafood spot is offering a few Christmas specials along with its regular seafood forward menu. Pumpkin salad, herb-crusted leg of lamb, and potato dauphinoise (don’t worry, that’s just a fancy French way of saying cheesy potatoes) are on offer, or you can choose from the usual sushi, sashimi, and wild-caught fish. For dessert, there’s a special “Christmas Poptart,” which just goes to show that the toaster pastry is as celebratory as a Yule log.
Cost: Prices à la carte; email email@example.com to reserve
To take your Christmas dinner over the top, this modern kaiseki spot (in Japan, kaiseki-ryōri is a traditional multi-course meal that dates back at least 600 years) is hosting a 12-course tasting menu for the holidays. For an additional $125, you can add a sake and wine pairing with each course. There’s only one seating for the Christmas meal -- at 7 o’clock -- so book now or wait until 2020 to try kaiseki.
Cost: $195 per person, with an additional $125 sake and wine pairing option; reserve online
The NoMad’s Christmas menu features indulgences like veal cheek, grilled dorado with clams and meyer lemons, and chicken with foie gras and black truffle. If you’ve been saving up all year -- and want to blow it all before 2020 -- add the white truffles, which are shaved over tagliatelle. An extra $70 gets you 4 grams of truffles (or, as they call it, a “reasonable portion”); $140 gets you 8 grams (a ridiculous portion). It’s the perfect holiday gift to you, from you.
Cost: $155 per person; reserve online
If you can’t bear to cook Christmas brunch by yourself, Bubby’s has your back. Order the “Pancake Flight” ($25), which lets you pile up three pancakes with caramelized banana, toasted walnuts, Nutella, berries, and whipped cream, or a classic breakfast with bacon, eggs, and homefries. When you’ve spent all morning unwrapping gifts (and then cleaning up after unwrapping gifts) it’s worth the 2,000% markup on an egg to get someone else to fry it for you.
Cost: Prices à la carte; reserve online or join the waitlist day of
One of NYC’s best new openings of 2019, Wayan is getting extra festive for the holiday. Order the “Holiday Tumpeng” -- an Indonesian family-style dish with yellow rice and heaps of sides like roast chicken, beef short rib, and lamb satay -- for a traditional meal that celebrates togetherness. The full menu will be available, too, with French-inflected Indonesian foods like Javanese oxtail soup, Wagyu strip loin, and clams with coconut and kaffir. For dessert, there’ll be the Frenchiest of all holiday desserts: the Bûche de Noël.
Cost: Prices à la carte; reserve online
When you can’t bear to look at another piece of fish, head to a restaurant that’s all about the birds. This French bistro serves heritage breed whole fowls, and poultry finds its way into almost everything on the menu. Their prix fixe menu eschews the “seven fishes” for the “seven swans a-swimming,” offering up courses including quail eggs and duck leg porchetta. For dessert, there’s a Baked Alaska reimagined with strawberry, pistachio, and spiced speculoos biscuits.
Cost: $110 per person; reserve online
Sip on Christmas-inspired cocktails like the “Christmas Holly” with cranberry jam, house-made eggnog with bourbon and nutmeg, and a hot toddy with spiced cider and Calvados as you make your way through this French-American three-course meal. After you’re full of oysters, foie gras, and lobsters, you can top if all off with a Christmas sundae (ginger spice, vanilla, ice cream, hot fudge, caramel sauce, and whipped cream) before waddling home like Santa Claus himself.
Cost: $125 per person; reserve online
You think Meghan Markle is cooking her own Christmas dinner? No freakin’ way. Eat like the Windsors at this British brasserie, where you can chow down on pheasant with smoked chestnuts and lobster ravioli with lemongrass velouté -- just like Kate Middleton, I’m sure. Sip a sherry from their Sherry Trolley, lick sticky toffee pudding off your fingers, and pretend that you’re not a commoner who has to take her own clothes to the laundromat tomorrow.
Cost: $125 per person; reserve online
If when you say “Christmas dinner” you really mean “Christmas drinks,” skip the fuss and head to a wine bar. Aldo Sohm is offering a three-course prix fixe with mâche salad, braised beef cheek goulash, and a chestnut tart with armagnac sabayon -- but let’s be honest, you just want to hear about the wine. The optional “discovery pairing” is an additional $25, and the “classic pairing” is $35. After the meal, order a few glasses of mulled wine and feel the Christmas spirit warm your heart.
Cost: $40 per person; optional wine pairings are an additional $25 or $35. Reserve online.
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