5 NYC restaurants decked out to celebrate the holidays

Garlands and twinklight lights make up the holiday decor at La Grande Boucherie, a brasserie in Midtown West.
Christmas decor, featuring green garlands and twinkling lights at La Grande Boucherie, a brasserie in Midtown West.

Welcome to your monthly guide to the must-know food-world news in New York City right now. Discover the latest industry trends, the hottest restaurants to try, and more. Dine on.

Sparkles, wreaths, and celebrations fill New York City’s restaurants each December—but some rise above the rest. These spots are known for party-friendly plates and cocktails, but they truly stand out for their decadent, deck-the-halls vibes.

For an extra-festive time, head to Serra by Birreria at Eataly. The enclosed rooftop, known for sophisticated Italian plates, house-brewed ales, and seasonally rotating decor, morphs into an exquisite winter wonderland, adorned with Italian accents.

Ophelia, an Art Deco-inspired lounge on the 28th floor of the Beekman Hotel, channels a snowglobe in the sky, dressed with hanging crystals and sheepskin throws. Seasonal cocktails include the polaris express, made with rum, coconut liqueur, cinnamon, house-made horchata, and vanilla.

Hanging crystals adorn Ophelia, inside the Beekman Hotel. | Credit: Ophelia

Further uptown, La Grande Boucherie illuminates its cavernous, indoor-outdoor space with traditional French decor, twinkly lights, and garlands.

An illuminated tree outside Tavern on the Green. | Credit: Tavern on the Green

In Central Park, Tavern on the Green offers a cozy and elegant respite from the cold, with a crackling fireplace and roasted figs on the menu.

And no NYC festive restaurant tour is complete without a stop at Rolf’s, the city’s unofficial Christmas capital. The cozy German restaurant and bar (with a seasonal menu that features a roast suckling pig), is an enchanting yuletide oasis, thanks to floor-to-ceiling lights, Teutonic dolls, and ornaments for days.

Here’s some other food news you don’t want to miss this month:

  • Quality Eats will host an adults-only Shabbat dinner series, plus a month-long Festivus celebration, Seinfeld-style, this December. The former, slated to take place on Friday evenings, includes performances by artist Dani Luv (of Sammy’s Roumanian fame).
  • The Flyfish Club (FFC), New York City’s very first NFT restaurant poised for an early 2023 opening, now offers membership to its sushi club, buyable on the blockchain.
  • NYC’s approximately 60,000 app-based food delivery workers, who currently make $7.09 per hour (excluding tips), could get a raise of up to $23.82 per hour by 2025, courtesy of a brand-new proposal.
  • Foodies are flocking to the theater for The Menu, a satirical spin on the fine-dining world. The thriller, starring Ralph Fiennes, Anya Taylor-Joy, and Nicholas Hoult, traces a couple’s harrowing experience at a high-end restaurant on a remote island; acclaimed chef Dominique Crenn served as a technical consultant for the film.
  • Meet the city’s newest four-star restaurant: Critic Pete Wells recently awarded the New York Times’s highest culinary honor to Yoshino, a 10-seat sushi counter on the Bowery.

Before you go, these are the new NYC restaurants to check out this month:

  • Traditional Burmese dishes at Rangoon, which recently expanded from Brooklyn to Chelsea. Book now 
  • Seafood-centric plates, inspired by acclaimed chef Marcus Samuelsson’s Ethiopian and Swedish roots, at his newest restaurant, Hav and Mar
  • Scandinavian cafe fare—with a side of hygge—at Björk Cafe & Bistro. Book now
  • Cosmopolitan small plates and a knockout burger, conceived by an Eleven Madison Park alum, at Sojourn Social. Book now 
  • Mezcal-forward drinks and Empire State Building views at Bar Cima. Book now 

Melissa Kravitz Hoeffner is a writer based in Brooklyn, where she lives with her wife and rescue dog. You can follow her on Instagram @melissabethk and Twitter @melissabethk

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