The 26 Best Restaurants in New York City for Celebrating Right Now

As New Yorkers embrace a city returning to normal, special occasions feel even more poignant and more necessary to celebrate with the local restaurants that got us through. Milestone anniversaries, birthdays, vaccinations, a successful week of remote learning, or simply making it to Friday: All are reasons to toast right now.

While the ways we celebrate may look different, New York’s restaurants have figured out how to infuse their energy and creativity into everything from well-designed sidewalk seating to luxurious takeout offerings to make special days feel even more festive.

Across boroughs and neighborhoods, these are the best picks around the city for a variety of occasions, with both indoor, outdoor, and takeout options for every restaurant to meet your comfort level.

OpenTable
Restaurants:Red Rooster Harlem, The Mermaid Inn Uptown, Sistina
Price Range:$$$ - $$$
Cuisines:Southern, Seafood, Italian
Neighborhoods:Harlem, Upper West Side, Upper East Side
Party Size
For 2
Date
Time
7:00 PM

Red Rooster Harlem

$$$$·Southern·
Harlem
8,195 reviews
  • Neighborhood Gem
  • Fit for Foodies
  • Great for Outdoor Dining

Red Rooster is James Beard Award winner Marcus Samuelsson’s love letter to Harlem, serving up thoughtful comfort food alongside a soundtrack of funk and soul music. The restaurant’s ties to community ...

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The Mermaid Inn Uptown

$$$$·Seafood·
Upper West Side
3,856 reviews
  • Neighborhood Gem
  • Great for Outdoor Dining
  • Fit for Foodies

Nothing says “today is not an ordinary day” like sitting down to a tower of fresh oysters, clams, shrimp cocktail, tuna crudo, and salmon tartare. The Mermaid Inn specializes in top-of-the-line seafoo...

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Seafood in New York / Tri-State Area

Sistina

$$$$·Italian·
Upper East Side
934 reviews
  • Special Occasion
  • Neighborhood Gem
  • Romantic

Located near Central Park and the Upper East Side’s Museum Mile, Sistina is the ideal stop on a cinematic Manhattan date itinerary. Located in a stately stone townhouse, you’re just as likely to see c...

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Avra Estiatorio on 48th

$$$$·Seafood·
Midtown East
5,002 reviews
  • Great for Outdoor Dining
  • Authentic
  • Fit for Foodies

Since traveling may not be in the cards this year, take some of the travel budget and be transported by some of the freshest Greek food in the city instead. With top-quality seafood flown in daily fro...

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Seafood in New York / Tri-State Area

Aquavit

$$$$·Nordic·
Midtown East
1,986 reviews

With three stars from the New York Times, two Michelin stars, and more than 30 years of service under its belt, Aquavit is one of the top dining rooms in the city and an ideal place to mark an excepti...

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Best Overall in New York / Tri-State Area
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Chef's Table at Brooklyn Fare

$$$$·French / Japanese·
Midtown West
57 reviews
  • Notable Wine List
  • Good for Anniversaries
  • Fit for Foodies

One of the most sought-after seats in Manhattan is at chef César Ramirez’s 44-seat restaurant, Chef’s Table at Brooklyn Fare. Two years after opening, Chef’s Table became the first restaurant in New Y...

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Notable Wine List in Manhattan
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Russian Tea Room - NYC

$$$$·Continental·
Midtown West
3,431 reviews
  • Special Occasion
  • Romantic
  • Quiet Conversation

To dine at the Russian Tea Room is to sit in booths that have hosted celebrities, musicians, and several film scenes. For over 80 years, it’s been the see-and-be-seen haunt for afternoon tea, pre-show...

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Continental in New York / Tri-State Area

Indian Accent

$$$$·Indian·
Midtown West
2,274 reviews
  • Special Occasion
  • Fit for Foodies
  • Creative Cuisine

Indian Accent’s chef Manish Mehrotra is one of Delhi’s most sought-after chefs, known for his imaginative takes on traditional Indian dishes that are served in a sleek, modern space. But unlike many f...

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Indian in New York / Tri-State Area
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Socarrat Paella Bar - Nolita

$$$$·Spanish·
NoLita
926 reviews
  • Tapas
  • Special Occasion
  • Creative Cuisine

Paella is the ultimate gathering dish, making it ideal for group celebrations. With over seven variations of the communal rice dish available, Socarrat has something to fit a range of preferences, fro...

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Kosaka

$$$$·Japanese·
West Village
325 reviews
  • Special Occasion
  • Authentic
  • Fit for Foodies

Through an unassuming door in the West Village lies one of the city’s few omakase menus for under $200. Chef Yoshihiko Kousaka’s attention to detail and meticulous sourcing of his ingredients was enou...

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Japanese in New York / Tri-State Area
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Buddakan NY

$$$$·Chinese·
Meatpacking District
14,179 reviews
  • Special Occasion
  • Good for Groups
  • Fit for Foodies

Buddakan cemented its status as a special occasion spot when Sex and the City staged Carrie Bradshaw’s rehearsal dinner in its dining room. While the dinner may have been fictional, the soaring ceilin...

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Chinese in New York / Tri-State Area

Lafayette

$$$$·French·
NoHo
2,884 reviews
  • Fit for Foodies
  • Good for Groups
  • Great for Outdoor Dining

When you want to pretend that you’re celebrating in Paris, head to Lafayette. Chef Andrew Carmellini is known for creating vibrant restaurants like sibling properties The Dutch and Bar Primi, and this...

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Temple Court on 10

$$$$·American·
Financial District
1,257 reviews
  • Romantic
  • Special Occasion
  • Good for Anniversaries

Located on a wisteria-covered indoor terrace in the Beekman Hotel, Temple Court on Ten provides diners with a fairytale setting to mark a special occasion. The three-course new American tasting menu f...

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Obao

$$$$·Thai·
Hell's Kitchen
2,495 reviews
  • Good for a Date
  • Casual
  • Good for Groups

Restaurateur and chef Michael Bao Huynh takes diners on a tour across Thailand, Vietnam, and South Korea with Obao’s diverse menu, which ranges from kimchi fries and Michelin-recommended pho bo to nor...

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Brooklyn Winery

$$$$·Winery·
Williamsburg
151 reviews
  • Neighborhood Gem
  • Good for a Date
  • Notable Wine List

There’s a reason the Brooklyn Winery is a go-to date night spot — visiting one of the city’s few top-to-bottom winemaking operations is more of an educational experience than a typical visit to a wine...

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Best Overall in Brooklyn
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Honey Badger

$$$$·American·
Prospect Lefferts Gardens
98 reviews
  • Fit for Foodies
  • Creative Cuisine
  • Local Ingredients

A self-proclaimed “wild-to-table” restaurant, Honey Badger is hard to categorize and can often feel like an experimental art gallery where the medium is food. The creativity of owners Junayd Juman and...

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River Cafe

$$$$·American·
DUMBO / Vinegar Hill
8,416 reviews
  • Special Occasion
  • Scenic View
  • Romantic

Before DUMBO was a gleaming hub of shops, scenic parkland, and rooftop bars, there was the River Café. Though it has made its home under the Brooklyn Bridge for more than 40 years, the Michelin-starre...

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Best Food in Brooklyn
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Amarachi

$$$$·African·
Downtown Brooklyn
132 reviews
  • Handcrafted Cocktails
  • Casual
  • Creative Cuisine

When planning to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge with visitors or friends, forgo the usual pizza stop at the end and capstone the day at Amarachi in Downtown Brooklyn. With Afro-Caribbean beats pumpin...

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Fit for Foodies in Brooklyn

Casa Ora

$$$$·Venezuelan·
Williamsburg
138 reviews
  • Fit for Foodies
  • Romantic
  • Casual

When you’re celebrating in East Williamsburg or the surrounding neighborhoods, turn to Casa Ora. This Venezuelan-American restaurant was started by alums of notable Manhattan establishments The NoMad ...

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Special Occasion in Brooklyn
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Teraza Restaurant Lounge

$$$$·Mediterranean·
Coney Island
45 reviews
  • Great for Outdoor Dining
  • Special Occasion
  • Great for Lunch

Old meets new at Teraza Restaurant Lounge, an ambitious modern space that sits on the Coney Island boardwalk overlooking New York’s iconic amusement park. After walking the boardwalk, pop in for inter...

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Scenic View in Brooklyn

R40

$$$$·Argentinean·
Long Island City
174 reviews
  • Fit for Foodies
  • Special Occasion
  • Good for a Date

At this inventive Argentinean restaurant, wood-fired char from the restaurant’s custom parilla grill is the common feature in many of the dishes. When celebrating here, head to the grilled section of ...

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Best Food in Queens

Ruta Oaxaca Mexican Cuisine

$$$$·Mexican·
Astoria
85 reviews
  • Neighborhood Gem
  • Special Occasion
  • Fit for Foodies

There’s a ton of good Mexican food to be found in Queens, but what makes Ruta Oaxaca unique is its focus on Oaxacan cuisine, a region widely regarded as the gastronomic capital of Mexico. The region i...

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Mexican in New York / Tri-State Area

Pastavino

$$$$·Italian·
Staten Island
75 reviews
  • Special Occasion
  • Good for Anniversaries
  • Fit for Foodies

With sweeping views of the New York harbor, fresh pasta made daily, and an Italian wine list with more than 100 bottles, Pastavino has all of the elements of an impressive special occasion restaurant...

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Best Overall in Staten Island

Hudson Garden Grill at the New York Botanical Garden

$$$$·Contemporary American·
Bronx
2,163 reviews
  • Great for Lunch
  • Great for Outdoor Dining
  • Scenic View

This contemporary farm-to-table restaurant is one of two dining options at the New York Botanical Gardens. The changing seasonal menu features locally sourced, ethically produced ingredients from Huds...

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Best Overall in Bronx
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VISTAMAR

$$$$·Latin American·
Bronx
207 reviews
  • Good for Birthdays
  • Great for Brunch
  • Good for Groups

This waterfront eatery serves seafood and Latin American-inspired dishes, such as mofongo, a Puerto Rican fried plantain dish that’s served with your choice of protein. The indoor dining area is ideal...

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Fit for Foodies in Bronx