Okay, okay — I know what you’re thinking.
What kind of crazy person goes out to eat on Christmas?
For years, it was Christmas Eve dinner at the venerable, now shuttered 21 Club.
And then dinner on Christmas Day at Harry Cipriani at The Sherry-Netherland.
We all have our holiday traditions. This is mine.
With that in mind, I know I’m not alone.
We’re not all cooking on Christmas, are we?
Fair warning: this is not a list for the budget conscious.
It's a "let's go all out" and have a fabulous Christmas out on the town compilation of my favorite places to dine in New York around the holidays.
So, here goes...
1. THE POLO BAR, 1 East 55th St — Don’t laugh. I had Thanksgiving dinner at the Polo Bar. And I’m scheduled to go back on Christmas Eve. Not only is this one of my favorite restaurants in the world, but the Polo Bar is also exceptionally festive during the holidays. What’s better than the Polo Bar burger with hand-cut fries, even on Christmas?
2. DOUBLES CLUB, 783 Fifth Ave — Doubles is probably the most beautifully festive place to dine around the holidays — the decor is beyond. You must be a member to book — so if you live in New York, check your iPhone contact list — or join yourself — and try to go before the end of the year.
3. HARRY CIPRIANI AT THE SHERRY-NETHERLAND, 781 Fifth Ave — Just upstairs from Doubles, in the same building, is Harry Cipriani, which just re-opened a few weeks ago after a long COVID closure. The food is always first rate and the people watching is next level. There’s usually a prix fixe holiday menu on Christmas. You can also order from the regular menu, which is what my mom typically does — her pick is the spaghetti Bolognese.
4. CASA CIPRIANI, 10 South St — Don’t kill me, this is another private club — but I know some of my subscriber friends are members. Casa Cipriani is one of the toughest tables in New York right now. On Christmas Day, they’re pulling out all the stops — “handmade tortellini, bollito misto, an Italian Feast of wonderful meats gently simmered for hours and our original fragrant Cipriani Panettone.” Sounds good to me.
5. BALTHAZAR, 80 Spring St — Open on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. On Christmas Day, there’s a decadent $72/pp option that includes roasted prime rib, winter vegetables, Yukon Gold mashed potatoes and black truffles. You can always diet on January 1st.
6. MAJORELLE, 28 East 63rd St — Marjorelle is one of the most elegant restaurants in New York. The fresh flowers are gorgeous, and the food is amazing. The restaurant will be open this year on Christmas Eve (not Christmas Day) with a $210/pp, 3-course holiday menu.
7. TAVERN ON THE GREEN, West 67th St — I know, Tavern on the Green is a tourist trap. But on the plus side, it’s in the middle of Central Park, the decor is spectacular, and being there just puts you in the holiday spirit. A great place to take the kids. Open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, all day — $135/pp.
8. DANIEL, 60 East 65th St — Last month, Les Grandes Tables du Monde named Daniel Boulud best restaurateur in the world. You heard that right. His signature restaurant, Daniel, was one of my dad’s favorites. Open on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The holiday menu is epic (so is the price) — 5 courses for $425/pp.
9. LE CROCODILE, 80 Wythe Ave — My friend, Jon Neidich, owns Le Crocodile at the Wythe Hotel in Brooklyn and let me just say — all of Jon’s spots are first rate. But don't trust me, listen to The New York Times, which awarded Le Crocodile a rare 3-star review. Open on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with a holiday prix menu for $145/pp. You can also order from the regular à la carte menu or get the Christmas Ham with Maple Glaze and Potato Gratin for $55.
10. MR. CHOW, 324 East 57th St — My Jewish friends always joke that it’s Chinese food and a movie on Christmas, so I just had to include Mr. Chow on this list. Because if you’re going out for Chinese food on Christmas Eve (it's closed on Christmas Day), you might as well get the Peking duck at Mr. Chow. Arguably, my favorite dish on the planet.