Are you visiting NYC over Christmas? well, you’re in luck. Some of New York’s best restaurants are open on December 25. It’s a particularly festive and convivial time to plant yourself at a restaurant in New York where you can allow yourself to indulge a bit more than you might on the other 364 days of the year.
It’s no secret that we love NYC during the Christmas season. And to enhance your trip, even more, give yourself the gift of a great dining experience! Book yourself at one of these 12 great restaurants open in NYC on Christmas Day.
Birds of a Feather
Birds of a Feather is an outstanding restaurant for tongue-tingling Sichuan fare. And a meal here, on Christmas Day or any day that week, is a great way to put a positive stamp on the year. Dig into various forms of dim sum at this Williamsburg, Brooklyn eatery, including spicy and sour tofu pudding, scallion pancakes, pan-fried pork buns, and shrimp dumplings. Or tuck into a larger format dish like the ultra-spicy braised beef stew for two, whole fish in chili sauce, the spicy soft shell crab, or the beef soup noodles.
Located in a particularly atmospheric swath of the West Village, Cafe Cluny is an ideal neighborhood restaurant. The ambient, low-lit interior makes for a romantic dinner. Especially on Christmas. The food offerings here are French leaning and include salmon tartare, French onion soup, pan-roasted Atlantic cod, and steak fries.
This Korean barbecue spot happens to be one of the best of its kind in the city. Located in the Flatiron District, Cote cooks up high-quality meat right at your table. And it’s open on Christmas Day, which is a great way to celebrate: kimchi and expertly cooked beef, tableside. Raise a glass of soju to that!
Located in the northern swath of Times Square, Lagos TSQ at first just looks like a regular ol’ sports bar with a plethora of plus-sized plasma TV screens flashing football and basketball games. But then you have a look at the menu and see things like traditional African stews, jollof rice, and West African peppered snail and realize: you’re in a Nigerian restaurant. And a good one at that. If you’re not in the mood for West African fare, Lagos also has burgers, whole-roasted fish, and salads too. And it’s open on Christmas day, in case you want to add a dose of Africa to your holiday celebrations.
This corner restaurant in Chelsea is a fine French bistro, serving up Gallic classics like a croque monsieur, French onion soup, escargot, steak tartare, and foie gras. The restaurant also happens to be open on Christmas Day, in case you want to celebrate the holiday in a French manner. LouLou is also home to a basement speakeasy, so you can take your celebrations downstairs for a post-dinner cocktail or two.
If you like to marry oysters and fine cocktails with your holiday festivities, this is the spot. Maison Premiere is the premier place in Brooklyn for raw oysters. This Williamsburg bar and restaurant also puts a strong focus on its cocktail program with an emphasis on absinthe—the “green fairy.” Order an absinthe-laced sazerac, that famed New Orleans cocktail, and they’ll make it right at your table.
Harlem’s Red Rooster, one of the most vibrant restaurants in Manhattan, is always a fun place to dine, 365 days per year. Celebrity chef Marcus Samuelsson cooks up soul and Southern fare and it’s some of the best in New York. On Christmas day you can munch on extra-crispy fried chicken, sweet potato soup, crab cakes, shrimp and grits, and even steak fries. Expect there to be a live musical accompaniment.
Perhaps eschew the turkey or goose or baked ham this year and head to Spain. At least figuratively. Socarrat, which has locations in Midtown East, Chelsea, and Nolita, is an always-festive Spanish restaurant that has a focus on paella. Bring your best dining companions and then dig into a plus-sized pan of seafood paella along with a bottle or two of Rioja Reserva. It will be a delicious Christmas meal for the ages.
With locations in Midtown and near Union Square, Strip House is not a gentlemen’s club, but perhaps one of the most underrated steakhouses in New York City. And if you’re a carnivore yearning for one last end-of-the-year red meat feast, consider Strip House. It’s open on Christmas Day and chef Andreas Seidel will be cooking up the usual high-quality steaks at both locations.
Tavern on the Green
The legendary Central Park restaurant Tavern on the Green is offering a special menu on Christmas Day: a $135, four-course menu designed by executive chef Bill Peet. Expect hearty classics that befit the holiday and the season. Drinks, gratuity, and taxes are not included in the prix-fixe price.
Tucked away in the warren of the West Village’s crooked and zigzagging streets in one-Michelin-starred Wallsé is an Austrian restaurant helmed by celebrated chef Kurt Gutenbrunner. On Christmas Day, Chef Gutenbrunner will be serving up some Central European savory and sweet delights. On this day, the restaurant is offering a four-course, fixed-price menu for $160 exclusive of tax, tip, and gratuity. Wine pairing is available but extra.
With locations scattered around Manhattan, from Tribeca to Times Square, you don’t have to go far to settle into a comfy leather chair at Wolfgang’s. And if you’re hungry for steak—it’s Christmas. Why not?—then this is the place. Tuck into a medium-rare porterhouse for two (or however many people you’re dining with) and enjoy.
David Farley is a West Village-based food and travel writer whose work appears regularly in the New York Times, National Geographic, BBC, and Food & Wine, among other publications. He’s the author of three books, including “An Irreverent Curiosity: In Search of the Church’s Strangest Relic in Italy’s Oddest Town,” which was made into a documentary by the National Geographic Channel. You can find Farley’s online homes here and here.