The days when a suit and cocktail gown were de rigueur for dining out have long passed. But there’s nothing like the holidays to inspire dressing to the nines and embarking on an elegant evening out. With so many exciting restaurants to try in NYC, there’s still a quite a few destinations where a meal is truly a special occasion. In partnership with Brooks Brothers, we present six places worth dappering up for this December.
This previously dormant NYC icon was recently restored to all of its glitzy glory, complete with 65th-floor views and $22 Negronis. The restaurant underwent a complete facelift, which included a menu overhaul by British import chef Jonathan Wright. Jackets are required and well worth putting on for plates of beef Wellington and lobster pot pie with truffles, while a live orchestra channels old New York charm. Feeling noncommittal? You can also drop by for a drink any night of the week at the adjacent bar, Sixty-Five, in business-casual attire (no sneakers or hats), for that same gorgeous view and signature cocktails like the Gotham Mule (apple-infused Tito’s Vodka and ginger beer).
30 Rockefeller Center, 65th Floor, 212-632-5000
One of NYC’s most sought-after tables right now is this Flatiron spot, the first U.S. restaurant from top Mexican chef Enrique Olvera. While there’s no specific dress code here, the sleek interiors, well-heeled clientele and artistic takes on Mexican dishes like duck carnitas, chilaquiles and tataki al pastor naturally inspire your sharpest personal style. Or opt to see and be seen at the front bar area, which offers the same food menu as well as expertly stirred cocktails like the El Ninja, a complex mix of mezcal, gin, Cocchi Americano, housemade shiso shrub, ginger, lime and dehydrated pineapple.
35 E. 21st St.; 212-913-9659
The holiday season is the perfect time to visit the post-Hurricane Sandy reincarnation of this legendary eatery. Stunning views of the Brooklyn Bridge are intact, but a new, improved menu and renovated interior awaits you. Executive chef Brad Steelman serves up a New American menu that offers takes on classics like mushroom Wellington, corn and chanterelle ravioli and rabbit crepinette with ricotta dumplings. Or enjoy a six-course tasting menu for $145. While jackets are required after 5 PM, River Cafe goes slightly more casual at lunch and brunch. Drop by for an early evening cocktail and watch the winter sunset — a rite of passage for every New Yorker.
1 Water St., Brooklyn; 718-522-5200
Velvet drapes, jacquard upholstery, a stone fireplace and wood paneling give the NoMad restaurant inside its namesake hotel a mysterious, belle epoque allure. Chef Daniel Humm (also of Eleven Madison Park) is behind the decadent American menu featuring special-occasion-worthy items like the black-truffle-stuffed chicken for two and butter-poached lobster with black garlic, squash and cranberries. The extensive cocktail menu from award-winning bar director Leo Robitschek offers something for everyone whether dining at the table or at the adjacent NoMad Bar (the famed Library Bar is now for hotel guests only).
1170 Broadway; 347-472-5660
While there’s no official dress code here, you’ll feel out of place if you don’t dress up for these breathtaking 39th-floor views. This is the most glamorous Korean BBQ you’ve ever had. Cold and hot plates like traditional japchae (stir-fried glass noodles), grilled octopus and steamed mandoo dumplings set the stage for tableside barbecued duck breast, bulgogi, jumbo white shrimp and more.
1250 Broadway, Penthouse, 39th fl.; 212-971-9045
While the vibe is warm and relaxed, you’ll want to grab a suit and tie to feast in the dining room at Danny Meyer’s timeless Flatiron classic. Enjoy chef Michael Anthony’s seasonal tasting menu experience offering perfected American fare. Before dining, begin with one of the farm-to-table cocktails at the Tavern bar like the Russet City: El Dorado 12-year rum, Eve's cider, walnut, cinnamon.
42 E. 20th St.; 212-477-0777