Best Holiday Dining in NYC

October 18, 2017
by Zagat Staff

'Tis the season for family, food, and fun! Visit one of these beloved classic dining digs for a taste of the holidays before experiencing the Christmas Spectacular Starring the Radio City Rockettes™ presented by Chase. Save up to 20% on tickets when using the promo code ZAGAT.

Peter Luger Steak House
Steakhouse · Williamsburg · $$$$
Food 4.8 · Decor 3.7 · Service 4.1

“Still the one and only” , this circa-1887 Williamsburg “monument to meat” sets the bar with its “buttery” house-aged beef ( “they define porterhouse” ) served by “cantankerous” career waiters in a “busy” “old-time” German beer hall setting; the “rough-and-tumble” style “only adds to the charm” , but prices are “stiff” and they don’t take plastic, so come with “a lot of cash.”
Minetta Tavern
American · Greenwich Village · $$$
Food 4.4 · Decor 4.0 · Service 4.0

“Nostalgia trip” meets “trendiness” at Keith McNally’s “energetic” Village “standout” that revives a circa-1937 tavern with “vintage” knickknacks, “snappy” service and “excellent” French fare including a “mind-blowing” Black Label burger ( “holy cow!” ); the prospect of “famous” faces in the back room keeps it a “tough table” , despite digs “more crowded than the subway.”
21 Club
American · West 50s · $$$$
Food 4.3 · Decor 4.5 · Service 4.5

A “New York institution” and “class operation” , this circa-1929 former speakeasy in Midtown turns out “dependably good” traditional American dishes in an “old-school” , “dress-up” setting (jackets required, no jeans) with “spectacular” old toys hanging from the ceiling and “serene” private rooms upstairs; an “impeccable” staff furthers the “welcoming” vibes, though you may have to “liquidate some stocks to cover the bill.”
Old Town Bar
Bar · Flatiron · $$
Food - · Decor 3.5 · Service 3.5

It's "been here forever" (since 1892), so expect "no glitz or fanfare" at this "old-timey" Flatiron saloon, a "sanctuary for the pre-entitlement crowd" looking to "have a cold one" courtesy of "real bartenders -- not mixologists" ; while it's strictly "no-frills" , the "funky appeal" has fans pleading "don't change a thing.
European · Gramercy Park · $$$
Food 3.5 · Decor 4.3 · Service 3.5

Best experienced “around the holidays” , this circa-1968 Gramercy German “time warp” is a “sight to see” when the “lavish” Christmas decorations go up ( “bring your sunglasses” ); too bad the “run-of-the-mill” food makes a case for just a “drink at the bar.”
Keens Steakhouse
Steakhouse · West 30s · $$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.4 · Service 4.4

The “granddaddy of all NYC steakhouses” , this circa-1885 Midtown “temple to meat” remains “rock solid” , with “sinful” “Flintstones-size” mutton chops and other “succulent” slabs of beef in “masculine” “museum” -like surrounds with “lines upon lines” of antique pipes on the ceiling; it’s “not for the weak of wallet” , but “welcoming” service and an “endless” scotch selection are other reasons you “won't regret splurging.”
il Buco
Italian · NoHo · $$$
Food 4.5 · Decor 4.3 · Service 4.3

“Marvelous” “cucina rustica” pairs with a “well-crafted” wine list in “intimate farmhouse-inspired” surrounds that’ll “transport” you to a “Tuscan home” at this NoHo Med-Italian; if it gets “loud” , the downstairs wine cellar is a “beautiful” alternative, though it’s “not cheap” no matter where you sit.