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Sep 30, 2007 03:19 PM

Christmas in New York

I know it's kinda early, but as I'm all psyched up about booking our holiday to New York for the week between Christmas and New Year's, I thought I'd just go ahead and ask your advise on where to eat.
We're adventurous eaters, and will probably spend a lot of time walking around the city so no specific location is needed. The only thing is that we're unable to bring any really fancy clothes, so the top fancy restaurants will be impossible due to the dress code.
However, we plan to have a 'splurge' night if possible... DH is not too fond of seafood and allergic to shellfish, so a fish restaurant is a definite no-no. For the rest, we're willing to try everything.
We will arrive mid-morning on the 24th, so due to jet-lag we won't make it too late the first night. Probably just go to a steakhouse or something, maybe any of you have recommendations near our hotel? (just off Madison Square)
As for Christmas day we're still doubting between going somewhere nice or doing the 'true New York' thingie and have some Chinese...
Any and all recommendations for following days are welcomed as well!

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  1. Just off Madison Square PARK (23rd St and 5th avenue) or Madison Square GARDEN (Penn station, 34th st and 8th ave)?

    It's probably too early to start booking restaurants. Once Thanksgiving rolls around, you'll be able to see a lot of Christmas and New Year's lists on

    Most Manhattan restaurants nowadays are not "jacket required" so as long as you're able to bring something that looks smart (not necessarily super-formal) you should be OK.

    Other than "no seafood" you haven't really given us much to go on. What are you looking for besides steak and chinese? What are your favorite cuisines? What's the most you're willing to spend per person?

    1 Reply
    1. re: kathryn

      Wherever you decide to go, be sure to spend one evning at the Italian restaurant in West Village called Crispo.
      The delicatessen with the best of the best is Katz'.
      You'll get lots of other fine recommendations from this astute forum.
      Enjoy your trip in the Big A.

    2. If it's the park you're near, you might stroll to Rolf's on 3rd ave. & 22nd for some Schnitzel and their way over-the-top Christmas decor.

      1. Outside Penn Station (MSG) for steak:
        1. Frankie and Johnny's (37th between 5th & 6th)
        2. Tupelo Grill @ 1 Penn Plaza (33rd Between 7th and 8th).
        3. Keen's (36th between 5th & 6th)
        I would make reservations. You can always do that here:

        As far as TRADITIONAL Chinese is concerned, your best bet is China Town, but I cant reccomend anything there...

        As far as Chinese and traditional, I guess ou would have to go to China Town, but I cant reccomed. I hate going there! :)

        8 Replies
        1. re: kcijones001

          It's actually madison sqare PARK we're near to. Sorry I left that unclear.
          As far as favourite cuisines go, I'm of Italian heritage and my DH of Indonesian, so those two kitchens are greatly enjoyed by us. I've lived in the UK for a while where I learnt to enjoy Indian food. As Indian restaurants are few and far between in Holland, I'd like to show my dear a good Indian restaurant.
          Thanks for the tip on opentable, we'll wait until after thanksgiving and then take a look.

          As our price range... if we keep most days in the 'reasonable' category (total spend for the two of us about $60-70), we could allow a splurge of about $200-250 all-in. (alcohol not included as DH is epilleptic)
          All courtesy of the euro-to-dollar exchange rate ;-)

          And it's not really christmassy, but DH is an ice cream addict. Any place I should take him to as a surprise?

          1. re: Cara_NL

            An easy walk from your hotel-
            Italian- A Voce or Crispo as mentioned previously-

            Indian-Devi should be up and running by the time you visit-same chef's (now they own the place) or, for a more fusion/upscale style, Tabla-

            You will also be close to Eleven Madison.
            Most restaurants should be open on Christmas, but they may serve a fixed menu and charge more.

            As for eating well and keeping a budget, there are many fine restaurants that have a good deal at lunch-you can check out other posts on this board for that and all the restaurants mentioned above.

            Oh, and you'll be close to Madeleine-128 W23rd, for French baked goods (especially madeleines.)

            1. re: idia

              Thanks David and Idia for your advise. On average, is it necessary to make reservations for lunch or can one just walk in? Or does this differ from place to place?

              Prix-fixe for christmas is no problem, my only demand is for a little atmosphere and tasty food. (e.g. 5-star rating not needed) It's okay if it costs a few bucks more, but we'll reserve the 'big splurge' for another night.

              1. re: Cara_NL

                Depends on the spot, but if there's somewhere you really want to eat, I'd make a reservation-lunchtime is often just as busy as dinner. Many places are available at the last minute, but you may want to call before heading off for a place out of your way.

              2. re: David W

                Note that Eleven Madison Park and Tabla are in Danny Meyer's Union Square Hospitality Group, and all his restaurants are always closed on Christmas Day.

              3. re: Cara_NL

                An ice cream suggestion... If/when you're in Chinatown, check out the Chinatown Ice Cream Factory for fun flavors like ginger, lychee, and red bean. For me, very fond childhood memories....

                1. re: clee0601105

                  Is noted clee, thanks! Fun flavors are always appreciated. I'll be sure to take him there.

                  1. re: Cara_NL

                    Il Laboratorio di Gelato is the best, with way experimental, interesting flavors. In the Lower East Side, right next to the Tenement Museum.

            2. You're staying quite close to one of NYC's great Indian restaurant areas, so you should make sure to hit some of those spots if you've in need of good Indian food. I recommend Tiffin Wallah on 28th between Park and Lex. It's South Indian, so all vegetarian. If you want to eat meat, try Curry Leaf, on corner of Lex and 27th. Better yet, go to both, they're very different! Also stop in to Kalustyan's grocery/spice/deli shop just up the street from Curry Leaf (on Lex btw 28 and 29, I think). It's a wonderful place, and maybe you can get some nice presents to bring home to your Indian-starved friends. I like their spicy curried cashews. They're owned by the same people that run Curry Leaf.

              10 Replies
              1. re: foodforbrains

                Sounds goooood, nice Indian restaurants in the neighborhood. I'll surely check them out.
                We had plans to visit the tenement museum anyway, so getting some ice cream afterwards will be included in the plans.

                Could I also ask you for directions to a nice cookware-shop? or don't you 'do' those on the board?

                1. re: Cara_NL

                  Since I KNOW you'll want to take a stroll down in Central Park you need to go to Telepan. I, and a lot of others on this board, cannot recommend it enough. It quickly became one of my favorite places in the city. Casual clothes would work fine.

                  1. re: Cara_NL

                    My favorite is Bridge Kitchenware - sadly a smaller incarnation than the previous one, but lots of great stuff. There's also Broadway Panhandler, though I've not been to the new location, and the upstairs at Zabars. We also have Sur La Table, in Soho, and various outposts of William Sonoma.

                    1. re: MMRuth

                      imho, for cookware, upstairs at Zabars is fabulous for the great (LOW) prices. W-S and SLT are ubiquitous, and pricy... might as well get great value while you're at it.

                      1. re: ChefJune

                        I agree about W-S and SLT, but wasn't sure where the OP was coming to NY from - and they are fun to browse in.

                        1. re: MMRuth

                          We're coming over from europe, the Netherlands to be precise. So with the current status of the dollar, browsing stores should be nice ;-) However, we Dutch are known for liking a good deal....
                          One or two good places to visit would be nice, I don't think I can get the hubby to wait for hours and hours while I browse every possible store....

                          1. re: Cara_NL

                            Understand completely - and lucky you with the Euro. To my mind, Sur La Table (in Soho - so a good place to stop in if you are in that area) is a lovely feast for the eyes, as is the back of the Dean and Deluca store on Prince in Soho as well. Sur La Table, Williams and Sonoma and Dean and Deluca are all chains of sorts. Bridge Kitchenware is in mid-town and more of restaurant supply store, with incredibly knowledgeable staff and a great selection. Zabars is on the Upper West Side, known for its smoked fish, etc. and, as ChefJune wrote, great prices on kitchenware upstairs. So, in part, it depends on whether you really want to buy and bring home things, or just enjoy some kitchenware stores.

                            1. re: MMRuth

                              Agree wholeheartedly on the Zabars recommendation. Also, if you are interested, you could try a stroll through Chelsea Market -- there are a number of restaurants, food purveyors, and Bowery Kitchen Supply. I love Bowery Kitchen and for food stuffs, I love Ronnybrook Dairy Farm.

                              1. re: LNG212

                                oh my poor, poor hubby, he's going to end up browsing stores all day long with me! Thanks for all the info, I'll have plenty to do!

                                I was thinking of taking one of those food-tours through Greenwich Village, it got some good reviews. Is that worthwile, or should we just go and look for ourselves? I never really used to be a tour-kind of person, but we took one in Paris through Montmartre, and I really liked it... so now I'm in doubt.

                                1. re: Cara_NL

                                  I think you could do it yourself - I'll try to find a link to one of the tours where other posters and I figured out where the tour visited.

                                  Edit - this isn't the thread I'm thinking of, but is v. helpful:


                                  Actually - check out the posts that come up in this search:


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