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Nov 15, 2009 01:55 PM

Chinatown on Dec. 24/25

I am traveling with my wife and two young kids to NY for the holidays. We would like to dine in Chinatown on Christmas Eve or maybe dim sum on Christmas day.

Any suggestions? We are looking for both good food and good atmosphere -- doesn't matter whether it's a higher end place or a dump, as long as its good (I am assuming most places will be open over the holiday). My kids are happy with fried rice, so I'm not too worried about what they wil eat.


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  1. Define "good atmosphere"... most places in Chinatown have no atmosphere to speak of.

    Note that Chinatown will most likely be absolutely MOBBED on Christmas Day as the entire Jewish population of Manhattan looks for somewhere to eat down there. Dim sum/lunch time might be a little easier than dinner, though.

    Maybe try to reserve a Red Egg? The problem is that most places don't take reservations for dim sum and your little ones may not be able to stand a long wait, yes?

    Red Egg
    202 Centre St, New York, NY 10013

    8 Replies
    1. re: kathryn

      I understand your point about no atmosphere. I would make the same comment about Chicago's Chinatown that we frequently visit. But at least some of the dumpier places there have good old school Chinatown feel, if that makes any sense.

      Anyway, yes, it sounds like one of the biggest issues may be finding a place that takes reservations or will not be too packed (as my kids can't wait in line for that long).

      1. re: JJ.

        Perfectly understand -- just that a lot of people on this site use "atmosphere" to mean, new, shiny, hip, luxurious, elegant, etc.

        For Christmas Eve, maybe Amazing 66? They have certain dishes you have to reserve in advance for, which should guarantee you a table. Slightly more elegant/expensive would be Peking Duck House. They have very good Peking duck, but the other dishes are mediocre.

        For dim sum, I'd definitely try Red Egg if you're OK with something a bit more modern in look and feel. Chinatown Brasserie is also excellent but quite pricey; IIRC, they are changing the menu soon and only the downstairs rooms will have the dim sum menu. I'd call to make sure. You can reserve at either.

        Amazing 66
        66 Mott St, New York, NY 10013

        Chinatown Brasserie
        380 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10012

        Peking Duck House
        236 E 53rd St, New York, NY 10022

        Red Egg
        202 Centre St, New York, NY 10013

        1. re: kathryn

          I enjoyed Amazing 66 for my Christmas lunch last year. It was a bonus that they serve goose as I was able to re-create the trappings of a traditional Christmas with a Chinese twist.

          1. re: JungMann

            Glad to hear that someone was served the goose - it's on the menu but we have been told twice that it was not available after ordering it.

      2. re: kathryn

        Just another warning that it will be insanely crowded. I tried to go last year on xmas day with my husband and daughter, and we could hardly even walk on the sidewalks due to the crowds. We hit a few of our favorite restaurants, and they all had long waits. This was at lunchtime, when we thought we'd 'beat the rush'. If anyone recommends a place that takes reservations, definitely try that route.

        1. re: twiggles

          Duly noted, and thanks for the warning. Do you think x-mas eve might be the time to go, or maybe go for dim sum around 10 a.m. x-mas day?

          I am guessing it will be crowded whenever we go, and we will be sure to go any general shopping or walking around in that area on a different day altogether.

          1. re: JJ.

            Christmas Day is probably the busiest day of the year at Chinatown restaurants because (1) most Chinese workers get the day off, (2) Chinese food on Christmas Day is somewhat of a Jewish tradition and (3) a lot of non-Chinese restaurants are closed. 10 am might not be early enough. I would think Xmas Eve is at least marginally better (though obviously little dim sum is available), but even there I suspect there will be more than the normal amount of Chinese workers who will be off work.

            1. re: Chandavkl

              I'd agree that if you had to choose one of the two, xmas eve may be better. an early hour on xmas day may help as well.

      3. my family and i always end up at oriental garden on christmas day/eve. it's on elizabeth just south of canal. wait is never that bad and it's one of the more "upscale" restaurants in that area.

        1 Reply
        1. re: jon

          I would recommend Jing Fong as an option for Christmas Day, but you must get there early. Forget all the negatives about any places mentioned.....after all, it's the holiday and it's very busy. No matter where you go, you will find service and quality issues if you look hard enough. I like Oriental Garden myself, but it does not get much love or respect from many on this site. It's known for fresh sea foods and whole fish.....I also like their Dim Sum.