For Film-loving Foodies, Here Are Four Restaurants to Visit This Season
If someone were to calculate the percentage of all Christmas films that are set in New York, it would surely be a significant proportion. There’s just something about the holiday season that tinges the city with even more energy, more excitement, and—with the snow, and the lights, and the sporadic boughs of holly—more beauty. For a self-guided Christmas film tour of the city, here are four places to live out those Christmas film fantasies and have a great meal, too.
For Fans of Good Remakes Go To Tavern on the Green (67th Street & Central Park West)
The 2004 remake of Alfie added a twist to the 1966 original version of the film. It took the notorious London playboy and placed him in New York instead, using the city’s most posh buildings as the backdrop to his high-class exploits, among the most romantic of which is Tavern on the Green, decked in Christmas lights, glowing with glamor beside Central Park. And now, after a $15.9 million makeover a couple years back, the 82-year-old restaurant is more handsome than ever, outfitted with leather, dark wood, and beamed ceilings, and a menu that sources from local producers for classic dishes like roast veal tenderloin, honey-glazed rack of lamb, stout-braised short ribs, and dry-aged steak au poivre. On winter nights when the snow drifts down to coat the park in white, there’s no place more romantic for a festive feast than here.
For Fans of Childhood Favorites Go To The Plaza Food Hall (1 West 59th St.)
The look of wonder on young Macaulay Culkin’s face when he wanders into The Plaza Hotel in Home Alone 2: Lost in New York is one that graces the visages of just about everyone who enters the city’s most storied hotel for the first time. And this doesn’t just mean booking one of its palatial (and royally priced) rooms. On cold days, the The Plaza Food Hall is just the place to stop into for a quick bite. City-favorite purveyors such as Luke’s Lobster, Épicurie Bouloud, Chi Dumplings and Noodles, and Ora di Pasta offer a range of fast, delicious fare, while other luxury food vendors like Kusmi Tea and La Maison du Chocolate easily lend themselves to a bit of holiday shopping as well.
For Fans of Romantic Comedies
Go To Serendipity 3 (225 East 60th St.)
Love at first sight, a magical connection, a stroke of fate—there’s hardly a rom-com cliché that Serendipity doesn’t cover. Yet still, who doesn’t melt at John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale’s immediate intimacy over those initial goblets of hot chocolate at the movie’s namesake café? That said, don’t leave a visit to Serendipity 3 to chance; tables here get booked up in advance, and not just by people on self-guided film tours of the city. The quality of the fare, which could be described as cross-cultural comfort food—fresh-made pasta, sandwiches, crepes, curried almondines, sautéed chicken livers—far surpasses that of a run-of-the-mill tourist trap. And, of course, its claim-to-fame desserts are heavenly, from the carrot cake (described on the menu as “celestial”) to a creamy humble pie to massive ice cream sundaes, including the Guinness World Record–setting $1,000 Golden Opulence Sundae, covered in 23-carat gold leaf.
For Fans of The Classics Go To Rowland’s Bar & Grill (151 West 34th St.)
Beginning with its holiday season kick-off Thanksgiving Day Parade, the flagship Macy’s in Herald Square is quite certainly the linchpin of winter festivities in NYC. Immortalized in the plot of Miracle on 34th St., Macy’s is where parents have been taking children for decades to sit on Santa’s lap and say their Christmas wishes, and its windows always boast one of the best department store displays in the city. After, when everyone is ready for a bite to eat after braving the long lines (and the cold), stop into Midtown: Rowland’s Bar & Grill, Macy’s in-store restaurant and one of the best gastropubs in Midtown. The menu is short and sweet with well-composed salads (one with pickled vegetables, red cress, and avocado in a tangy yogurt dressing); down-home dishes like fried green tomatoes, shrimp and grits, and matzo ball soup; and shockingly great burgers served on challah buns with thick-cut fries. Happy hour and a kids’ menu are sure to add some Christmas cheer for all ages.