Places to eat and drink while watching the Rockefeller Center tree lighting ceremony
Other than today’s temperature, the surest sign of winter coming to the big city is the lighting of the tree in Rockefeller Center, which will happen on Wednesday the 30th. Already in place, hordes of tourists and locals alike are already flocking to steal a glance or snap a photograph of the 94-foot tall Norway Spruce. Or perhaps they are staking out their place in line for one of the coveted spots inside somewhere they can watch the lighting of the country’s most famous Christmas Tree, all while eating, drinking and being merry. A handful of spots offer a direct view of the tree so if you too would like to bear witness to one of New York City’s most famous traditions, finding a way in to one of them should jump to the top of your Christmas list.
Front and Center
Rock Center Café
20 W. 50th St., 212-332-7620
The menu has something for everyone, including kids under nine, from shareable appetizer plates to burgers and pasta to a $50 prix-fixe dinner. It’s not cheap, but given the windows look out onto the famed ice rink and the Tree, you will likely expect the prices to have been higher. Plus, there is a divine dessert menu and extensive wine and cocktail list.
The Sea Grill
19 W. 49th St., 212-332-7610
Fresh seafood (you had me at scallop and lobster ravioli), sushi or surf & turf will somehow only serve as the complement to your magnificent view of the festivities from this restaurant embedded in the Center. Bring your wallet for sure, but given the marvelous food and view you’ll happily pay for location, location, location.
A Gentle Step Back
Morell Wine Bar & Café
1 Rockefeller Plaza, 212-262-7700
Extremely popular yet still a hidden gem, if you manage to spend a few hours here and see the Tree lighting, chances are it will be one of the most memorable times you’ve had in New York.
45 Rockefeller Plaza, 212-974-2020
Everything you could possibly want from a dining experience in New York, from exemplary food and service to feeling like you’ve stepped back in time, there is also an outdoor patio which will give you a direct view of the celebration.
Del Frisco’s Grille
50 Rockefeller Plaza, 212-767-0371
It may be tough to see the Tree from inside the restaurant so your best bet might be making a reservation for later. This way you can get away with waiting right outside where you will be able to see things clearly. As if you needed an excuse to devour one of their steaks.
45 Rockefeller Plaza, 212-858-9200
A superior seafood place so vast and opulent you may think you’re in the Mediterranean Sea, not just savoring some of the best it has to offer. This beloved fine dining Greek restaurant will surely satisfy.
1 Rockefeller Plaza, 212-782-3890
A traditional French bakery, sneak in here for some macaroons or whatever else strikes your fancy. And if the setting and evening give you all the winter feels, you can’t possibly go wrong with French pastries and a hot chocolate.