After a gloriously delayed start, winter is upon us. We know it’s hard, but in these times it’s imperative to resist the urge to hole up in your apartment for the next two months finally watching The Wire. In fact, winter is the best excuse for going out to eat. For one, you’re not going to be anywhere near a swimsuit for months. And second, there are very few other activities (besides binge drinking) you can even enjoy when it’s sub-freezing outside.
Lucky for you, there are lots of NYC restaurants that are best enjoyed in the colder months. From restaurants that feel like cabins upstate, to the best spots to get down with a bowl of noodles - here are some of our favorite cozy restaurants in NYC.
Now put on your fourteen layers, get out there, and eat.
It’s mid-January. Which means if you’re not well on your way to a glorious pasta layer, you’re doing winter wrong. Get to it at Supper, where you’ll be warmed up with a big bowl of spaghetti while the huge oven at the center of the restaurant blazes. Central heating would have worked just fine, but this is way better.
So you blew it and didn’t book an AirBnB upstate for a winter getaway in time, and now all the best exposed-beam ceilinged, taxidermy-covered cabins are booked. Your next best option? A trip to Freeman’s.
Know what’s scientifically proven to fight freezing temperatures? Steak. Lots and lots of steak. We feel confident in saying that St. Asnelm’s butcher steak is the best piece of meat you can get below $20 in all of New York. The only un-cozy thing about St. Anselm is its wait. Be sure to get here early, and if not, come prepared with a bar plan for the inevitable wait.
Here’s the thing: only soulless people actually want to eat a raw kale salad when it’s 18 degrees outside. What you do want to eat when it’s 18 degrees outside is the kind of comfort food you’ll find at Post Office (chicken liver bacon sandwich, anyone?). The Civil War era vibes don’t hurt, either.
You may think there isn’t a cozier place to consume pizza than on your couch, but you are wrong. Paulie Gee’s is the idea location for holing up with an entire pizza to yourself on a cold, wintry night. The space reads somewhere between a pizza cave and a pizza shrine - it’s dark, wood-paneled, and lit up mostly by candlelight - with a huge wood oven at the back. Still not cozy enough for you? A conversation with Paulie himself (he’s there every night) should do it for you.
It takes something truly great to resist the urge to get Seamless on a freezing cold night. One restaurant we’d be more than happy to trek to in a blizzard is Al Di La. It’s not just the truly great Northern Italian food (just look at that plate of pasta) - it’s also the fact that the space is so welcoming you feel like you’re at home.
Let’s acknowledge that after the holidays are over, there really is no point to winter. It’s f*cking cold, there’s dirty snow everywhere, and everyone you follow on Instagram who lives in LA gets 1,000 times more irritating. Fortunately, there are a few special restaurants capable of making us (almost) grateful for winter. Delaware & Hudson is one of them - the hearty food feels like it was made to be consumed on a cold night, and the autumnal vibes will help get you back in the seasonal spirit.
One good thing about winter? It’s ramen season. Not like we don’t eat it in the summer, but there’s something so comforting (and delicious) about a big, hot, spicy bowl of noodles on a cold day. And Chuko is one of our all-time favorite places to get a good wintry ramen fix.
“Asian fusion” restaurants usually make you think of Vegas and/or suburbia and plastic surgery. But Tuome isn’t like other Asian-fusion restaurants, and it definitely isn’t anything like Vegas or suburbia. This is a brick-walled, charming little spot serving the kind of upscale, modern Asian-inspired food you’ll be happy to cuddle up with - like pork belly, chicken liver, and spicy noodles.
Frankies 457 basically put Brooklyn on the map in terms of cool, casual - and yes, cozy - restaurants. Many years later, this place is still just as popular for its simple and excellent Italian food and warm, welcoming vibes.
The struggle to find something to do during the day in the winter (that doesn’t involve drinking) is real. Here’s an idea: come to Jones Wood Foundry, settle in with some British bar food, and catch a soccer game. We won’t tell anyone if you order a beer.
If you’re of the mind that nothing is better than a home-cooked meal, a trip to Mountain Bird needs to be on your agenda this winter. It’s run by an endearing husband-and-wife duo who will easily convince you to consume parts of a chicken you never would have considered. This is basically like dining in your grandparents’ living room - except instead of grandma’s questionable casserole you’ll eat a glorious cassoulet.
Bubbly stews, crispy fish, spicy pork, noodle soups, and dumplings. If that doesn’t appeal to you in this weather, you might not be a human. Or maybe you just don’t like a bubbly stew. Either way, take our word that Her Name Is Han should be your next new restaurant outing.