NYC Restaurants Where You Can Linger For HoursTry one of these spots the next time you want to catch up with friends over an extra-long dinner.
There are a ton of restaurants in the city where the servers are already thinking about bringing your check as soon as you sit down. But what if you want to keep a date going after you find out you're both captains of a Quiddich league? You don't want to deal with staff giving you the side-eye because they need your table. You'll need a place that keeps things open-ended. These are spots where you can order multiple rounds of food and drinks for however long it takes to hear about what your friend has been up to for the last 13 years.
There’s a rare kind of restaurant you stumble upon in New York, the kind of place where you want to bring all your friends so you can eat great food and hang out for hours because it feels like your own private club. Plaza Ortega, a Mexican restaurant slash bodega slash ice cream shop in Bushwick, checks all of those boxes and then some. Their birria is great, but so is their al pastor and carne asada. Heck, the fish tacos are some of the best we’ve had in New York. You can buy beer in the grocery store part of this place and take it to the back to drink with your meal, making this an ideal spot for a long catch-up with friends.
This seafood restaurant with a Southeast Asian menu is one of the great sit-down spots that are sprinkled in among the typical food court-style vendors at The Market Line on the LES. For a long hang, come here early for Happy Hour (4-7pm) when you can get things like cumin lamb skewers and a gin/shochu martini for $10 each. The dining room never feels dead, but it also doesn’t get annoyingly packed, so it’s fine to sample their many small plates (deep-fried baby octopus in spicy lemongrass curry, for example) over a period of several hours. You can always move your get-together to one of the many other surrounding places if the mood for something else strikes.
The service at this Lebanese spot in Bay Ridge is nice and relaxed, and no one will ever make you feel like you’ve overstayed your welcome. If you’ve never been here, start with the Lebanese Garden, which will give you a taste of several classic mezzes like hummus, tabouleh, and grape leaves. They have three types of raw kibbeh as well as a few baked and fried options. Order the kibbeh nayeh, a pile of raw minced beef mixed with bulgar and herbs. If you get full but aren’t ready to leave, request a bottle of wine and a hookah, which will give you an excuse to lounge for another hour or two.
Citrico Cafe is the type of restaurant you’ll love if you feel too old for the club. It’s not a party restaurant, exactly, but there’s a bright bar in the center that sets the tone, and everyone’s always having a good time. Focus on the tacos, and slowly sample the nine varieties as Happy Hour turns into a lengthy Tuesday night out. The filet mignon tacos consist of tender slices of beef in toasted handmade flour tortillas, and the al pastor comes with a buttery slab of char siu pork belly in a blue corn tortilla. You’ll see groups pregaming with cocktails or ordering margaritas until 1am in their outdoor area, so go ahead and join them if the weather’s nice.
Choose Hawksmoor when you’re in the mood to eat rich British food somewhere that isn’t a Disneyland recreation of an English pub with soggy fish and chips. This steakhouse in Flatiron is an institution in London, and the cuts of beef are unique in that they’re grilled over charcoal. They do their best work with the filet mignon, and the rump steak is another reliable option if you don't want to spend too much. The staff here seems thoroughly unconcerned about how long you stay, so consider the end of your savory courses halftime for your meal. All of the desserts are very good, so you’ll want to get a few of those—especially the signature sticky toffee pudding.
This place in Hamilton Heights calls itself a cocktail bar, but it feels more like a restaurant (mainly due to its massive space and extensive food menu). That being said, there are a bunch of $15 house cocktails like the pink Shy & Humble that’s made with gin and pear brandy and comes in a glass that makes you look like you’re drinking out of a bird’s ass. For food, stick to the fried dishes—the breaded and deep-fried deviled eggs are a must-order. If you’re not ready to leave when you’re done eating, there’s a pool table in the back, and you won’t hit a wall with your stick every time you take a shot. (Because, again, this place is huge.)
The Double Windsor is everything you want in a neighborhood gastropub. It has a casual feel, a rotating draft list, and better-than-you-expect-it-to-be food like burgers, wings, and mac and cheese. This is the kind of spot where you can get a pint and a salad knowing that both will be good every time—and sometimes that’s all you need. The seating is communal, and you have to order food from a window. No one’s really keeping track of what you’re doing, so you could stay for a whole afternoon without anyone really noticing.
Walking into Gunbae is like stopping by an all-night house party where you don’t know anyone, but feel instantly at-ease. This is a great place to come with a big group, but it’s just as good for a third date when you want to assess how much Korean BBQ your potential partner can consume in a single sitting. We usually opt for the Han-Sang combo—which serves up to four and comes with four different meats plus sundubu jjigae, fried dumplings, and banchan—then supplement that with an order or two of spicy yang-nyum kalbi. Skip the cocktails and drink your way through their extensive soju list, then head downstairs for karaoke.
Hill Country works for just about any situation, including one when you’re looking to eat dry-rubbed, slow-smoked meat off of butcher paper for a few hours. The upstairs at this massive spot in Flatiron has outdoor, bar, and communal seating, all with a direct view of at least one TV playing sports. There’s also an equally large downstairs with a stage for live music. You order food like moist brisket, peppery ribs, and spicy sausage at a counter, so you don’t have to worry about a server constantly checking in on you.
Out of all of the spots on the stretch of Vanderbilt Avenue just north of Prospect Park, LaLou has the best wine program. The long wine list at this narrow, white-walled spot is mostly made up of natural wines, with a big selection of familiar varietals from famous regions in France and Italy, as well as some lesser-known options. Come for dinner and ask the very friendly staff to help you choose a bottle. (Most are in the $50-$90 range.) Food here includes small plates like marinated anchovies as well as larger items like a roast chicken. If it’s one of those perfect days, grab a seat on their patio where you can leisurely make your way through a few bottles of chenin blanc or cinsault.
Chino Grande is a spot in Williamsburg with great cocktails and maximalist food that’s difficult to classify. You’ll find interesting dishes like lobster with Szechuan au poivre sauce and scallop ceviche with green strawberries. Come here for dinner to catch up with some friends, and have a few of their tequila highballs with celery and absinthe to build up some liquid courage. Why? Because once 10pm rolls around, karaoke starts, which you’ll have to do in front of the whole room. If you’re into that, expect to tack on at least a few more hours to your night.
The original P.J. Clarke’s has been serving great burgers in Midtown East since 1884, but the only views you’ll get at that location are of people running to catch trains out of Grand Central. This Battery Park City outpost has a ton of tables set up outside under a long line of trees. Once you’ve claimed the spot that you’ll occupy for the whole afternoon, you’ll get to look out on a marina filled with yachts that you’ll never be able to afford. Order the Cadillac cheeseburger with double smoked bacon along with some classic cocktails. Then order another burger a couple hours later.
If you’re looking for the kind of meal that will make you wax poetic for weeks after it’s over, Nargis is a great option. Take advantage of the large, covered outdoor seating area that’s pleasant to eat in, even during a downpour. Portions are large, so come with friends and order accordingly. Start your Uzbek feast with a pitcher of homemade kompot and follow that up with one of their many salads and a few orders of non and pumpkin manti. No one who’s serving you is in a hurry, so you shouldn’t be either. Since you’ll be here a while, get a whole fish (cooked over a charcoal grill) or the mixed grill platter, which comes with enough food to feed three or four people.