Restaurants That Are Extremely Close To Subway Stops For When It’s Too Cold To Walk Outside guide image

photo credit: David A. Lee


Restaurants That Are Extremely Close To Subway Stops For When It’s Too Cold To Walk Outside

How to keep from freezing this winter.

Much like a meeting with your accountant or a PSA featuring Sarah McLachlan, an NYC winter is a very serious thing. This city gets so cold, in fact, that sometimes the best restaurant is the one that’s the easiest to get to. With that in mind, here are places we like that are extremely close to subways. (As in a couple blocks or less from a subway stop.) We’ll even tell you which train’s closest.

The Spots

photo credit: Noah Devereaux

White Bear review image

White Bear


135-02 Roosevelt Ave, Flushing
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Flushing Main Street 7

We love a Hawaiian shaved ice or mountainous kakigōri as much as the next person, but if it's 25 degrees outside, grab something warmer like the wontons with hot sauce (no. 6) at White Bear. You'll get 12 dumplings filled with pork and veggies and spend less than you would on a box of Cheez-Its. It'll take you about three minutes to walk to this tiny spot from the Flushing Main Street 7, and you should probably grab a bag of frozen dumplings for when even getting on a train seems like too much effort.

66th Street/Lincoln Center 1

What used to be Old John's Luncheonette is now the remodeled Old John's Diner, but one thing that hasn't changed is the location, which is still very close to the Lincoln Center 1 stop. From the chicken pot pie to the warm brownie served in a cast iron skillet, this place has plenty of menu items that will give you that comforting feeling you want in the middle of February. If you need a tiny bit more warmth, order up a martini.

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Franklin Ave/Medgar Evers College 2/3/4/5

The thought of going out in the cold somehow seems worse right after you wake up, but you'll be glad you did once you try the breakfast sandwich from this daytime cafe in Crown Heights. It comes on a biscuit, with dill, cheddar, mayo, and a fried egg. If you don't make it here until lunchtime, get the confit tuna melt (just be aware that this place closes at 3pm).

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open table

86th Street R

Head a few minutes west from the 86th Street R in Bay Ridge and you'll be at this spot before you know it. This Palestinian restaurant has hummus, baba ghanoush, and shawarma as well as signature dishes like maklouba and mansaf. The portions are huge, so be sure to drag some of your cold weather-averse friends with you.

90th Street/Elmhurst Ave 7

Maybe you associate chilled seafood with warmer months. But you have an imagination for a reason, and it's to create your own reality. So hop on the 7 to Jackson Heights for some pescado ceviche, aguachile, and refreshing chamoyada, and pretend, if only for an hour or so, that you're somewhere with lots of sand.

Delancey/Essex Street J/M/Z/F

Gouie in The Market Line on the Lower East Side is one of our favorite places for high-quality, relatively affordable sushi. All the fish you'll try here is buttery, and you might even get an impromptu sake tasting if you have to wait for a seat. There are also a bunch of other places to eat right around the Delancey/Essex Street J/M/Z/F station. Some favorites include Dhamaka, Banchan by Sunny and Fat Choy.

Grand Central 4/5/6/7/S

You can always skip the whole going outside thing altogether. This restaurant is a classic NYC establishment that dates back to 1913, and it's right inside Grand Central Station. You'll obviously find a lot of oysters here (prepared in several different ways), but you can also grab a sandwich, a seafood platter, or a pan roast.

23rd Street 6

Cooking steaks in your place is usually not great. There's a lot of smoke involved, which often leads to incessant beeping from a fire alarm (which is also weirdly reassuring because at least you know the thing is still working). Sure, you can open a window, but then your place is suddenly 15 degrees colder. Hawksmoor NYC is a London transplant that's a block away from the 23rd Street 6, and they make much better steak than you.

Nassau G

You're looking at that box of Entenmann's donuts on your counter, and while those typically do the trick, you should really get something that was born in a pool of oil today. If you're near the G, apple crumb and chocolate frosted sprinkle donuts are just a short walk away from the Nassau stop in Greenpoint.

Grand Street B/D

This Vietnamese pop-up had a stint in Paris, but now you'll find it in NYC very close to the Grand Street B/D station. Until the end of March 2022, you can get dishes like egg-scallion bánh mì and a ginger-heavy rice porridge that feels especially appropriate for cold weather. There isn't a ton of seating here, but just place your order, get back on the train, and settle back into the imprint that your butt left on your couch.

Lafayette Ave C

Not only do you not want to be outside for very long, but you're not really in the mood to make any decisions either. Fradei in Fort Greene is the perfect spot for you. They won't tell you what's going to be on the menu on any given night, but you can expect a vegetable-forward five-course tasting and French and Italian wines. In case you haven't guessed, this isn't the type of place you can just walk into—so make a reservation.

Union Street D/N/R/W

Maybe you’re from Winnipeg, and this weather is no big deal, or perhaps it’s a friend’s birthday and everyone on the text chain feels obligated to go out. When you need a spot for a big group and nobody wants to show up with soaking wet socks, go to Dinosaur BBQ in Gowanus. The huge space is less than a block from the R entrance at Union and 4th Ave, and it looks like a converted barn, with a ton of tables and lots of bar seating. Share a bunch of barbecue and a few orders of the crunchy, cheesy fried green tomatoes.

Nassau G

A Nordic beer bar is an especially appropriate place to hang out when it's 20 degrees outside. So if it’s January or February, and you’re feeling sad because you can’t remember what the sun looks like, go to Tørst. It’s a Scandinavian-looking space with wood-paneled walls, and they have a great selection of beers that come in glass goblets. There's also food like meat, cheese, and a fried chicken sandwich with pickles and lime aioli. As an added bonus, this place is about a 30-second walk from the nearest subway station.

West 4th Street A/C/E/B/D/F/M

West 4th is kind of a confusing station to navigate, but if you know your way around, you can get to Hao Noodle without being outside for more than a minute. This Chinese restaurant is on the same block as the West 4th Street subway exit on Waverly, and you can usually just walk in and grab a table. Most things here are easy to share, and there are a lot of good soups to keep you warm. (Try the one with egg crepe dumplings.)

86th Street 1/2

Elea is a Greek restaurant on the Upper West Side, and it’s right next door to the UWS location of Han Dynasty, which happens to be one of our favorite spots for a casual meal. So why aren’t we telling you to go to Han Dynasty? Because Elea is slightly closer to the subway. You can eat some wonderful lamb chops here, and the mutli-level dining room has a vaguely coastal theme with candles on every table.

Lorimer Street G/L

If we asked you to name a Peruvian restaurant a short walk from the Lorimer L stop in Williamsburg, you might immediately say Llama Inn. But there’s another one that’s closer to the subway, less crowded, less expensive, and still very enjoyable. It's called Chimu. Most dishes on the menu are under $25 for a generous portion, so two people can easily share an appetizer (like the avocado stuffed with shrimp and vegetables) and an entree (like the fried rice with a ton of mixed seafood) and leave without having spent too much money.

Franklin Ave C

Hart's has only been open since 2016, but it's pretty much already an NYC classic. The food here is vaguely Mediterranean in a tuna-arancini and stracciatella-with-bottarga sort of way, and, the clam toast is always a necessary order. Plan a dinner with a friend in the tiny Bed-Stuy space, and take the C train over. Once you’re at the Franklin stop, Hart’s is just across the street.

116th Street 2/3

Fried chicken is technically always good, but it's even more satisfying in the winter. Go to Amy Ruth’s, and eat some. This is a big soul food restaurant about half a block from the 116th Street stop of the 2/3, and our go-to order here is a dish called The President Barack Obama, which consists of chicken however you want it, plus two sides.

Bowery J/Z

It’s 5pm, and you’re trying to think of a good excuse for cancelling on the same friend you always wind up cancelling on. Hate to break it to you, but you can’t. So you might as well plan a casual meal involving a burger, a cocktail, and maybe some oysters. You can get all of these things at Sel Rrose without having to go more than a few steps from the warm depths of the subway.

Christopher Street 1

The thing about Via Carota (near the 1 train) is that there will always be a wait. But, once you put your name in for a table, you can always just hang out at the bar or go next door and sing some show tunes at Marie's Crisis. You'll eventually get a notification that your table is ready, at which point you should return to the host and prepare to enjoy some cacio e pepe that's so widely beloved it should be overrated (but isn't).

Myrtle Avenue J/M/Z

Once you get off the J train at Myrtle Ave, run across the street to La Lupe. This casual Bushwick spot serves tacos so good they'll make you forget it’s the time of year when solid water starts falling from the sky. You can also enjoy things like nachos, margaritas, and chicken enchiladas as you fill up on water from a Gatorade cooler (which you’ll recognize from your JV softball days).

1st Avenue L

When your friend wants to grab dinner in the East Village, but you’re thinking about calling off your friendship just so you don’t have to walk more than two blocks outside in the winter, suggest Ichibantei. It's just around the corner from the 1st Avenue L stop. This little spot serves Japanese food like fried chicken, ramen, and a delicious rice bowl with egg, chicken, and onion (the Oyako Don), and it’s open until 3am most days.

Vernon Blvd / Jackson Ave 7

True story: There used to be a Cafe Henri in the West Village. We miss it. But this Cafe Henri is still around in Long Island City, and you should come by for some casual escargot or moules frites. You might even be able to see the subway station from your table.

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