Much like a presentation from an HR person or an animal cruelty 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 easiest to get to. With that in mind, here are places we like that are extremely close to subways. (As in, a block or less from a subway stop.) We’ll even tell you what train’s closest.
Delancey/Essex Street J/M/Z/F
If it’s cold, and you want to get to La Contenta without having to tape hand warmers to your face, take a train to Delancey Street and use the northeast exit. From there, it’s about half a block to tacos, steak, and margaritas. La Contenta is one of our favorite Mexican restaurants in NYC, and it’s an ideal place for a casual meal with friends. It’s pretty small, however, so if you come with a big group, you might wind up waiting for a table outside.
No. 7 is about three feet away from the Lafayette C train stop, which is ideal for any polar-vortex-type situations. It also sort of feels like a nice cabin inside, so it’s a great place to hide from the outside world for an hour or two. You can grab a table in the back dining room, or you can sit alone at the long bar up front, if that’s the sort of winter you’re having. The food is standard American stuff like burgers, steak, and fried broccoli, and it’s all pretty solid and crowd-pleasing.
You want a steak, but you don’t want to cook it yourself, and it’s so cold outside that the moisture in your eyeballs starts to freeze when you think about leaving the house. Try El Almacen. It’s roughly 20 feet from the Bedford Ave L station (if you use the exit at Driggs), and the steak here doesn’t cost an unreasonable amount. This is an Argentinian restaurant, so there are also things like empanadas and tacos, as well as some avocado fries that may or may not be Argentinian, but are good regardless.
A Nordic beer bar is an objectively appropriate place to hang out in the winter. 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. They also serve a great burger, a few other sandwiches, and some other stuff like steak and burrata. As an added bonus, it’s about a thirty second walk from the nearest subway station.
18th St 1
Say you need to meet up with a friend you haven’t seen in a while, and they want you to pick a cool place for dinner. Also, it’s freezing, and, no matter how much you like your friend, there’s no way you’re going to spend more than two minutes outdoors. Go grab some food at Motel Morris. It’s a place in Chelsea that looks like a retro hotel lobby, and there are equal amounts of healthy and unhealthy options. It’s also just feet away from the 1 train.
Franklin Ave C
If you don’t live in Bed-Stuy, the commute to Hart’s can be lengthy. But the subway tends to be pretty warm. Plus, it’ll give you time to catch up on the latest things that people aren’t saying about you on Twitter. Once you’re at the Franklin C stop, Hart’s is just across the street. We especially like this little Mediterranean/American place for date night, but it also works for a solo dinner at the tiny bar or a meal with a boss, some parents, or a few friends who appreciate a restaurant with a good burger and a playlist that might include Ja Rule and Mariah Carey.
Astor Place 6
Noodle-induced narcolepsy isn’t an actual condition, but, if it was, Ippudo ramen would be a regulated substance. On a cold winter night, a bellyful of this stuff will sing you a lullaby and pull your blanket up to your chin. But you have to get home first. The 6 train is a block away. Run.
It’s 5pm and you’re trying to think up a good excuse for cancelling on that friend who’s kind of not actually a friend that you always say you want to get drinks with - for the third time. But all you want to do is go home, get into your ugly sweatpants, and hide from winter. Hate to break it to you, but you can’t hide. So it’s time to face it. Preferably with good burgers and good cocktails. Get them both at Sel Rrose, without having to go more than a few steps from the cozy depths of the subway. Maybe you’ll even make a new best friend out of it.
14th St. 1,2,3
Coppelia is for drunk people. And that isn’t to say the food is bad. It’s just that it’s a 24-hour diner within walking distance of the Meatpacking District, so that’s naturally who it’s for. So the next time it’s 20 degrees outside and you’ve been drinking in the area, stop by for some huevos rancheros and yucca fries. The food is a mix of Cuban and American, and it’s everything you need at 2am. Oh, and also the ability to get home as quickly as possible. You’re in luck with that too.
Christopher St. - Sheridan Sq 1
Sure, summer has sun and warmth and beaches and generally happier people. But winter has an official no-rules policy when it comes to stuffing your body with pasta any/every night of the week. Take advantage (without having to submit yourself to the cold for more than 10 seconds) at Via Carota, a place that is simultaneously somewhat under-the-radar, yet also always busy. You’ll probably encounter a slight wait, but you won’t mind if you get yourself one of their excellent negronis at the bar.
Broadway-Lafayette B,D,F,M & Bleecker St. 6
So many ways to get to Gato. You can take the B, D, F, or M, or you can take the 6 down to Bleecker. And the funny thing is, if you don’t live in New York you have no idea what we’re talking about. But everyone else does. When you have to get dinner with your sort-of-cool parents (and it’s freezing outside) head to Gato. The Spanish/Mediterranean food won’t let you down, and you’ll spend minimal time outdoors.
Franklin St. 1
On the sinking Titanic, they drank booze to keep warm. And at Walkers, you can do the same. This is an old-school tavern in Tribeca, and you can treat it as either a restaurant or a bar. They serve food until 1am, and they play the hits: chicken wings, caesar salads, burgers, etc. Walkers is pretty much a New York institution, and it’s the perfect place to hang when it’s cold.
1st Ave. L
When your friend want 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, meet up at Taverna Kyclades. It’s right off the L at 1st and 14th, and the Greek food is solid. Is it trendy? Absolutely not. But trendy is for summer, and this is more than good enough for now.
23rd St. 1
The Upper East Side Sushi Seki recently found its way onto our Greatest Hits list, which should tell you that it’s one of our all-time favorite restaurants. And while we don’t love the Chelsea location as much, around this time of year it gives UES Seki a run for its money. And that’s because we won’t lose a finger to frostbite on our walk there from the subway.
Chambers St. 1,2,3
Your aunt is in town and wants to get dinner, but there’s a polar vortex bearing down on the city, and any money you would have spent on a cab went toward some Air Jordan booties you found for your dog in Chinatown. Suggest a meal at Little Park. It’s healthy and nice enough for your aunt, and she won’t guilt trip you about making her walk too far in the cold.
Vernon Blvd / Jackson Ave 7
It’s the dead of winter and you want to pretend you’re in France. Not the fake France of Moulin Rouge and Midnight in Paris - the one that normal people live in. That’s when you go to Cafe Henri. This cafe is the definition of ordinary, and that’s what makes it so special. You come here for plain, un-fancy French food. The best part is, it isn’t trendy. And there’s something soothing about that. Give it a shot.