NYCGuide

The Best Hot Chocolate In NYC

Where to get a thick, chocolatey beverage and pretend you're in a Hallmark movie.
The Best Hot Chocolate In NYC image

Like most Christmas albums released after 2010 and those couches in the “As Is″ sale section at IKEA, excellent hot chocolate is terribly underrated. We’re not here to point fingers, but those powder packets from the waiting room at the chiropractor’s office might have something to do with it. The good news is, NYC is home to plenty of chocolate shops, bakeries, and cafes serving incredible cups of hot cocoa that each deserve their own hot beverage award. With this list of daydream-worthy hot chocolates, you have 12 reasons to never settle for Swiss Miss again.

THE SPOTS

photo credit: Heather Willensky

Ice Cream

East Village

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Bad Habit is an East Village ice cream shop with hot chocolate that’s almost chowder-like in its thickness, topped with a brûléed, oversized homemade marshmallow. You’d be better served spooning it into your mouth than trying to sip it, and it makes for a perfect warmer after a winter stroll in Tompkins Square Park. If you’re more in the mood for a pick-me-up than a put-me-to-sleep drink, Bad Habit also does hot chocolate affogatos—half-cocoa, half-espresso—with their rotating slate of similarly rich ice creams.

photo credit: Kate Previte

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Now that there's a location in Bryant Park, you no longer need to book a trans-Atlantic flight to try the iconic hot chocolate from Angelina Paris. This palatial cafe serves an ultra-thick, gently spiced hot chocolate that comes with a sidecar of perfectly light Chantilly cream. You can grab a cup to go, but we like taking a moment to sit and enjoy the unreasonably soothing act of pouring this hot chocolate into a pretty little mug.

Skip the lines at Ladurée and head down the street to Thierry Atlan when you're in the mood for hot chocolate and macarons. This tiny jewel box of a shop is operated by a "Meilleur Ouvrier de France chocolatier," and whether you know what that means, anything made with chocolate here is going to impress, from perfect truffles to an extraordinarily well-balanced cup of hot chocolate that's served at just the right temperature.

This Soho spot serves high-quality drinking chocolate that has a thick, velvety, and almost buttery quality to it. It comes in a baby cup, and the entire space looks like The Christmas Carol blew up inside of a boutique. You’ll walk through the space all the way to the back where you can order hot chocolate in their small cafe. If you’re nice, they usually offer a free sample.

The hot chocolate at The Hungarian Pastry Shop isn't showy, but that doesn't mean it's not great. We can't say exactly how they make this drink taste so good. It could be an extremely jazzed-up mix sprinkled with love, magic, and a dollop of whipped cream, or it could be a secret recipe passed down for generations. We'd believe either story. Get it with a linzer tart, break out your notebook, and write the next Great American Novel.

Just standing inside of this chocolate shop in Soho feels like a holiday activity. The ceiling is covered in Christmas lights, and it smells like they might have a cocoa tree growing in the back. L.A. Burdick has been in the neighborhood for decades, and they serve several different kinds of hot chocolate. But the spicy hot cocoa is the one you want. It has the thick consistency of drinking chocolate, but it’s sweeter. The hint of cayenne balances things out nicely.

Special. That’s the first word that comes to mind when we think about the hot chocolate from this West Village cafe. From the toasted marshmallow that slowly melts with every sip to the deep, rich chocolate that carries it, this is the best, classic cup of hot chocolate in the city. Even if you usually order your hot beverages in a small cup, this drink will make you want to order an XXL. But since this isn’t 7-Eleven, you’ll have to settle for the large and return for another cup sometime in the future.

Bar Pisellino’s hot chocolate is notably thick, smooth, and pillowy. Drinking it feels like starring in your own Hallmark holiday movie, without all of the unnecessary drama. If you’re ever in the West Village on a weekend morning, stop by and drink one on their sidewalk patio. You’ll have front-row seats to some prime people watching, à la the Via Carota brunch crowd and celebrity dog walkers along 7th Avenue.

Both the Cobble Hill and Park Slope locations of The Chocolate Room serve spiced dark hot chocolate that should be the subject of airplane banners, think pieces, and Youtube tutorials. It’s made with cinnamon and cloves, so every sip tastes like a chocolate cinnamon roll. Stop by with someone who truly cares about sweets, and consider grabbing a tin of hot cocoa powder to bring home with you. It won’t be the same as what’s being made fresh behind the counter, but it’s convenient and tastes much better than your typical store-bought stuff.

For years, New Yorkers have flocked to this old-school ice cream shop in Carroll Gardens for pretzel sundaes and egg creams. But during the winter, their hot cocoa topped with toasted marshmallow fluff is the main draw. The “fluff” in question is made in-house and tastes like a scoop of cotton candy that’s been set ablaze for just a few seconds. Like an exclamation point, this small touch makes a huge difference.

Picking up a cup of hot chocolate from Dominique Ansel in Soho is a whole production. There's usually a line outside that’s full of tourists and loyal fans, so you’ll probably have to wait a bit to enter the narrow cafe. When you make it inside, be sure to order the blossoming hot chocolate. It comes with a marshmallow “flower” that opens on it’s own and melts into your cup as you drink.

If you’re planning on doing festive holiday stuff in NYC, you might see this Belgian waffle spot at a holiday market, like the big one in Bryant Park. It’s a great option for high-quality hot chocolate you can take on the go. On the side, you can get some waffles topped with things like chocolate fudge, strawberries, and dulce de leche.

The creamy hot cocoa from Daily Provisions is made with chocolate ganache, which makes it notably smooth and velvety. They also have a vanilla marshmallow you can add to your cup for an extra dollar, which is a little annoying, but you should do it nonetheless. It’s so soft you’ll wonder if what you’re tasting can legally be considered food.

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