Where To Eat When Someone Is Dragging You To See The Fifth Avenue Holiday WindowsSo you're entertaining out-of-towners around the holidays. Here's where to eat near the Fifth Avenue windows.
Even the saltiest New Yorkers fall victim to the charms of the Fifth Avenue holiday displays. If you have family or friends visiting from out of town, a trek down the street while you stare at diamond jewelry that could double as a downpayment on a two-bedroom apartment in Park Slope is practically inevitable. It is possible to have a nice time doing this touristy activity, with one caveat: you can’t let anyone get hangry. Avoid this nightmare scenario by planning what you’ll eat in advance.
It used to be that the only reason to go near Rockefeller Center was because someone was forcing you to look at the Christmas Tree, but now there’s Le Rock. This upscale French brasserie is the second major restaurant from the team behind Frenchette, so it’s no surprise that we love this place. It feels like a downtown bistro that was airdropped into a grand Midtown Art Deco space, with a crowd that's energetic and a vibe that's sceney (in a good way). On top of that, every flawlessly executed dish fulfills whatever lofty expectations you have when you order them.
You’ll forget you’re in a restaurant situated in an underground mall as soon as you’re seated in Jupiter’s colorful and bustling dining room with a large bar filled with people sharing small plates and bottles of Italian wine. Yes, you should start with the zucchini fritti and the peekytoe crab toast on olive oil-drenched grilled bread, but pasta is the main reason to come here. We suggest the housemade agnoli stuffed with slow-cooked, shredded rabbit. If you’re in a grumpy mood and it’s the right season, sit within view of the ice skating rink so you can laugh at people falling.
If you’re with a group of people who can’t agree on something to eat or who don’t have the patience for a full sit-down meal, Urban Hawker is a great choice. This sprawling food hall is inspired by Singapore’s hawker markets, and there’s a high concentration of excellent food here (also: free WiFi and nice public restrooms). We especially love the chicken and rice from Hainan Jones, and the pork adobo from Tradisyon.
Yes, we are in fact telling you to walk from the crowded hellscape of Fifth Avenue during the holidays to the equally crowded hellscape of Times Square during the holidays, but trust us on this one. If steak is what your people want, take them to Gallagher’s. This classic spot has been here since the 1920s, and a meal here feels like stepping back into the Guys and Dolls era. It’s our favorite steakhouse in all of NYC.
This “contemporary Asian” spot from the Marea team is right next door to the MoMA, so it’s only fitting that it raises the bar for restaurant design in NYC. The space should be studied at Parsons, and the food here is just as impressive as the decor. For your next big night out, come for the best soup dumplings we’ve had, and don’t even try to decide between the sambal-smothered skate and the incredibly moist Hainanese chicken—just get both.
This little cafe is a true refuge in the middle of a chaotic neighborhood thanks to its quiet, charming atmosphere—it isn’t mobbed by tourists and influencers who just want to take photos. The food here leans classic French, with an excellent country pate sandwich and a passionfruit brioche we’d go out of our way to eat. It’s the ideal location for a quick snack or lunch and a break from the crowds.
In the 90s, La Grenouille was the place to see and be seen in NYC. Now, it’s a fascinating relic that doubles as low-key time travel. The dining room is wild and wonderful, with exuberant floral displays and entirely too many mirrors in the bathrooms. It’s worth noting that it’s the kind of place where jackets are required, so dress accordingly. Stick to French classics and you’ll have a good meal here. The grand marnier souffle is one of our all-time favorite desserts.
This popular cafe filled with greenery up to the ceiling feels like it should be filled with woodland creatures instead of people eating lunch. Maman excels at baked items like croissants, loaf cakes, and cookies. Because of that, we prefer their sandwiches to their salads. One of their best is the warm roast beef and cheddar on ciabatta with wasabi mayo. Come here for a lunch that won’t take hours out of your day, or for a hot chocolate in one of Maman’s signature toille to-go cups.
If you’re near the bottom of Central Park and looking for great Chinese food, check out this Szechuan and Hunan restaurant on 56th Street between 5th and 6th Avenues. The velvet banquette, frilly chandelier-filled indoor space is chic enough to bring your boss, a date, or family visiting you in the city. While they currently offer indoor and outdoor seating, know that their food travels well for pick-up and delivery too. Their mapo tofu reminds us of the city’s best versions—its silky tofu cubes hold up against prodding chopsticks and gravity, and you can taste the fermented black beans hiding in the tingling, mala-spice sauce.