It’s one thing to get all dressed up for the holidays, but it’s even cooler when you arrive at a favorite spot and find that it has gotten gussied up for the season as well. There are plenty of restaurants in NYC that do Christmas decorations with extra flair, with tinsel, trees and even a Santa or two. Some are over-the-top, others more refined with festooned fireplace mantels and cozy fires crackling away. Whatever your pleasure, swing by one of these restaurants for the most festive Christmas decor in NYC while you dine. Looking for more to do in NYC during the holidays? Check out our Bucket List here!
For Over-the-Top Decor Near Times Square or Union Square: Lillie's Victorian Establishment
At Lillie’s Victorian Establishment in Times Square, you’ll feel like you walked onto the Love, Actually set. It’s so festive in this Victorian-inspired restaurant tucked right in the same block as two Broadway theaters, you won’t want to leave. The place is decorated to the max with thousands of sparkling garlands tinsel-bright baubles, life-sized Nutcracker soldiers and bedecked Christmas trees. And your kids will love the chicken fingers (they’re some of the tastiest in the city) or try the buttermilk pancakes (available without gluten, FYI) if brunch is more your scene. We love Lillie's year-round—it's one of our favorite places for brunch with kids in NYC!
249 West 49th St.
13 E. 17th St.
For Carolers and a Roaring Fireplace: The Lambs Club
RSVP for brunch at The Lambs Club, tucked in the historic Chatwal Hotel, for refined holiday dining. Every Saturday in December, you’ll feel the spirit of the season thanks to Christmas carolers who are now in their seventh season of working their way around the dining room. The brunch features a special prix-fixe menu and a hot chocolate bar with house-made toppings, but the holiday centerpiece of this Midtown restaurant is most definitely the stunning 18th-century fireplace decorated in a gorgeous garland of red and green with stunning ornaments strung in-between. (The bright red seats add an extra dash of holiday pizazz.)
132 West 44th St.
For the Most Dazzling Ceiling Decor: Rolf's Bar & Restaurant
The reigning champion of NYC restaurant Christmas decorations, Rolf’s Bar & Restaurant features such awe-inspiring Christmas décor that this German eatery has achieved bucket-list status for most New Yorkers. Order up some potato pancakes with applesauce (hamburgers and meatloaf are other family-friendly faves) and spend the rest of the meal marveling at the 150,000 antique glass ornaments hanging from the ceiling, and the ancient looking dolls in-between.
281 Third Ave.
For a Rooftop Winter Wonderland: Serra Alpina
Serra Alpina, which takes over Eataly’s entire 14th floor enclosed rooftop, is a "Winter Greenhouse" dining space that changes with the seasons. For its winter wonderland look the restaurant’s ceiling is covered with sparkling lights, there’s a tree right in the center of the space, and a decorated trellis surrounded by snow-covered Christmas trees that would make the best holiday card backdrop—for next year, that is. Meanwhile, the menu, featuring the cuisine of the Italian Alps region, offers some tried-and-true kid-approved faves, like risotto with butter and cheese, fried rice balls. and mocktails —our favorite is the Arancia Rossa, with blood orange juice, Meyer lemon puree, cranberry juice and soda spritz. Desserts are worth saving room for, too. How will your kids choose between the profiteroles and the tiramisu?
200 fifth Avenue at 23rd St.
For Classic New York Cheer: Tavern On the Green
For the quintessential Christmas in New York, head to this Central Park landmark. Tavern on The Green brings the Yuletide cheer with glistening décor including its very own 20-foot Christmas tree with over 2,000 ornaments and 10,000 lights. The bar room is full of greenery, a Christmas tree and lights, and boughs and lights adorn the exterior of the restaurant as well. Adding to the scene is the frequent live jazz, and you and the kids can warm up after a jaunt in the park with spiced cider or hot chocolate.
For a Waterfront Chalet Feel: Industry Kitchen
Forget heading to a ski chalet. Instead, head downtown to Industry Kitchen, an industrial chic space located at the South Street Seaport, for some of the most extensive holiday decorations in town. We’re talking 5,000 square feet of sparkling lights, Christmas greenery, giant reindeer families on the terrace, snow-flocked Christmas trees and wreaths along with two tall nutcrackers at the entryway. And then there are the tasty treats your kids will go love such as Gingernut Pizza with a ginger crust, eggnog frosting, spicy pecans, candy canes and sprinkles or Pop Candy Land pizza, featuring a rainbow crust, cream cheese frosting, pop rocks and cotton candy. Yum!
70 South St.
For Old School Brooklyn Cheer: Tom's Restaurant
To be fair, it's kind of always Christmas (and 4th of July) at this Prospect Heights, Brooklyn institution, which has been serving up breakfast all day since 1936. (Many of the decorations, from twinkling lights and tinsel to American flags stay up year-round.) Still, Tom's busts out some extra decorations for the holidays and the perpetual good cheer and good will of the joint gets turned up to 11. (FYI: Tom's is close to the Brooklyn Museum and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden if you go and need a place to nosh before or after.)
782 Washington Ave.
For a Trip to Paris Without the Jet Lag: Benoit
At the ever-sunny Benoit, you’ll feel like you’ve flown to France without ever having to schlep to JFK. This dressy restaurant gets all gussied up for the holidays with a resplendent Christmas tree, ornaments and all things pine surrounding the lobby mantelpiece. Once inside the dining room, everything from the red velvet banquettes to the French music playing the moment you set foot inside this elegant space will fill you with the holiday spirit. Best of all, Benoit is extremely kid-friendly. How could it not be, when you gaze upon the Sweet Corner, piled high with fruit, candy, cakes and crepes or pancakes made to order? There’s a generous kids menu and plenty of choices for everyone in the family. Bon appetit!
60 West 55th St.