Once upon a time, you could count your options for eating out on Christmas Eve one one hand. Not so nowadays. Restaurants at nearly every price point and specializing in nearly every type of cuisine are offering excellent meals this year on December 24. We’ve narrowed the list below to our five favorites in Manhattan and Brooklyn. By Jessica Allen.
65 East 55th Street
New York, NY 10022
For going on three decades, Aquavit has infused Midtown with Scandinavian spirit. Indeed, this three-star restaurant draws on and modernizes Sweden’s delicious cuisine, then serves it in an elegant dining room. On Christmas Eve, the restaurant is offering its Julbord menu for $105 per person. Along with a complimentary cup of glögg (mulled wine), you’ll receive a huge smörgåsbord of goodies like Christmas sausage, liver pate, black currant cod, juniper-smoked salmon, Nordic breads, eggnog panna cotta, and gingersnap cookies.
420 Hudson Street
New York, NY 10014
Exploring Little Italy: Eat, See And Play
No one knows the exact origin of the Feast of Seven Fishes, but today, the huge seafood-focused Christmas Eve meal has spread beyond its Southern Italian roots into the homes of Italian Americans— and some NYC eateries, including The Clam. At this seasonal restaurant in the West Village, you can nosh on a five-course, prix fixe meal in honor of the feast, choosing from options like fresh-shucked Wellfleet oysters, baked clams (served family style), lobster chowder, and sautéed red snapper livornese with capers, tomatoes and olives.
44 Henry Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
More: Best Comfort Food In NYC
Missing your family this holiday season? Consider booking a table at Henry’s End, a beloved New American restaurant in Brooklyn Heights. It’s the kind of warm, welcoming place where you take your kid to celebrate his graduation from middle school, then college, then engagement, to the birth of his first child. Their special Christmas Eve menu ($75 per person) features New Orleans turtle soup, gnocchi with buffalo short rib ragu, andouille stuffed quail, pepper-crusted venison filet, and duck with maple cranberry, among other items.
236 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10001
More: Best Latkes In NYC
We’re not sure why, but ilili rarely pops up on foodie favorite round-ups or blogs. It sneaks under the radar, consistently producing high-end Middle Eastern cuisine in a nicely-lit space near the Flatiron Building. That just means more for us, and others in the know — like you! Their Christmas Eve prix fixe comes with choices like fennel labne, sour cherry tabbouleh, chicken liver pate, lamb manti, honey-glazed pork shank, mushroom gnocchi, green bean and eggplant fatte, sweet potato with halava, and Turkish coffee mousse.
132 West Houston Street
New York, NY 10012
Open on Christmas Eve and Christmas, both Miss Lily’s locations offer an antidote to winter’s chilly, gray days. The Caribbean restaurant nods to the holiday with a special prix fixe menu including festive dishes like cod fritters with curry mayo, jerk turkey breast with gravy, glazed ham with roasted pineapple and a maple scotch bonnet glaze, steamed callaloo, polenta with coconut cream, and Caribbean pumpkin soup. Don’t see anything that floats your boat? A limited a la carte menu will also be available.