Now that sweater weather has arrived, you’ll definitely want to make a reservation for you and your sweetie and your sweaters at one of the city’s coziest restaurants. Sit near the fireplace or within the candlelight, huddle close, and let the leaves fall where they may. By Jessica Allen.
Nothing says cozy like candlelight, and the candlelight at Alta is lovely. This Mediterranean restaurant and wine bar dates back to the 19th Century, when it served as a townhouse. Today it features a double-height dining room, overflowing with candlelight — the perfect place to sit back, order a glass of wine off of the 250+ list (the selection comes from around the world, and changes regularly), and utterly relax. The small plates and tapas on offer include bacon-wrapped dates, salmon tartare, seafood tagine, and pulled pork empanadas.
When it comes to coziness, no one corners the market quite like farm-to-table restaurants. And applewood, in Park Slope, is no exception. Located on the ground floor of an early 20th-Century storefront, applewood transforms locally grown, often organic, generally sustainable meat and produce from small, family farms into complete, comforting, New American dishes like confit duck, toasted barley risotto, and orange cauliflower soup. Try the $30 farmer’s tasting menu. The same careful attention applies to the cocktail menu too.
Since 1986, this restaurant on Irving Place — one of the city’s prettiest streets — has brought a small-town New England-esque charm to Manhattan. (A second location in Brooklyn Heights recently opened.) The two-level restaurant attempts to re-create the feel of the owner’s childhood home via brass knickknacks, heavy wood tables, and two roaring fireplaces. The farm-to-table specialties include herb-crusted cod, ranch hand meatloaf, and deep-fried rabbit. Expect to be utterly transported to the countryside while you’re there.
We’ll be the first to admit that garden- or basement-level spaces can be a bit dicey. Sometimes you feel like you’re in a bunker, sure, but sometimes, as is the case with The Place, you feel like you’re safe, content, and ready for snuggles. The Place dates to the 19th Century and features original oak-beamed ceilings as well as slate floors and multiple fireplaces. Another thing that will give you the warm and fuzzies? A portion of the organic restaurant’s proceeds go toward local children’s and environmental causes.
Beloved for its backyard, Vinegar Hill House has a pretty great dining room too. Named for a neighborhood in Brooklyn near DUMBO and the Navy Yard, this restaurant features such dishes as cast-iron chicken with shallots and sherry vinegar jus and the justifiably famous red wattle country (heritage pork) chop with romesco, speck, sweet corn grits, and anise flowers. As for the decor, think old-fashioned wallpaper, well-worn furniture, and a crowded, copper-topped bar. Lanterns add to the cozy spirit.