The hot chocolate in NYC has never been better! There are so many amazing, high-quality options in this city that you could take your kid on a season-long cocoa crawl, and try everything from classic cups to more creative expressions: cardamom almond milk hot chocolate, anyone?
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The scene is strong even with the recent closing of City Bakery, where this hot chocolate revival got its start more than 20 years ago. One reason? Baristas. A great coffee spot is often a great hot chocolate spot—that latte-quality milk can make all the difference when you want a cocoa to lift your spirits on your way to one of the best children's museums in NYC, or to warm up after tackling the best sledding hills in New York City.
Fancy techniques aside, the best cocoas are comforting—there's a reason why hot chocolate is one of the defining flavors of childhood. And adulthood: Check out the more grownup list of the 12 best hot chocolates in NYC from Time Out New York.
Best hot chocolate in NYC
There's more chocolate than there is milk in the hot cocoa at Bar Pisellino, a jewel box of an homage to the Italian caffè. The hot chocolate is so rich that it's like drinking warm cake batter—topped with a dollop of firmly-whipped panna that melts oh-so-slowly, this is a drink with the personality of an elegant dessert. Think of it as special-occasion coca, a reward for good behavior. In other words, you get one too. West Village (barpisellino.com), $6.
The Daily Provisions Hot Chocolate is made with three kinds of chocolate: Guanaja dark chocolate, Bahibe milk chocolate 46%, and Guittard chocolate ganache. It's complex, and delicious, and when topped with whipped cream and a housemade vanilla marshmallow it's tasty, messy fun. Gramercy, Upper West Side (dailyprovisionsnyc.com). $6.50.
Pastry chef's Umber Ahmad's take on hot chocolate is straightforward and perfect: Valrhona chocolate, steamed milk and a toasted housemade vanilla bean marshmallows that will haunt your child's dreams. West Village (mahzedahrbakery.com). $5.
It looks like magic but really, it’s just dessert-world ingenuity—pastry maestro Dominique Ansel crowns his rich cup of hot cocoa with a marshmallow flower that’s wrapped in a band of chocolate. When the chocolate hits the warm liquid, it melts and the flower “blooms” and reveals a chocolate truffle in the middle. Note: The marshmallow flower is only at Dominque Ansel Bakery, and not available at Dominique Ansel Kitchen. SoHo (dominiqueansel.com).
This old-timey soda fountain celebrates sweater weather with a messy, goopy, chocolately salted caramel hot cocoa topped with a small mountain of toasted marshmallow fluff. Some advice: Ask for extra napkins. Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn (brooklynfarmacyandsodafountain.com). $5.
MarieBelle doesn't play around. The Cocoa Bar Salon in the chocolatier's SoHo boutique offers more than a dozen variations of hot chocolate, from the classic Aztec dark chocolate, to Hindu cardamom, to white chocolate Tahitian vanilla. Choose from whole milk, fat-free milk, almond milk, soy milk. This might be the most comprehensive cocoa menu in the five boroughs. SoHo, (mariebelle.com), $5.
The Standard East Village is the embodiment of low-key luxury, a tastefully cool kid spot on a still-gritty street. What does this have to do with the cocoa, which is made with Valrhona Caraibe dark chocolate? Well, you can get a mug in the cafe, or you can throw a little party by reserving one of the heated yurts in the Winter Garden: Order a crock of hot chocolate, a pot of fondue—maybe some warm cocktails for the grownups. It's as cozy as it is stylish. East Village, (standardhotels.com).
The Mexican hot chocolate at Atla is a chocolate callente for sophisticates. Dark, dense, delicious—just what you'd expect from the kitchen of Daniela Soto-Innes and Enrique Olvera. Noho (atlanyc.com). $9.
Delicious hot chocolate is as close as your nearest Joe—which has 20 locations and counting. It's an upgrade on the classic: Artisanal Askinosie chocolate is mixed with steamed milk is mixed and topped with a marshmallow from Brooklyn's JoMart Chocolates. Various locations (joecoffeecompany.com). $4.15.
The hot chocolate at Stumptown is so good because the baristas know their way around a steam wand. They texture the milk to the perfect temperature and consistency, then mix it with a housemade ganache. So gorgeous, so simple. Flatiron, Greenwich Village (stumptowncoffee.com). $3.50.
A postage-sized outpost of Spain that specializes in churros con chocolate—the idea is to dip the delicate churros in the dense chocolate, but it's ok to eat your drink with a spoon. Nolita (lachurrerianyc.com).
This distinguished chocolatier offers a range of drinking chocolates (that's gourmet speak for "hot chocolate") in the cafe at their SoHo boutique. There's a classic milk chocolate, and a dark chocolate blend. More refined palates might prefer one the single-origin selections. SoHo (burdickchocolate.com).
Don't let the name fool you: This isn't a candy shop as much as it is a wonderfully-preserved luncheonette, a neighborhood throwback with chatty locals gather. And the hot chocolate? Perfectly fine. You go here for the ambiance, not the super-fancy ingredients. Upper East Side (lexingtoncandyshop.com). $3.25.
Every little lady will love sipping cocoa with her family and her dollies. Head to the Rockefeller Center shopping hub for a warming mug of hot chocolate, then let her treat her American Girl to some TLC at the salon. Midtown West (americangirl.com).
What better accompaniment for the bakery's exceptional chocolate-chip cookies than a steamy mug of creamy hot cocoa made with melted dark chocolate and infused with dried lavender. Various locations (www.mamannyc.com). $3.50.
The chocolat chaud is of the intensely dense variety, a style you see at the better chocolatiers in France—your spoon will (almost) stand up straight. The presentation is elegant, from the fine china cups and saucers to the attentive and subdued staff. Various locations (lamaisonduchocolat.us). $8.
Eddie's Sweet Shop will tap into the New York nostalgia that drives your cravings. This Forrest Hills gem has been in business for over 100 years—best known for the ice cream, the hot chocolate is a classic. Forest Hills, Queens. $3.50.
Martha's Country Bakery combines two beloved sweets for a glorious marriage. Red velvet hot chocolate takes the winter beverage to new levels, and you'd be remiss to forgo a taste of its deliciousness. Various locations (marthascountrybakery.com).
Just as you'd expect, there's an extensive hot chocolate menu at the GODIVA Café. One seasonal speciality is the peppermint hot chocolate, made with dark chocolate and peppermint pieces, then topped with whipped cream and even more peppermint pieces. Various locations (godiva.com). $4.95.