Christmas in New York comes with plenty of traditions, from checking out Christmas window displays to taking in one of theater’s best Christmas shows to sitting down with your loved ones for Christmas brunch at a top-notch restaurant. Cheers the season with Bloody Marys and tuck into holiday prix fixes and a la carte menus that will leave your belly warm until the tree comes down.
RECOMMEDED: Full guide to Christmas in NYC
Best places for Christmas brunch
The James Beard–nominated Joseph “JJ” Johnson (the Cecil, Minton’s) headed just south of Harlem for his first solo venture, which takes its inspiration from the pan-African dishes of his childhood. For Christmas brunch (served until 2pm), look out for king crab benedict, fig french toast with thai basil syrup and fried chicken with biscuits.
Chef de cuisine Scott Schneider is cooking a special Christmas day tasting menu on December 25. Options include a $150 prix fixe with four courses, including butter-poached atlantic halibut, ricotta and mascarpone ravioli and spic walnut cake.
The modern American restaurant in the South Street Seaport will be open regular hours for brunch on Christmas Day in the space decorated like a winter chalet. You can enjoy squash pot with mushroom ragu, pumpkin tagliatelle with shaved truffle and the Frozen Peppermint Slide with Baileys, candy canes and peppermint bark.
For the "12 Days of Brunch" from December 21st through January 1st, Bubby’s will add Christmas specials to its all-day menu: Swedish pancakes with lingonberries, egg nog pie and a duck hash with cranberries. There will also be pancake flights with sour cream pancakes topped with a combination of caramelized bananas, toasted walnuts and Nutella, among others.
At this dim sum house from Ed Schoenfeld and Joe Ng, dumpling devotees can find signature plates and Asian-inflected fare that, while wildly inventive, relies on classical Chinese technique. The soup dumplings are an absolute must-order, packed with pork and crab in a rich, flavorful broth. For brunch, make sure to order the Katz's Pastrami Eggroll. Yes, it is exactly what you think.
Major Food Group hit their apex with this showy Ludlow Hotel venture, the chain-smoking Parisian cousin to Carbone’s three-card-monte–dealing paesano. And though it shares an affinity for sticker shock and tableside fanfare, the team’s first non-Italian outfit is a different beast entirely. The Christmas day brunch is $98 per person (from noon to 8pm) with a three-course prix-fixe menu with fancy French fare.
Venue says An NY bistro created by MFG’s Mario Carbone, Rich Torrisi and Jeff Zalaznick. Timeless dishes and preparations of the classic French bistro.
The main restaurant at the Pierre opens at 11:30am Christmas day for a three-course $95 prix fixe the includes pumpkin gnocchi, braised short ribs and a traditional English Christmas pudding in the room soundtracked by holiday music and outfitted with spirited décor.
The third branch of this popular American brasserie sits a stone's throw from Lincoln Center. Feast on the prix fixe Christmas Brunch ($37) with options like smoked salmon toast, short rib hash and vanilla French toast in the 170-seat dining room, which is decked out with Art Deco pennants and subway-tile floors.