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The best hot chocolate in NYC

Kiss Swiss Miss goodbye—the best hot chocolate in NYC features fiery chilies, marshmallow “flowers” and, yes, booze

PHD Terrace hot chocolate
Photograph: Courtesy PHD Terrace at Dream Midtown
By Oliver Strand |

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 when battling the brutal cold.

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?

Fancy techniques aside, the best cocoas are comforting—there's a reason why hot chocolate is one of the defining flavors of childhood.

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Best hot chocolate in NYC

Bar Pisellino
Photograph: Oliver Strand
Restaurants, Italian

Bar Pisellino

West Village

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 (, $6.

Daily Provisions
Photograph: Katherine Kalec
Restaurants, Cafés

Daily Provisions


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 ( $6.50.

Photograph: Courtesy of Mah-Ze-Dahr
Restaurants, Bakeries


West Village

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 ( $5.

Photograph: Courtesy Squish Marshmallow

Squish Marshmallow

It's only right that NYC's go-to marshmallow shop would serve a lovely cup of hot cocoa. The marshmallow is optional, but c'mon, who are you kidding? East Village ( $6.

Photograph: Courtesy Dominique Ansel Bakery
Restaurants, Bakeries

Dominique Ansel Bakery


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. 

Photograph: MarieBelle
Shopping, Chocolate and candy


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, (, $5.

Photograph: Courtesy the Standard Hotels
Hotels, Boutique hotels

The Standard East Village

East Village

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, (

Photograph: Courtesy of the ATM Group
Restaurants, Mexican



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 ( $9.

Photograph: Jolie Ruben
Restaurants, Coffee shops

Stumptown Coffee Roasters


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 ( $3.50.

Photograph: Liz Clayman
Restaurants, Cafés



A recipe for hot chocolate success: L.A. Burdick chocolate, expertly-steamed milk, a handsome and family-friendly room with plenty of room for strollers. Various locations ( $6.25.

Photograph: Lizz Kuehl
Restaurants, Spanish

La Churreria


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 (

Photograph: Courtesy Maman
Restaurants, Cafés


Little Italy

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 ( $3.50.

Photograph: Justin Levy
Nightlife, Clubs

PHD Terrace

Midtown West

This one's a team effort. While the weather remains chilly, order this 15-pound boozy hot chocolate that's meant to serve 10. This modern play on red velvet cake is made with Valrhona dark chocolate and comes with many fluffy marshmallows. $125.

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