Thanksgiving in NYC is an unusually high-spirited time of the year. You’ve got the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Friendsgiving festivities and eating lots and lots of the best pies. Even though your tiny apartment alone is a good enough excuse to not host a big dinner, what makes dining out even better is that some of the city’s best restaurants in NYC are open on Thanksgiving (some serving turkey, others not so much). See a list of our favorites below.
RECOMMENDED: Full guide to Thanksgiving in NYC
Best restaurants open on Thanksgiving
The old-world charm of well-worn communal tables, dangling copper cookware and flickering lamps may help explain why a 20-year-old restaurant is still tough to get into on a Saturday night. Seasonal produce shapes the menu of executive chef Joel Hough. Dunk the warm country bread in Umbrian olive oils produced exclusively for Il Buco. You’ll have no trouble finding a wine to match your meal; Il Buco’s list is one of the city’s best.
K-BBQ has risen through the culinary ranks, bringing fine-dining finesse to the crowd-pleasing practice. This sleek Flatiron District effort from Simon Kim of the Michelin-starred Piora is the latest in the upswing. Set 10 blocks south of K-Town proper, the restaurant is deliberately billed as a “Korean steakhouse,” a distinction felt in its swank decor and starters you’d more likely find at an all-American meat temple than at a bulgogi grill.
The dishes at Ferris are built on creativity. Set beneath the MADE Hotel, the sleek rustic-chic decor gives nothing away in terms of the cuisine (which is technically new American). Hygge vibes flow from the low ceiling, chunky wood beams and faded blue cushioned benches, working in tandem with the open kitchen and floor-to-ceiling glass windows in a space where even the crowd is polished.
By the time you score a seat at the Polo Bar, fashion mogul Ralph Lauren’s gold-trimmed restaurant adjacent to his Fifth Avenue Polo flagship, you’ll be champing at the bit. But keep calling, if only to get an eyeful of the beautiful, albeit relentless, space. (The equestrian theme practically bashes you over the head with a polo mallet.) The menu is as classic American as anything Lauren has ever put down a runway, with a premium placed on comfort over luxury.
Chef Chris Santos (Stanton Social) brings his globally inflected small plates to an another AvroKO-designed fantasyland on the Lower East Side. A curated thrift store in front hawks vintage jewelry, boom boxes and guitars; a gigantic one-story crystal chandelier fronts a grand, curving staircase; and the main dining room opens up under a massive skylight. Though the interior aims to dazzle, the food offers comforting flavors.
New York's French-food revival is alive and well. This provençal outfit has a Mediterranean-hopping menu laced with North African and Middle Eastern influences. Earthy dishes can include ratatouille tarte; za'atar-spiced grilled lamb with yogurt vinaigrette; and a bouillabaisse en croûte with monkfish, baby octopus and rouille. Colorful tagines, employed for dishes like chicken with bulgur and harissa, line the shelves of the rustic space, walled with hand-painted tiles.
In a culinary landscape increasingly dominated by meat-free fare, steakhouses find themselves in unchartered waters. Relevancy – and appeal – are no longer a given, but establishments like American Cut rise to the challenge. Now in its second Manhattan location on E 56th Street, Marc Forgione’s successful chain delivers an indelible steakhouse experience with thoughtful, contemporary dishes that deliver mass appeal.
The Wythe, Williamsburg’s first blockbuster hotel, might seem to some like the beginning of the end for the neighborhood with its rooftop bar drawing long lines on the weekends, its hot scene of a ground-floor restaurant packing in pilgrims from across the East River. And it might have been, if not for the man behind those eating and drinking establishments. That restaurant, Reynards, is the brainchild of Andrew Tarlow, a restaurateur as responsible as any for Brooklyn’s culinary ascendancy.
For 75 years, the gilded dining room nestled inside Central Park was a New York hallmark. Then, a pair of Philadelphia crepe-makers, Jim Caiola and David Salama, revamped the landmark as an urban farmhouse decorated with wood-beam ceilings, leather-covered tables and multiple hearths.
Chef LaurenceEdelman (Barbuto, Mermaid Inn) converted the Braeburn space—now outfitted with a vintage crystal-and-wrought-iron chandelier, white-painted brick walls and steer horns—into this New American restaurant. Expect composed plates like lamb tartare with potatoes, anchovy and Parmesan, and crusty brandade with olives and toast.