Our Edible Holiday Guide to New York City

Season's Eatings!

New York City in December has so much more to offer than the famed tree lighting and the coordinated Rockettes. In fact, every New York borough does the holidays a little differently. So even if you've braved the bone-chattering cold before, you should re-book your plane tickets and pack your stretchy pants because this list of eateries and treats will have you savoring every corner of the Big Apple.

Jaded New Yorkers, we're looking at you too. These culinary gems might even bring that New York City twinkle back to your eye.  

Already have plans (or maybe you're just snowed in)? We have DIY holiday cheer for you too and recipes galore below. 

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Bien Cuit

Bien Cuit, a popular Brooklyn bakery known for fresh-baked bread and award-winning pastries, has given a classic Christmas dessert a vibrant, citrusy makeover. This millennial pink bûches de noël will turn heads left and right, so sneak away from the biting cold and grab a slice ($8) or pick up a whole cake and wow your friends with your good taste ($35). 

Did we mention this cake is grapefruit, almond, gin and labne flavored? *swoon*
120 Smith St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

Try making Bien Cuit's citrus bûche at home. Find the recipe here

Union Square Holiday Market

If you're looking for a place to warm up with mulled wine, shop for last-minute gifts and snack on lebkuchen — look no further. 

The best way to spend a few minutes or a few hours every day until December 24th.
Union Square Park, Southern Side


Shalom Japan

All year 'round Shalom Japan's owners, Aaron Israel and Sawako Okochi, turn out fantastic Japanese-Jewish creations, but the holidays are a unique time of year for this dynamic duo. The reason? They make an outstanding potato okonomiyaki (read: latke) topped with salmon roe and bonito flakes.

Get an okonomi-latke before they're gone.
310 S 4th St, Brooklyn, NY 11211


Lillie's Victorian Establishment

Get away from the cold while enjoying a frosty pint at this cozily decorated bar. When not dressed in its holiday regalia, this drinking hole has British socialite vibes — actress Lillie Langtry inspired the furnishings. 

No need to haul a tree home, just enjoy the one here. Don't worry, they're open late.
Open late at 13 East 17th street


TuArepa Pizza Cafe

You can never go wrong with a tamale, which is why you have to try TuArepa Pizza Cafe's Venezuelan Christmas tamales. They filled a banana leaf wrapper with a tasty traditional corn dough, stuffed with olives, raisins, onions, bell peppers and stewed meat. One will fill you up, but it'll be hard to leave the store with less than ten — they're that good.

Try their hallacas for just $9 each in Forest Hills.
100-22 67th Ave, Forest Hills, NY 1137

Pete’s Tavern

Were you too lazy to put out the lights this year? Check out Pete's Tavern, which opened in 1864, where six people spent three days covering this bar in twinkle lights. Grab a drink, dry out and admire the handy work. If you ask nicely, they might even give you some decorating tips.

Stop by for a drink, stay for the mesmerizing light show.
129 E 18th St, New York, NY 10003


One Girl Cookies

There is nary a day when chomping down on an adorable miniature gingerbread house wouldn't put you in a better mood, which is why One Girl Cookies is selling these palm-sized sugar-crusted homes for $12 a pop.

Save yourself the hassle of construction (or worse, renovation!) and buy turn-key instead.
68 Dean St. Brooklyn NY 11201
33 Main St Brooklyn NY 11201
Industry City, The Food Hall
254 36th Street Brooklyn, NY 11232

Miracle on 9th Street Pop-Up Bar

For a complete Christmas experience, look no further than Mace Bar's holiday pop-up: Miracle on 9th Street. Complete with baubles and seasonally appropriate cocktails, this one-month-a-year bar draws big crowds. 

Catch this pop-up bar until Christmas Eve. 
649 E 9th St, New York, NY 10009

Make Your Own Miracle Cocktails

Cozy up by the fire and recreate one of Mace Bar's signature Christmas concoctions at home. 

Try the Snowball Old Fashioned and the Bad Santa.

Artuso Pastry Shop

If you're looking for a day trip within New York City limits, head to Arthur Avenue. The Bronx's Little Italy decorates its streets with gusto, and the shops are brimming with all sorts of old-school Italian delicacies. The one not-to-miss dish, however, is the Stuffoli (hello, sticky-sweet, perfect mini donuts) from Artuso. If this picture hasn't sold you already, try imagining biting into those Sicilian spheres of fried dough bathed in honey and topped with sprinkles.

This is a must-have. 
670 E 187th St, Bronx, NY 10458

Rolf’s German Restaurant

Rolf's is an eccentric schnitzel stop any time of year, but from September to end of May their Christmas decor is in full swing. Any Grinch's heart will grow three sizes after setting foot through the door.  

Fill up on German delicacies while marveling at the decor.
281 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10010

Pink Canary Desserts

Just when you thought you would never find a fruit-filled cake you like, this Jamaican Black Cake is here to save the day. Loaded with booze-soaked fruit and healthy additions of port and rum, a slice of this dense and delicious layer-cake will have you stocking up on extra slices for last-minute gifts.

Pick up a slice at the Long Island City bakery for just $5. 
1311 Jackson Ave, Long Island City, NY 11101

Can't make it to New York? Try making Pink Canary's Cake yourself. Find the recipe here!

Don Paco Lopez Panaderia

Picking up one of these Rosca de Reyes is the perfect way to keep the holiday spirit in full swing. Traditionally made for Epiphany (12 days after Christmas), these cakes can be enjoyed anytime come January. 

Starting at $20 a cake, these sweet crowns will wow your friends and family. 
4703 4th Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11220


The Eddy

Sometimes all you want during the chaos of the holidays is an excellent dinner in a cozy restaurant: enter The Eddy. This sweet East Village spot is serving up food with Hungarian influences, but the one dish not to miss while carb-loading for the impending winter cold? The lángos, a savory fried dough that will put all other carb-cravings to shame.

Come for dinner, eat all the lángos.
342 E 6th St, New York, NY 10003

Four & Twenty Blackbirds

Pie season isn't over yet, as evidenced by this Egg 'N' Grogg Pie with a chocolate-y crust. Four & Twenty Blackbirds has been putting clever spins on pie for quite some time now, but few rival the ingenuity of this holiday classic. Buy a whole pie for $42, no judgment if you're not planning to share.

If you don't think you can finish a whole pie, head to one of their locations for a slice. 
439 3rd Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11215

634 Dean St, Brooklyn, NY 11238

Looking for a festive dessert? Make this classic Brooklyn pie at home. Find the recipe here.

Columbus Circle Holiday Market

Quick weekend in NYC for a Broadway show? Good news, the Columbus Circle Holiday Market is just a stone's throw away and packed with all the best holiday vendors for eating on the go or last-minute gift shopping. 

What's better than dinner and a show? A holiday market and a show. 
Columbus Circle, 59th Street and Central Park West


Patisserie Tomoko

The classic bûches de noël gets a green tea upgrade, complete with a snow day scene. 

Starting at $40 for a 6-inch cake, you better believe this is a perfect contribution to Christmas dinner. 
568 Union Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11211

Breads Bakery

Stop by Breads Bakery for a real Hanukkah treat: sufganiyot. This is a great way to start the day — all eight nights of Hanukkah — or an easy answer to a sweets craving. Whatever your reason for buying one ($3.50 each), you should be buying six ($18) so you can share with friends. This year, they're stuffing these fried pillows of joy with either strawberry, chocolate, dulce de leche or lemon.

Fill up on sufganiyot until December 20th. 
18 E 16th St, New York, NY 10003


Rudy’s Bakery & Cafe

It isn't the holidays until there is a stollen (a traditional German sweet bread studded with dried fruit and spices) on the counter for slicing. This loaf may look humble, but the flavor — especially when quickly pan-fried in butter — will change everything you thought you knew about sweet bread.

Great for gifting or for eating all on your own, one pound loaves start at just $15.
905 Seneca Ave, Ridgewood, NY 11385


All photos courtesy of Donny Tsang

About Hannah Petertil

A known candy hoarder and well-eaten traveler, Hannah gravitates toward grocery stores, where scoping out local favorites and ogling bulk bins could pass as her day job.