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New York City, often referred to as a concrete jungle, gets a little child-like innocence come holiday season.
The Macy’s in Herald Square greets visitors with a reminder to “Believe” in white lights after they exit Penn Station. The old “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” tale plays out in the window display below. Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord & Taylor and Bloomingdales also put on fantastical displays that captivate kids from one to 92.
At the center of it all is the tree in Rockefeller Center: The nation’s largest and most famous holiday tree, it draws visitors from around the globe and serves as a backdrop for selfies, ice skating and proposals.
And, for festive foodies, these four restaurants, which are a hop, skip and jump away, pair nicely with a trip to see the tree.
The prices are high (see: $9 potato chips as a side dish), but that doesn’t stop tree-goers from taking the bait at this upscale seafood restaurant. Even when the weather outside is frightful, opting for a cold sushi platter is a delightful option. The fish tastes like it was just plucked from the Atlantic. Other main courses, like the moist jumbo lump crab cakes and juicy grilled black Angus filet mignon, help visitors warm up. So does the deep wine list, which includes a 2016 Albariño from Bedell Cellars.
The skaters in the rink at Rockefeller Center may be wobbly, but the food served inside this fancy French brasserie is anything but. Guests start their evenings with a serving of flaky cheese puffs in lieu of bread. Cooked to perfection and served with a side of indulgent smashed potatoes, the grilled octopus appetizer is a noted winner and the steaks are known to be bloody delicious. It’s easy to fill up fast here, but the rich, caramelized crème brûlée is worth saving room for. As for the service, it’s as smooth as the wood-and-velvet interior.
Founded in 2015 by then-28-year-old vegan chef Chloe Coscarelli and Samantha Wasser, this spot comes with all the trimmings one would expect from a Millennial-run establishment: Instagram-ready dishes and a Guac burger. But tree-goers of a different generation shouldn’t let the restaurant’s trendy vibe dissuade them. The Guac burger has even wooed staunch carnivores. Made with a black bean-quinoa-sweet potato patty, it’s topped with corn salsa, lettuce, tomato, onion, tortilla strips and yes, guacamole. Air baked sweet potato fries make for a healthy-ish side, and desserts include vegan cookies and cupcakes.
Walking into this spot, which should not be confused with the popular Mediterranean restaurant in Roslyn, is like stepping into an oasis in the middle of chaos. Located right in Rockefeller Center, everything from the furnishing to the tablecloths and china is white, giving it a pristine, airy ambiance. The food also tastes like it was made on island time — think large portions of fish like wild shrimp and lobster so fresh guests feel they’re sitting by the water.