It may be a cliche, but New York City is at its most beautiful during the holidays. Every year, my friends and I reserve a restaurant for a festive group of 20-25. We have been fortunate enough to find a number of restaurants with the attributes--moderate price,
cozy ambiance, private/semi-private dining space--to make our annual holiday feasts memorable. Since we typically hold this event in mid-December, we're finalizing the details for this year's event now.
Last year's dinner was a Greek feast held at Kellari Taverna. Because this restaurant is in the Theater District, we did not get the cozy ambiance but the food was solid and the prix-fixe large party menu was pretty comprehensive. The starters included stuffed grape leaves and lamb meatballs and there was a nice selection of mains including fish, meat and vegetarian options. The dessert tray included classics like Baklava and the best part of the evening was the endless bottles of red and white house wine. Of course, nothing says "festive" like champagne so we retired to Flute Gramercy
for a night cap.
P.S. For suggestions on holiday sparkling wines, check out my blog post, Bring on the Sparkling Wines!
Photo of reasonably prices Greek food in Athens by slug
One of my favorite holiday meals was at a Sardinian restaurant named Cannonau. Sadly, this East Village gem was recently shuttered and replaced with some sort of British gastropub nonsense. It was a night to remember with wonderful food and wine, soft candelight and snow gently falling outside. Italian restaurants are good choices since they typically offer prix fixe and family style dining options for large groups.
Our most high energy holiday dinner event was in 2009 at another East Village Italian restaurant--Barbone. We were seated in a semi-private area with one other large party and the servers and host could not have been more accommodating. They even allowed us to make some substitutions to the standard prix fixe menu. After dinner, we walked through a blizzard to a favorite hangout Louis 649. I love that a foot+ of snow does not put a crimp in NYC nightlife--I love this town!
Protip: If you're struggling for restaurant suggestions, check out Eatery Expert's "Ask an Expert" feature. Just fill out the form with some key features of your party (budget, party size, neighborhood) and a real live person will e-mail 3-4 options (typically within 48h).
Posted by hillypill (Gwynn Turner)