Mini Holiday Food Guide- Rockefeller Center

NYC is a wonderful and magical place to visit around the holiday season. The Rockefeller Center tree is gorgeous, all the hotels are decked out in red and gold, holiday pop-up shops fill the parks- what could be better?

Unfortunately you have to be prepared for what I can only describe as controlled chaos. You will be wrangled like cattle to see the tree, stand in line at a Starbucks for 30 minutes, not for a caffeine fix but to use the single smelly bathroom and you’ll probably be so pooped out from all of your shopping and touring that you’ll see a TGI Friday’s or Olive Garden and think it’s an oasis in the storm. Two hours later (because you’ll have to wait for a table like all of the other tourists who thought the line at McDonald’s and Subway were too long) you’ll wonder why the food and service were so crappy and suddenly your wallet is empty as well.

It’s the holidays in NYC folks and one must be prepared to weather the season. If you’re from the city you should know this and already be prepared but for you out of towners here’s a few holiday food recommendations to make your stay a little more jolly.

Rockefeller Center/ Times Square

Family Meal - Bills Bar and Burger
The location only a block from the tree can’t be beat and the laid back friendly service, reasonable prices and awesome burgers pretty much seal the deal. They have a separate kids menu with tater tots and chicken fingers as well as vegetarian friendly options like fish taco’s and one of the city’s best veggie burgers. They also have cocktails, wine and an extensive beer list. Believe you’ll need a drink after braving the tree crowds with the family. Oh and they take reservations- Bam!

Bills Burger Bar Review

Cheap Adventurous Meal- Sake Bar Hagi
Hidden down some stairs right outside the madness of Rockefeller Center and Times Square is this cute little Izakaya. Don’t expect a quiet relaxed meal however- it’s loud, noisy and fun. Order some skewers of meat, yellowtail collar and a couple Sapporo’s and enjoy the experience. It’s good for groups as well but the space is tiny so if you have more than 2 people go right when they open or expect a long wait. However they will take your phone number and call when a table is available. Walk over to Jimmy’s Corner and have a couple drinks while you wait.

Sake Bar Hagi Review

Upscale Fancy Meal- The Modern
Located inside the Modern Museum of Art this restaurant exudes both the arts and fine dining. Expect flawless French cuisine, an extensive wine and cocktail list and the impeccable service expected of all of Danny Meyers restaurants. Don’t skip the desserts which are just as delicious as they are beautiful.

The Modern Bar Room Review

Classic Steakhouse with a Twist- Quality Meats
Right around the corner from the Plaza Hotel this steakhouse creates the most delicious Steak Tartare I’ve had to date. Not that you need to have tartare, all the classic cuts of meat are there as well with delicious sides and whimsical desserts. The Twist? Although it’s certainly a steakhouse the ambiance is much softer and more refined than the old school guys. Imagine powering through a Porterhouse and still feeling elegant as you’re doing so- that’s Quality Meats for sure.

Quality Meats review

Chocolate Treats- Cause you're Gonna Need Something Sweet

Good- Lindt Chocolate
Lindt Chocolate is sold everywhere now and it’s for good reason. The smooth, creamy truffles are wonderful and at the shop on 5th Avenue you can always find a new flavor and usually score a free sample at the door.

Better- Teuscher Chocolate
Right in Rockefeller Center this little shop explodes with bright colors and little figurines all about Switzerland, but don’t forget about the chocolates. The truffles and pralines have the same creaminess as the Lindt but with a richer, more authentic flavor.

Best- La Maison du Chocolat
Just walking into La Maison you will know at once that it’s a different level of chocolate shop. The well suited staff and trays of perfectly shaped ganaches and pralines almost make me feel like I’ve been transported to a fancy Parisian boutique. The Figaro is one of my favorite but don’t leave without trying out a pastry as well. The Romeo, a Coffee Chocolate Macaron, is the perfect pick me up after a long day of shopping.

La Maison du Chocolat

Teuscher Fifth Avenue


kathyarnold said…
Two of the ladies at work are going into the city next week to see the tree,etc. They wanted a restaurant near the tree and had no idea where to eat. What great ideas- and they loved the mention of a chocolate treat.
Roze said…
Glad I could help Kathy! I'm hoping to do a few more holiday related posts soon. It just gets so crazy here at Christmas. Tell them to make a reservation on opentable so they don't need to wait.