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Where to Eat on New Year’s Day in New York City

The best restaurants for your first meal of 2021

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Yes, New Year’s Eve was different with large parties off the table, indoor dining verboten and an outdoor curfew of 10 p.m. But that doesn’t mean welcoming in 2021 and toasting to its arrival has to be quiet. With temperatures predicted to climb to the mid 40s, and little else going on, taking advantage of outdoor dining is an option for every meal for the first day of the new year. Whether you want to launch the year with a brunch of omelets, devour pizza in the late afternoon, or settle in to an evening seafood feast, there is a restaurant with an inviting heated enclosure ready to welcome you. Below are some options to kick off the new year.

NYC restaurants are currently limited to outdoor dining, along with takeout and delivery. The type of service offered is indicated on each map point. However, this should not be taken as endorsement for dining out, as there are still safety concerns: for updated information on coronavirus cases in your area, please visit the NYC Health Department’s website. Studies indicate that there is a lower exposure risk when outdoors, but the level of risk involved with patio dining is contingent on restaurants following strict social distancing and other safety guidelines.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

1. Bella Blu

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967 Lexington Ave
New York, NY 10021
(212) 988-4624
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Start with sautéed baby artichokes with pistachios or sea scallops with wild mushrooms in a balsamic glaze and move on to spaghetti and lobster, papardelle in lamb ragu, or whole Dover sole at this popular Upper East Side spot, which has just built a new heated enclosure and will be open for lunch and dinner.

2. Avra Madison Estiatorio

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14 E 60th St
New York, NY 10022
(212) 937-0100
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The buzzy Hellenic spot added five heated individual greenhouses to its trellised outdoor seating area located just off Central Park. Crispy octopus and classic tomato and feta salad are great choices to kick off the new year, and fresh fish is available by the pound. For those who prefer meat, the lamb chops are perfectly charred. Though dinner can be steep, lunch is a bargain at $29.50, even on New Year’s Day.

3. La Grande Boucherie

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145 W 53rd St
New York, NY 10019
(212) 510-7714
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This latest location of the French steakhouse opened in Midtown West last month, and the outdoor space has a 40-foot high glass ceiling with open sides and heated floors. Brunch will feature raw bar items as well as prime rib, escargots and a selection of eggs dishes. Plates for two are easy to share, including Chateaubriand, dry-aged tomahawk rib-eye, and broiled lobster.

4. Szechuan Mountain House

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3916 Prince St g03
Queens, NY 11354
(718) 888-7893
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This Flushing spot has been popular with its enclosed tent and a heater at each table. Among the signature dishes are the classic ma po tofu, green spicy bass (swimming in a soy-based sauce and showered with chopped chives), and diced chicken with lotus (the house-pickled root gives a wonderful sour contrast to the heat). The mix of jasmine and sticky rice is a perfect conduit for feisty sauces, and for those who like things a little milder, the kitchen is happy to adjust.

Szechuan Mountain House grilled beef ribs Jean Schwarzwalder

5. American Brass Restaurant

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2-01 50th Ave
Queens, NY 11109
(718) 806-1106
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The new American bistro just installed 22 heated greenhouses with stellar views of the Manhattan skyline. Try a brunch of buttermilk fried chicken and warm sticky buns with salted caramel, or a veggie omelet if you are sticking your new year’s resolution. Dinner options include day boat scallops with blood orange sabayon and leeks; and a short rib grilled cheese sandwich with tomato jam.

A blue plate with a roasted oyster tentacle on it with some white sauce spread on top and pieces of vegetables around it. American Brass [Official]

6. Socarrat Paella Bar

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259 W 19th St
New York, NY 10011
(212) 462-1000
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Kick off 20201 in a beautiful heated back patio reminiscent of a Spanish garden where the paella is the dish to order. A brunch-worthy bacon, egg and cheese version and veggie rendition is being offered along with the more classic chicken and chorizo or seafood varieties, and there are three different sangrias to complete a festive meal. For those who want to stray from the paella theme, huevos a la flamenco — a baked egg casserole with chorizo, potatoes, artichokes, and fava beans — is a tasty option.

A large dish filled with turkey paella sits on a wooden table with six smaller dishes filled with various sides surrounding it Socarrat Paella Bar [Official]

7. Rahi

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60 Greenwich Ave
New York, NY 10011
(212) 373-8900
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Artisinal Indian cuisine and an outdoor grill are the draws at this West Village spot with creative regional fair from chef Chintan Pandya. For brunch, check out coconut uttapam waffles made from lentil and rice, served with curry leaf chutney, maple syrup and a choice of fried eggs or chicken. There’s also a Bombay sandwich made with Beyond Meat, onion, tomato and green chutney.  Dinner options include a masala lamb burger and gobi korma with cauliflower, cashew, yogurt and cardamom.

A wooden table with a few dishes place on it each containing food Tanay Warerkar/Eater

8. Lafayette Grand Café & Bakery

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380 Lafayette St
New York, NY 10003
(212) 533-3000
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Twelve cozy new individual chalets with “fireplace heaters’’ and soft furnishing are now open at Andrew Carmellini’s brasserie in Noho. Brunch dishes include lemon pancakes with fresh berries; croque madame with house-cured ham and fried egg; and gravlax Benedict on an everything brioche. Though dinner is price fixed at $125, the same menu is offered at a 4 p.m. seating for $85.

9. Ainslie

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76 Ainslie St
Brooklyn, NY 11211
(347) 725-3400
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You don’t have to choose between breakfast or pizza at this Williamsburg Italian beer and wine garden because a hybrid of the two is offered here with pancetta and a sunny side up egg.  Brunch also features French toast and eggs baked in a spicy tomato sauce, while dinner highlights include housemade lasagna, hangar steak and chicken Milanese. Heated seating is available in the garden or rooftop as well as on the tented sidewalk.

10. The Rockaway Hotel

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108-10 Rockaway Beach Dr
Queens, NY 11694
(718) 474-1216
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The new hotel will be serving an upbeat brunch with live music in its fully ventilated winter beach-themed dining area on the pool deck, which is filled with candles, Sherpa throws and pampas grass. Choose raw bar platters, bowls of everything from overnight oats to chia pudding, roasted squash salad, or a burger with ground beef and bone marrow; then wash it down with an espresso martini.

An outdoor seating area consists of several wooden tables accompanied by chairs that are coated in soft faux fur The Rockaway Hotel [Official]

1. Bella Blu

967 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10021

Start with sautéed baby artichokes with pistachios or sea scallops with wild mushrooms in a balsamic glaze and move on to spaghetti and lobster, papardelle in lamb ragu, or whole Dover sole at this popular Upper East Side spot, which has just built a new heated enclosure and will be open for lunch and dinner.

967 Lexington Ave
New York, NY 10021

2. Avra Madison Estiatorio

14 E 60th St, New York, NY 10022

The buzzy Hellenic spot added five heated individual greenhouses to its trellised outdoor seating area located just off Central Park. Crispy octopus and classic tomato and feta salad are great choices to kick off the new year, and fresh fish is available by the pound. For those who prefer meat, the lamb chops are perfectly charred. Though dinner can be steep, lunch is a bargain at $29.50, even on New Year’s Day.

14 E 60th St
New York, NY 10022

3. La Grande Boucherie

145 W 53rd St, New York, NY 10019

This latest location of the French steakhouse opened in Midtown West last month, and the outdoor space has a 40-foot high glass ceiling with open sides and heated floors. Brunch will feature raw bar items as well as prime rib, escargots and a selection of eggs dishes. Plates for two are easy to share, including Chateaubriand, dry-aged tomahawk rib-eye, and broiled lobster.

145 W 53rd St
New York, NY 10019

4. Szechuan Mountain House

3916 Prince St g03, Queens, NY 11354
Szechuan Mountain House grilled beef ribs Jean Schwarzwalder

This Flushing spot has been popular with its enclosed tent and a heater at each table. Among the signature dishes are the classic ma po tofu, green spicy bass (swimming in a soy-based sauce and showered with chopped chives), and diced chicken with lotus (the house-pickled root gives a wonderful sour contrast to the heat). The mix of jasmine and sticky rice is a perfect conduit for feisty sauces, and for those who like things a little milder, the kitchen is happy to adjust.

3916 Prince St g03
Queens, NY 11354

5. American Brass Restaurant

2-01 50th Ave, Queens, NY 11109
A blue plate with a roasted oyster tentacle on it with some white sauce spread on top and pieces of vegetables around it. American Brass [Official]

The new American bistro just installed 22 heated greenhouses with stellar views of the Manhattan skyline. Try a brunch of buttermilk fried chicken and warm sticky buns with salted caramel, or a veggie omelet if you are sticking your new year’s resolution. Dinner options include day boat scallops with blood orange sabayon and leeks; and a short rib grilled cheese sandwich with tomato jam.

2-01 50th Ave
Queens, NY 11109

6. Socarrat Paella Bar

259 W 19th St, New York, NY 10011
A large dish filled with turkey paella sits on a wooden table with six smaller dishes filled with various sides surrounding it Socarrat Paella Bar [Official]

Kick off 20201 in a beautiful heated back patio reminiscent of a Spanish garden where the paella is the dish to order. A brunch-worthy bacon, egg and cheese version and veggie rendition is being offered along with the more classic chicken and chorizo or seafood varieties, and there are three different sangrias to complete a festive meal. For those who want to stray from the paella theme, huevos a la flamenco — a baked egg casserole with chorizo, potatoes, artichokes, and fava beans — is a tasty option.

259 W 19th St
New York, NY 10011

7. Rahi

60 Greenwich Ave, New York, NY 10011
A wooden table with a few dishes place on it each containing food Tanay Warerkar/Eater

Artisinal Indian cuisine and an outdoor grill are the draws at this West Village spot with creative regional fair from chef Chintan Pandya. For brunch, check out coconut uttapam waffles made from lentil and rice, served with curry leaf chutney, maple syrup and a choice of fried eggs or chicken. There’s also a Bombay sandwich made with Beyond Meat, onion, tomato and green chutney.  Dinner options include a masala lamb burger and gobi korma with cauliflower, cashew, yogurt and cardamom.

60 Greenwich Ave
New York, NY 10011

8. Lafayette Grand Café & Bakery

380 Lafayette St, New York, NY 10003

Twelve cozy new individual chalets with “fireplace heaters’’ and soft furnishing are now open at Andrew Carmellini’s brasserie in Noho. Brunch dishes include lemon pancakes with fresh berries; croque madame with house-cured ham and fried egg; and gravlax Benedict on an everything brioche. Though dinner is price fixed at $125, the same menu is offered at a 4 p.m. seating for $85.

380 Lafayette St
New York, NY 10003

9. Ainslie

76 Ainslie St, Brooklyn, NY 11211

You don’t have to choose between breakfast or pizza at this Williamsburg Italian beer and wine garden because a hybrid of the two is offered here with pancetta and a sunny side up egg.  Brunch also features French toast and eggs baked in a spicy tomato sauce, while dinner highlights include housemade lasagna, hangar steak and chicken Milanese. Heated seating is available in the garden or rooftop as well as on the tented sidewalk.

76 Ainslie St
Brooklyn, NY 11211

10. The Rockaway Hotel

108-10 Rockaway Beach Dr, Queens, NY 11694
An outdoor seating area consists of several wooden tables accompanied by chairs that are coated in soft faux fur The Rockaway Hotel [Official]

The new hotel will be serving an upbeat brunch with live music in its fully ventilated winter beach-themed dining area on the pool deck, which is filled with candles, Sherpa throws and pampas grass. Choose raw bar platters, bowls of everything from overnight oats to chia pudding, roasted squash salad, or a burger with ground beef and bone marrow; then wash it down with an espresso martini.

108-10 Rockaway Beach Dr
Queens, NY 11694

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