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The 13 Best Restaurants to Host a Birthday Dinner in NYC, According to Our Editors

Good vibes, great food

birthday dinner nyc: table of people toasting with wine glasses
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New York City is a food destination, so it’s no surprise there are plenty of spots worth celebrating your birthday at. (You’re turning 29…again? Congrats!) Whether you’re in the mood for an intimate meal or a large party with all your friends and family, these 13 restaurants bring the celebratory vibes and, most importantly, delicious food and drinks. From a charming Italian-Southern spot in Brooklyn to a Jamaican café in the East Village, these are our editor’s favorite places to have a birthday dinner in NYC.

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1. Dudley’s

  • Location: 85 Orchard St (Lower East Side)
  • Reservation: OpenTable or email for groups larger than 10

This LES gem features two birthday party essentials: a gorgeous bar and the ability to accommodate 8 to 10 guests at a table. Even better, “the food is always lovely,” says PureWow associate editor Marissa Wu. “The shrimp linguine is a must, but I also love the chicken au jus, the steak and the chop salad. I usually take out-of-towners here because it hits the criteria of ‘good and cute.’”

2. Jacob’s Pickles

  • Location: 509 Amsterdam Ave (Upper West Side)
  • Reservation: Resy or email for groups larger than 11

If you haven’t yet enjoyed a bite at this UWS establishment, let associate editor Chelsea Candelario convince you to host your next fête there: “The portions are massive, so it’s perfect to do your own unofficial family-style with a big group. They are obviously known for their pickles, but I can’t stop thinking about their Southern BLT. So good!” They’ll even take online reservations for up to 11 people.

3. Catch

  • Location: 21 9th Ave (Meatpacking)
  • Reservation: OpenTable or inquire for groups larger than 14

Assistant editor Destinee Scott speaks highly of this Meatpacking District restaurant: “Even if your group just wants to go for the desserts,” she says, “they’re not just delicious, they’re an experience.” The restaurant is known for their seafood selection and shareables, but Scott mentions that they have plenty of satisfying options for non-seafood eaters like herself.

4. Puglia

  • Location: 189 Hester St (Little Italy)
  • Reservation: 212-966-6006 or DM (Instagram or Facebook)

With two private dining rooms, $50 prix fixe menu options and bottomless drinks, this 100-year-old Little Italy institution knows how to bring the party. Says editor Abby Hepworth, “I went to a birthday there four years ago and have been chasing that high ever since. Jorge and Debra play piano and sing all the classics while you dine on Italian staples and lots of wine. It is perfection.”

5. Oti

  • Location: 40 Clinton Street (Lower East Side)
  • Reservation: Tock

This intimate restaurant serves up contemporary Romanian small plates, and can seat tables of up to nine guests. Wu loves it as a pre- or post-game spot to whet your appetite or wind down the night. “It has great drinks, and the chef’s artistry shows so much in all the presentation of the dishes.” Think mussels steeped in miso-beer broth, burrata filled with Romanian cheese and herbs and sarmale, which are traditional cabbage rolls filled with pork.

6. Miss Lily’s

  • Location: 109 Avenue A (East Village)
  • Reservation: Resy or email for groups larger than 10

Nothing says “birthday party” quite like a restaurant that turns into an after-hours dance club. Director of brand content Roberta Fiorito loves Miss Lily’s for the “excellent Jamaican food and great music.” The menu features modern renditions of island specialties like jerk chicken, oxtail and curried goat. For drinks, pick from the expansive rum bar or order a pitcher of cocktails for the table.

7. Kashkaval Garden

  • Location: 852 9th Ave (Hell’s Kitchen)
  • Reservation: Resy or email for groups larger than 12

VP of news and entertainment Philip Mutz recommends this candlelit Hell’s Kitchen spot for its shareable Mediterranean dishes—like spreads, dips and kebabs. “It has a really fun and lively atmosphere with delicious food,” he says. Order the fondue with kielbasa; you’ll never look back.

8. Briciola

  • Location: 370 W 51st St (Midtown/Hell’s Kitchen)
  • Reservation: OpenTable or inquire for groups larger than 7

Another place Mutz likes for birthday parties is this cozy Italian wine bar, which serves up “delicious Italian food” coupled with a great wine list and super friendly staff. The space has a long communal table that makes it ideal for big groups and private events, plus all the dishes are under $20.

9. Uluh

  • Location: 152 2nd Ave (East Village)
  • Reservation: 917-261-5963

For Chinese banquet food in an elevated yet relaxed environment, Wu recommends this East Village tea house. “You NEED the crab fried rice,” she says. “I love doing Chinese [for birthdays] because to me, celebrations are always about family-style meals, and that’s the only way you eat (properly) at a Chinese restaurant. The decor is beautiful, and you’ll eat well here, which is really all that matters.”

10. KYU

  • Location: 324 Lafayette St (Noho)
  • Reservation: Resy or email for groups larger than 11

“I had my last birthday dinner at KYU and it was amazing,” says executive managing editor Catrina Yohay of this elevated, Asian-inspired barbecue spot. “The food is deliciously unexpected and the cocktails are *chef’s kiss,* plus the events team was accommodating of the multiple dietary restrictions in my 18-person party.” And with mood lighting, velvet booths and an open kitchen, the ambiance is everything you’d want for a celebratory night out. The menu is always changing, but some staples Yohay says you cannot skip are the crispy rice, stone pot Thai fried rice, duck breast “burnt ends” and beef short ribs. Wash it all down with a pink puppy cocktail and end the night with the iconic coconut cake, trust.

11. Somtum Der

  • Location: 85 Avenue A (East Village)
  • Reservation: Resy; 212-260-8570 or email for groups larger than 4

“This is Thai that goes way beyond pad thai and pineapple fried rice,” says Wu. The “casual but delicious” restaurant is best enjoyed family-style, she says, so order a bunch of entrees and plan on sharing. Whatever you do, don’t skip the papaya salad (the house specialty) or the lemongrass martini.

12. Popina

  • Location: 127 Columbia Street (Columbia Street Waterfront/Cobble Hill)
  • Reservation: Resy or inquire for groups larger than 6

Italian meets Southern fare at this charming Brooklyn restaurant, which has both indoor and outdoor dining and comes highly recommended from senior food editor Katherine Gillen. “The menu is small but nothing disappoints, from fresh seasonal pastas to the perennial favorite hot chicken Milanese.” Not to mention, the rotating selection of cocktails and extensive wine list will please all party-goers.

13. Little Maven

  • Location: 30 W 18th St (Chelsea)
  • Reservation: Resy or 212-320-8111; must call for groups larger than 8

Newly opened in late 2023, the menu of this Chelsea spot (which, full disclaimer, is part-owned by Gary Vaynerchuck, whose company VaynerX owns PureWow) features classic flavors with a twist (think tuna tartare cannoli, steamed black bass with green Thai curry and beet salad with pomegranate and pistachio) and highly Instagrammable maximalist décor. The menu changes frequently, but if you’re getting dessert, assistant editor Delia Curtis highly recommends getting the chocolate mousse from the ’80s: “It was something I’ll be dreaming about forever,” they say.


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Senior Food Editor

Katherine Gillen is PureWow’s senior food editor. She’s a writer, recipe developer and food stylist with a degree in culinary arts and professional experience in New York City...