16 Cozy Restaurants in NYC to Beat the Winter Blues
It is comforting knowing that even in the most frigid New York weather, you can always post up in a cozy restaurant, secure a seat, and make a long night out of it. Whether you're in the mood for a warm and friendly ambiance, delicious comfort food, or an intimate atmosphere, there are plenty of eateries, bars, and hybrids of the two that recently opened in the 212 and 718 to check out this season. From charming Italian trattorias to inviting French bistros and futuristic-looking contemporary Asian concepts, there's a snug corner to suit every taste. Here's a sampling of some of our favorite new cozy restaurants in NYC for escaping the cold, treating yourself to a delicious meal, flirting with a server, and perhaps even overstaying your welcome.
1. Leland Eating & Drinking House, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn
Always buzzing with good energy and a hip crowd, you might recognize this Prospect Heights restaurant from being featured on Food Network's Me or the Menu. Whether seen IRL or through a camera lens, it's the pinnacle of contemporary hygge vibes, filled with white oak wood details, custom shelving, cozy banquettes, and a blend of old and new wood floors. A red sapele mahogany bar adds to Leland Eating & Drinking House's casual elegance and is a focal point of the community-driven restaurant that makes everyone feel comfortable and welcome. The space itself is divided into different rooms, providing different corners with covetable tables that come complete with branded blankets to cozy up with; meanwhile, a heated sidewalk vestibule called "The Snow Globe '' keeps guests warm as they peer out on the street. Hot fireside negronis, spiked cider, and cafe en fuegos (coffee lit on fire) can regulate your body temperature, and a menu filled with creative hits will keep your belly full. We're partial to the Charred Lemon Skillet Mussels, Mushrooms and Sourdough, and Whole Fried Fish. Restaurateur Randi Lee's also obsessed with vermouths, and his passion comes through on another special menu of fortified wines flavored with spices and herbs. When nature calls, those in the know use the darling "pink" bathroom—hiding in plain sight, it’s honestly the powder room of our dreams.
755 Dean St, Brooklyn
2. Maison Close, Soho, Manhattan
At Maison Close, which opened up over the summer, the convivial atmosphere invites guests to revel in the best of French and New York culture, creating a social dining experience that often turns into a party. Nestled in Soho's busy streets, the restaurant's name translates from French into "brothel" and offers solid French fare and supremely friendly service. Are the servers flirting with you? Maybe. But it's a welcome touch, all thanks to their charm. The restaurant's cheeky demeanor is further displayed in its cozy tufted blue dining nooks, which are raised high at the space's perimeter so you can both intimately face your date or guests and watch other patrons voyeuristically out of the corner of your eye. The space finishes off with exposed globe bulbs, high ceilings, strategic lighting, and an actual carousel horse. Guests can enjoy modernized classics like Belle Sole Meunière and Tartare de Boeuf au Couteau complemented by refreshing cocktails (the Madame Claude is a delicious mix of Grey Goose Poire Ginger, lemon and cucumber juice, and rose seltzer). For dessert, snuggle up with the Creme Caramel or the Île Flottante.
15 Watts St, New York
3. The Ivory Peacock, NoMad, Manhattan
Buzzy and intimate, The Ivory Peacock thrives off of dimmed lighting, plush seating and emerald marble accents and tables. Grab a seat at the Emerald Bar for complex, expertly-crafted and flavorful cocktails in a sophisticated atmosphere, or get cozy in one of the high top tables or elegant white booths that sit beneath an array of spectacular paintings accented by gilded frames and black walls. The expansive space also has adorable and semi-private Irish snugs and the entire space sits under pieces of history—antique chandeliers from the Waldorf Astoria New York and The NoMad Hotel, respectively. The menu to accompany you in this charming spot includes a sumptuous raw bar with guest favorites like caviar, oysters and tuna tartare. Oh, and you'll dream about the Miso Glazed Croque Monsieur sandwich, too.
38 W 26th St, New York
4. 53, Midtown, Manhattan
Mark this one down in the NYC restaurant design books, folks. The stunning new 53 restaurant from Altamarea group—the folks behind the fancy schmancy and well established Marea and Ai Fiori—serves up contemporary Asian fare just steps from the MoMa Museum. The multi-level dining experience is coziest at its street level bistro, which has a beautiful curved ceiling and modern bar practically made for intimacy. One of the intentions of the space, designed by ICRAVE, was to have “diners move through a series of ‘galleries,’ going from one scene to the next and seemingly inhabiting the artwork.” This rotating art on display curated by Friedrich Petzel will change with regularity in the space to keep thing’s interesting. Rounded booths, textured contemporary rugs, and a mix of matte and glossy materials and exceptional mood lighting make 53 glimmer by night. None of the wok dishes disappoint, but if it’s your first time, we’d put money on the xiao long bao soup dumplings, pea shoots, beef tenderloin and especially the duck clay pot.
53 W 53rd St, New York
5. Madame George, Midtown, Manhattan
Valerie’s subterranean speakeasy sister bar Madame George just opened and is decked out in faux fireplaces, an arched mirrored bar, velvet tufted seating and Art Deco influences. Slink into one of its many cozy nooks, and you’ll find yourself surrounded by dried florals and pampas, which give the space a refined feel while the low ceilings keep things cozy. There’s also a handsome, library-like room adjacent to the bar, which offers guests privacy and is well-appointed with books, a crystal chandelier and other tchotchkes. The cocktail menu is influenced and broken up thematically by NYC cocktail culture—for example, the “Subways” menu includes stirred cocktails. In contrast, the “Coney Island” menu is a take on oceanfront libations. The extensive list should be studied closely as a result and includes everything from the creative and kitschy (but delicious!) New York Bodega Sour—an everything bagel sandwich-inspired drink served in a classic NYC coffee cup. There are more classic pleasers, too, like the Sunset Stop, and even the dessert-worthy Second Place Finish which tastes like mint chocolate chip ice cream. For eats, you can chow down on a bar menu of ahi tuna, general tso’s chicken and wagyu carpaccio.
45 W 45th St, New York
6. Ivy Lounge Piano Bar, NoMad, Manhattan
Newly opened in December, this cozy rooftop locale is perfect for a romantic date with a special someone. The dimly-lit restaurant offers a roaring outdoor rooftop fireplace filled with plush seating, while the interior is made up of wood-paneled walls and furnishings, industrial-style lamps with exposed bulbs and sweeping circular light fixtures that dress the interior in a warm glow. Highlights include live music, innovative drinks like the Dirty Vesper (with celery-infused vodka and mushroom-infused gin) and tasty bites like lobster rolls, truffle fries, and salmon tartare.
420 Park Ave. South, New York
7. Tatiana by Kwame Onwuachi, Lincoln Square, Manhattan
Tatiana by Kwame Onwuachi was designed with nostalgia in mind. Equal parts refined and homey with 90s South Bronx vibes, the restaurant (which just opened in November) features smoked oak furnishings and Danish leather chairs, velvet upholstered banquettes in designs inspired by park benches, iridescent walls that mirror the visual effects of wet oil-stained streets in the sun, and massive cloud-like lighting pendants that envelope the space in a warm, ambient light. Star chef Onwuachi’s menu connects with his upbringing, offering the love and comfort of home through flavorful dishes like Egusi Dumplings with crab, Nigerian red stew and Braised Oxtails served with coconut-scented rice and peas.
10 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York
8. Rolo’s, Ridgewood, Queens
Located on a cute corner in Ridgewood, Queens, Rolo’s instantly greets its guests with an adorable front bar room, which doubles as a bakery and cafe during the day. An ornate fireplace, wood-paneled walls and exposed wood beam ceilings add to the restaurant's comfy-cozy neighborhoody charms, as do floor-to-ceiling bay windows, wood blinds, banquette and table seating. The separate main dining room is centered around a large wood-burning oven & wood-fired grill, which you can literally feel the heat from as you watch what’s going on in the open cook’s kitchen. Here, chefs prep dishes that include polenta breads, meatballs, grilled salt and pepper head-on shrimp and a fennel-crusted pork T-bone. During weekend brunch service, look out for the Dutch sticky buns and malted apple waffles.
853 Onderdonk Ave., Ridgewood, Queens
9. Cornelius, Midtown, Manhattan
Nestled between Vanderbilt Hall and the 42nd Street Shuttle passageway in Grand Central Terminal, Cornelius is a cozy new restaurant offering fresh farm-to-table fare amid the hustle and bustle of Midtown Manhattan. Floating lights and brilliant chandeliers cast a warm glow over snug booths and a wood-panneled bar with vintage photographs adorning the elegantly tiled walls. Chow down on inspired menu options like Lobster Strudel, Chateaubriand for Two, and a “Wall-Dorf Salad” with Hudson Valley apples.
89 E 42nd St, New York
10. Avra Rockefeller Center, Midtown, Manhattan
This spacious, upscale restaurant has one of the sexiest bars to cozy up in a less sexy part of Midtown. Grab a seat at the bar for a romantic view of buzzing Sixth Avenue while you sip on your favorite cocktail or wine (Pro tip: Try a Greek varietal like Assyrtiko). Or, slink into one of Avra Rock Center's circular style booths for a more intimate ambiance and to soak up the Greek spot’s pleasant, earthy atmosphere accented by lush interior greenery. When hunger strikes, you’ll have a plethora of signature dishes to choose from (including classics like lamb chops, grilled sea bass, and baklava) and you can even enjoy a three-course prix fixe menu for just $32.50.
Corner of 1271 Ave of the Americas, W 50th St, New York
11. Lucali Pizzeria, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn
Famous for its industrial vibes and delicious wood-fired, Neapolitan-style pizza, Lucali Pizzeria can be a tough place to get a table, but those who do get to experience one of the coziest eateries in all of NYC. Think: candles in vintage wine bottles, wood and metal furnishings, and an open kitchen framing a roaring brick oven. Though simple at first glance, Lucali’s menu features some of the best pizza, calzones, and Italian dishes that don’t need to try too hard, with tasty high-quality ingredients that hook travelers and Brooklyn natives alike.
575 Henry St, Brooklyn
12. Vin Sur Vingt Wine Bars, Midtown, Manhattan
With an already loyal following and established locations across The Village, The Upper West Side, and Nomad, fans of VSV Wine Bars will be happy to know that a new location recently opened up its doors on 51st Street, bringing its warm French atmosphere to Midtown Manhattan. A large leather brown booth offers the most intimate dining setting with mirror-backed walls that open up the space, making it feel cozy rather than crowded, and an impressive selection of decorative wines that line the ceiling. The wine bar and restaurant will also transport you to Paris through mouthwatering dishes like French onion soup, escargots, and steak tartare couteau.
13. Le Gratin, Financial District, Manhattan
Resting on the ground floor of the handsome Beekman Hotel in lower Manhattan, Le Gratin is a French restaurant awash in warm hues and ambient vibes. It also happens to be Daniel Boulud’s latest in the city. Inspired by his hometown of Lyon, the details of this French bistro-style space include intimate crescent leather booths, fogged mirrors and soul-warming cuisine. Homey menu highlights include creamy cheesy potato gratin, spaghetti with basil pesto and pine nuts, and the Plat Du Mois (a monthly rotating special for two). Make sure to try the Quenelle, a harder-to-find (at least in the US) French creamed dish. Boulud serves his with pike dumpling and a mouthwatering gruyere-mushroom bechamel.
5 Beekman St, New York
14. Jupiter, Rockefeller Center, Manhattan
Rockefeller Center is well into a restaurant renaissance, with a slew of trendy new eateries popping up in 2022 (NARO, Le Rock, Lodi—to name a few). But its coziest contender is Jupiter, brought to you by the team behind King in Soho, where carbs are the name of the game. The restaurant gets influenced by the Roman king of Gods of the same name, and the plates of pasta—which include a playful “alfabeto in brodo” alphabet pasta, a decadent paccheri pork ragu and a simple but delicious Tagliarini al Pomodoro—are in a word, heavenly. A robust wine list and zero-proof spritzes and cocktails are other highlights should you be abstaining from booze at the moment. Accessible from Rockefeller Center’s rink level, the handsome, slightly moody space holds onto the best of the Center’s historic Art Deco details while boasting an intimate, 12-seat red travertine bar. The coziest seats in the joint and our favorites, though, are the private alcove tables outfitted with lush, orange banquette seating.
620 5th Avenue, New York
15. HOUSE BROOKLYN, Greenpoint, Brooklyn
What could be more cozy and intimate than an eight-seat restaurant, which will remind you of eating in someone’s kitchen in the winter? Located in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, the recently opened HOUSE BROOKLYN is a Japanese-French tasting menu that’s likely to knock your socks off, all tucked out of the site behind a design shop and enclosed by a sliding wall. The space uses reclaimed wood from an old house in Kyoto on its counter, which is topped with a soft, black patterned marble with a handsome armoire on view. Chef Yuji Tani offers a seven-to-nine-course menu of fun fusion mashups, like Apple & Beet crudité, a Foie-Gras Pilaf made with crunchy shibazuke cucumber pickles, and an always-hard-to-produce-at-home version of a soufflé. Two seatings are offered Wednesday through Saturday (book a rezzy in advance), and the meal is rounded out with sake, wines and teas curated by local specialists. Pro tip: HOUSE BROOKLYN happens to be inside 50 Norman, the hip retail-meets-dining complex with lots of Japanese influence that’s worth a gander before your meal.
50 Norman Ave, Brooklyn
16. Reyna, Union Square, Manhattan
Reyna is an offshoot of a popular Toronto restaurant of the same name which opened this fall. Cozy with a trendy twist, bookmark this downtown space for a sexy, intimate dinner filled with candlelight in a glitzy, warm and welcoming atmosphere. The restaurant’s vibrant decor is filled with trees and feather chandeliers and pumped up with lively music that we especially appreciate for nights out on the town with good friends. Since opening, the restaurant has quickly become known for a mix of table snacks and larger plates that are influenced by Mediterranean cuisine. Other things we love? The royal-inspired bar menu full of classic and creative cocktails, and the promise of something new this winter: A rep tells us the restaurant will soon open an intimate cocktail lounge called Le Louis, offering New Yorkers a new, sultry setting to enjoy unique cocktails, light bites and vibey music.
11 E 13th St, New York
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