Visiting a neighborhood restaurant during the Holidays is like visiting family. Every year I look forward to seeing them. Forget about being annoyed by Aunt Mable and try one of these places for cheer. While larger restaurants are efficient at handling the crowds at this time of year, these gems will make you feel at home with great food in a casual festive setting. Make a reservation to secure your spot.
Nizza (630 Ninth Avenue) Located near the theater district, Nizza is a nice choice for a good meal if you’re going to see a show. Try the burrata appetizer and one of their many homemade pastas. All of the pastas are tasty but I love the pansoti with walnut pesto. They offer a dozen thin crust pizzas starting at $13. Brunch is served on weekends from 10am to 2pm and starts at $10.
Polpette (483 Amsterdam Avenue) Polpette is all about meatballs. I love their “stolen meatballs” without sauce that remind me of my grandmother. Their homemade pastas start at $17 and are bursting with flavor. Try the gnocchi or the papardelle bolognese. I recommend starting with a few orders of meatballs and the sausage and broccoli rabe sliders to share. Monday through Friday take advantage of 2 for 1 drinks from 5pm-7pm. On weekends from 11:30am-3pm indulge in the “bottomless brunch” which includes your entree and the beverage of your choice for $30.
Langan’s (150 West 47th Street) Langan’s is one of my favorite Irish Pubs. They have a large bar area with high top tables if you’re looking for a place to meet friends for drinks in addition to a spacious dining area. There is always a great vibe at Langan’s and they offer seasonal beverages like $5 eggnog shots. The flat bread pizza of the day and the angus beef sliders are nice to share. The menu has something for everyone and the mostly Irish staff is friendly and attentive. On Sundays from 11:30am-4pm enjoy their Jazz Brunch for $15.95 that includes one free drink.