A Guide to Dress-up Dining

In collaboration with Zagat, our favorite NYC spots worth the effort.

There’s nothing like the holidays to inspire dressing to the nines and embarking on an elegant evening out. With such a vibrant restaurant scene in NYC, there are still quite a few destinations where a meal is truly a special occasion. So we asked the gourmands at Zagat to help us choose six places worth dappering up for this December.

THE RAINBOW ROOM


This NYC icon was recently restored to all of its glitzy glory complete with 65th floor views and $22 Negronis. The restaurant underwent a complete facelift, which included a menu overhaul by British import, chef Jonathan Wright. Jackets are required and well worth putting on for plates of Beef Wellington and lobster pot pie with truffle while a live orchestra channels old New York charm. Feeling non-committal? You can also drop by for a drink any night of the week at the adjacent bar, Sixty-Five, in business casual attire (no sneakers or hats), for that same gorgeous view and signature cocktails like the Gotham Mule: Granny smith apple-infused Tito’s Vodka and ginger beer.

30 Rockefeller Center, 65th Floor, 212-632-5000


THE RIVER CAFE


The holiday season is the perfect time to visit the post-Hurricane Sandy reincarnation of this legendary NY eatery. Stunning views of the Brooklyn Bridge are intact but a new, improved menu and renovated interior awaits you. Executive chef Brad Steelman serves up a New American menu that offers takes on classics like Mushroom Wellington, corn and chanterelle ravioli and rabbit crepinette with ricotta dumplings. Or enjoy a six-course tasting menu for $145. While jackets are required after 5PM, River Cafe goes slightly more casual at lunch and brunch. Or drop by for an early evening cocktail and watch the winter sunset—a rite of passage for every New Yorker.

1 Water Street, Brooklyn; 718-522-5200


NOMAD


Velvet drapes, jacquard upholstery, a stone fireplace and wood paneling give the NoMad restaurant a whiff of mysterious, Belle Epoque allure. Chef Daniel Humm (also of Eleven Madison Park) is behind the decadent American menu featuring special occasion-worthy items like the black truffle-stuffed chicken for two and butter-poached lobster with black garlic, squash and cranberries. The extensive cocktail menu from award-winning bar director Leo Robitschek offers something for everyone whether dining at the table or at the adjacent NoMad Bar (the famed Library Bar is now for hotel guests only).

1170 Broadway; 347-472-5660

GAONNURI


While there’s no official dress code here, you’ll feel out of place if you don’t dress up for these breathtaking 39th Floor views. This is the most glamorous Korean BBQ you’ve ever had. Cold and hot plates like traditional japchae (stir fried glass noodles), grilled octopus and steamed mandoo dumplings set the stage for tableside barbecued duck breast, bulgogi, jumbo white shrimp and more. Or you can head straight to the bar and order up cocktails like the Fiery Julep: Absinthe, Woodford Reserve, organic mint leaves, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup.

1250 Broadway, Penthouse, 39th fl.; 212-971-9045

COSME


One of NYC’s most sought-after tables right now is the first U.S. restaurant from top Mexican chef Enrique Olvera of Pujol, Cosme. While there’s no specific dress code here, the sleek interiors, well-heeled clientele and artistic takes on Mexican dishes like duck carnitas, chilaquiles and tataki al pastor naturally inspire your sharpest personal style. Or opt to see and be seen at the front bar area which offers the same food menu as well as expertly stirred cocktails like the El Ninja: Union mezcal, Beefeater gin, Cocchi Americano, housemade shiso shrub, ginger, lime, dehydrated pineapple.

35 E. 21st Street; 212-913-9659

GRAMERCY TAVERN


While the vibe is warm and relaxed, you’ll want to grab a suit and tie to feast in the dining room at Danny Meyer’s timeless Flatiron classic. Enjoy chef Michael Anthony’s seasonal tasting menu experience offering perfected American fare. Before dining, begin with one of the farm-to-table cocktails at the Tavern bar like the Russet City: El Dorado 12-year rum, Eve’s cider, walnut, cinnamon.

42 E. 20th Street, 212-477-0777

Discover even more glamorous spots to dress and dine at Zagat.com

FINERY FOR A NIGHT OUT

Dressing for the occasion is half the fun, afterall. We put together a few looks worthy of a lavish evening on the town.

  • Non-Iron Button-Down Collar Dress Shirt
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  • Regent Fit Two-Button Classic 1818 Blazer
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  • Peal & Co.® Perforated Captoes
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  • Black Fleece Navy and Red Plaid Tie
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