All of the restaurants and hotels are decked out for the holidays. Tip—make dinner reservations well in advance. New York’s Italian food scene is arguably second only to Italy itself. Il Corso, Serafina Broadway and Il Mulino
all have elevated dining experiences. Head to Little Italy and eat at La Mela on Mulberry Street, which is something straight out of a mobster movie like “Goodfellas.” Say hi to Frank “Butch the Hat” Aquilino and sing along to holiday tunes being belted out by the strolling band in the restaurant. For the best brunch, nosh on the avocado toast at The Smith like we did at the Lincoln Square location. We could barely get in and out of The Blakely New York Hotel
because of Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer’s constant line for burgers and shakes, which are worth the wait. Browse the gourmet goodies in the original Dean & DeLuca gourmet market in SoHo. The Lower Manhattan neighborhood is filled with designer boutiques, galleries, unique shops like the bookstore Taschen and vintage shops on Broome Street. Head into the The Peninsula New York
, decked out to the nines for the holidays, and splurge on a cocktail.
Since New York is filled with so many fabulous restaurants, I asked the AAA Inspector for more “must try” recommendations. For Italian, try Eataly Downtown
, “Grandmother’s House” Casa Nonna
and the family-friendly Gigino Trattoria
. Grab a burger at Bill's Bar & Burger
in the New York Marriott Downtown or a lobster roll at The Plaza Food Hall by Todd English
. For French food, try Le Coucou
or Le District
. Two colorful spots you have to try are Tiny's and the Bar Upstairs
in Tribeca and the Irish pub The Dead Rabbit Grocery and Grog
close to Battery Park. I can’t wait to go back to try these restaurants and search for the best dim sum in Chinatown.