Back Forty 190 Ave. B, nr. 12th St.; 212-388-1990 If you can't wait until supper to enjoy Back Forty's local offerings, move the feast up a few hours, for a Christmas Eve brunch. Guests can order mouthwatering items like buttermilk biscuits, pork jowl nuggets with jalapeño jam, and heritage bacon off their a la carte brunch menu. For dinner, guests can dig into the a la carte menu or Back Forty's Christmas Eve specials: Seven Fishes Stew; chicken and dumplings; linguine with anchovies and dried figs; and roast suckling pig.The East Village restaurant will close early at 10 p.m.
200 Fifth Ave., at 23rd St.; 212-229-2560
Spend Christmas Eve at Eataly this year, where their Holiday Dine Around will take you on a tasting tour through every Italian region ($180 per person, $120 for guests under 21). The head chefs at the six restaurants inside Eataly will each serve one dish, and restaurants will be open only to guests of the event. The first seating will begin at 5:30 p.m., and last at 8:30 p.m.
505 Columbus Ave., nr. 84th St.; 212-873-0200
On Christmas Eve, Kefi will serve a revised à la cart menu featuring the restaurant's signature dishes. Share a few meze with the table to start, and choose from favorites like grilled branzino or sheep's milk dumplings for your entrée. But the real draw is the four-course Christmas menu for $35.95 per person (wine pairing for an additional $15), which includes avgolemono soup, a meze of stuffed cabbage and shredded pork, braised lamb shank with orzo, and baklava for dessert.
19 E. 26th St., nr. Madison Ave.; 212-265-5959
SD26 will embrace its Italian roots this Christmas Eve, offering up a special five-course menu highlighting different fish and seafood plates. Traditional Italian dishes—prepared with a modern twist, as always—on the menu include tagliolini with Sicilian red-shrimp bisque, perbellini panettone, and petits fours for dessert, all surrounding the main event: la grigliata di pesce (a spread of grilled scampi, octopus, swordfish, branzino, sepia, and calamari, or la grigliata di pesce). The dinner is $90 per person, and can also be enjoyed in the days leading up to the 24th, beginning December 19. À la carte menu items will also be available.
456 Hudson St., at Barrow St.; 212-414-2929
At exotic-meats specialist Takashi, fill up on grilled mini meat pies stuffed with curried oxtail or stewed tripe, kobe beef filet mignon Fonduta, or sausage stuffed with ham, turkey, kobe beef, and foie gras, served with Périgueux sauce. Dessert will be Madagascar vanilla soft-serve with eggnog-cream topping.
Christmas Eve and Christmas Day
Jimmy's No. 43
43 E. 7th St., nr. Second Ave.; 212-982-3006
Celebrate with friends at Jimmy's No. 43, where the owners of Green Flash Brewery are hosting this year's Christmas dinner. Dig into a family-style buffet featuring traditional holiday fare like roasted meats, vegetarian sides, and of course, pie for dessert. Beer and wine will be served to accompany the meal, and Green Flash beers will be available for purchase during the event. The Christmas day dinner will take place from 1 to 4 p.m.; tickets are $25 per person and can be purchased here.
The John Dory Oyster Bar
1196 Broadway, at 29th St.; 212-792-9000
The John Dory Oyster Bar will serve a six-course prix fixe menu on both Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, from noon to midnight. For $65 per person, diners will enjoy dishes such as Hog Island Sweetwater oyster with sea urchin crema; vongoles with oregano, calabrian chili and strozzapreti, and daurade with blood orange and pistachio. Though the menus vary slightly each day, both the Christmas Eve and Christmas Day lin-up at the Oyster Bar finish with buttermilk panna cotta with candied kumquats for dessert. Make your plans early though, as the prix fixe menu is reservation-only; a limited a la carte menu will also be available for walk-ins.
Macao Trading Co.
311 Church St., nr. Walker St.; 212-431-8750
Mix up your holiday routine by introducing some East Asian flavor into your Christmas meal this year at Macao Trading Co., where the fare includes spiced chestnut soup and roasted venison with linguiça stuffing and port wine–chili butter. If you're enjoying a more intimate holiday, split the two-pound Maine lobster with your date, paired with a watercress salad and chilled sesame noodles. Other highlights off the Christmas menu include soupa dourade, honey-dipped sponge cake, and eggnog custard.