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10 Best Restaurants to Book for Christmas Eve Dinner

Walking around Lower Manhattan these past few nights, it is clear that something is in the air. Literally. Take a deep breath in and find your lungs greeted by wave of pine from the tightly wrapped trees that now seem to line every street corner.

By next week, it will be impossible to dodge the holiday reminders. Don’t worry, you still 24 days left to shop. But you don’t have as many left to make dinner reservations for Christmas Eve. Most places will begin taking reservations this Saturday, December 1, so check out our list and plan accordingly.

Ai Fiori – Michael White’s grand palace of pasta will offer a $96 tasting menu featuring signature dishes and a few holiday specials. Reservations are available from 3 p.m. – 9 p.m. 400 5th Avenue. (212) 613-8660</>.

Back Forty West- Occupying a cozy corner in Soho, Peter Hoffman’s restaurant gives off the vibe of an elegant farm. They’ll be open for dinner on Christmas Eve and have discussed, but not yet confirmed, plans for a special smoked meats menu. 70 Prince Street. (212) 219-8570.

 

Big Daddy’s – If all you want for Christmas is a burger, head to any of the ever-so-slightly upscale locations of this classic American diner. The restaurant will be offering their comfort food classics on Christmas day, as well. Multiple locations. bigdaddysnyc.com.

Bouley – There’s a reason people are still clamoring for tables at David Bouley’s Tribeca flagship. And while the space has recently undergone renovations, the charm of this long lasting restaurant is still in full effect. The holiday menu will be feature a 6-course Christmas feast for $195. 163 Duane Street. (212) 964-2525.

 

Maialino – The swank but cozy Danny Meyer restaurant inside the Gramercy Park Hotel will be open for brunch and dinner on Christmas Eve. Hungry (and willing) guests can order a $200 winter truffle pasta tasting menu, however the regular menu will also be available. 2 Lexington Avenue. (212) 777-2410.

Mile End Deli– The Canadian-Jewish delicatessen will be taking reservations as of December 1 for their annual Chinese Christmas feast. 97A Hoyt Street. (718) 852- 7510.

Pertrossian – Caviar lovers can head to Midtown West for this decidedly decadent meal. On Christmas eve, the restaurant will offer their traditional caviar prix-fixe for $77, as well as other specials like roasted goose. 182 W. 58th Street (212) 245- 2214.

Pulino’s- If you like your pizza with a side of supermodel, this will likely be a good spot for your holiday. The Bowery restaurant has not yet announced the day’s special menu but they will be open for (a no doubt bustling) business. 282 Bowery. (212) 226-1966.

Shun Lee's Crisp Noodles
Shun Lee’s Crisp Noodles

Tenpenny- This unassuming but worthwhile Midtown restaurant will feature a three course menu on Christmas eve. Featured dishes will include foie gras risotto, goose ravioli, wild boar osso buco and spiced apple cobbler. 16 E 46th Street. (212) 490-8300.

 

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Polpettine Pizza — With a Gooey Egg — at Pulino’s, Dish #59

Welcome to 100 Dishes to Eat Now, the tasty countdown leading up to our “Best of 2012” issue. Tune in every day (weekends, too!) for a new dish from the Fork in the Road team.

See More 100 Dishes:
Grilled Veggies and Ricotta Pizza From Carmine’s Pizzeria in Brooklyn, Dish #60

Cheesecake From Two Little Red Hens, Dish #61
Chamorro de Borrego at Casa Enrique, Dish #62

Polpettine (“Meatball”) is a pizza on the Lunch and Late Lunch menus at Pulino’s. That’s the perfect time to go to the Keith McNally spot at the corner of Bowery and Houston Street, which can be impossible to get into around cocktail time.

The meatballs are plain and beefy, the cheese floe profuse, and the little piles of green pickled chiles send this delicious Frisbee spinning in a south-of-the-border direction. It’s an Italy-meets-Mexico move, and an utterly satisfying one.

Oh, and there’s a list of optional toppings on the menus, too, from which a jiggly egg was selected. You might want to give the special person in your life the slice with an egg, or divvy the egg up and spread the goodness among all the slices. Your choice.

Pulino’s
282 Bowery
212-226-1966

Your table awaits during the off-hours at Pulino’s.

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Rainy Day Breakfast: Patate Pizza at Pulino’s

Fragrant with green onions and black pepper, the potato pizza — share it with a friend.

Some of Fork in the Road’s favorite breakfasts are double-carb: the classic two eggs and bacon with both toast and home fries, for examples. It’s a kick in the nuts to Dr. Atkins, and a supercharge for your beleaguered corpse.

Though the sign outside is perhaps too bright a shade of neon-red, that won’t bother you once you’re seated inside. While the evening brings a thick scrum of would-be diners, and the noise level reaches migraine, the morning and early afternoon hours at Pulino’s are chill, the waiters friendly and accommodating.

The pizza called patate is just the thing: two sunny-side eggs that leak bright yellow yolk when you cut into them, herby potatoes, sausage nuggets, and just the right amount of salt and pepper. You can cut the slices with a knife, or, ever the New Yorker, maneuver individual swatches to mouth with hand. Either way, the pie is supremely delectable.

And, rather surprisingly, the coffee ain’t bad, either. Open 8:30 a.m., patate pizza $16.

Pulino’s Bar and Pizzeria
282 Bowery
212-226-1966

At breakfast and lunch, Pulino’s is chill.