Sometimes you want to celebrate the holidays. Or a birthday. Or a promotion. And sometimes you want to have a special occasion dinner for no reason at all. All of the above call for a special occasion restaurant that you wouldn’t necessarily go to every day. You know, the kind of place for which you get dressed to the nines, and order without abandon from the menu and the wine list. This is your list for where to blow it out for that special occasion dinners in NYC.
The Location: One Vanderbilt, New York
The Cost: $165/per person
This is a time when the color of your credit card counts, as it’s the Amex private club for Centurion Club members. Of course, you can roll the dice and try to get a reservation without the Centurion card. But you won’t find prime seating on Resy or that special occasion dinner in NYC for your group of 8. Chances are though that you or someone you know has a Centurion card, so call in that favor. This may just be Daniel Boulud’s best restaurant in his entire portfolio of dining.
Located on the 55th floor, the lounge has the most direct view of the top of the Empire State Building. It’s one of the most stunning in view and setting of the special occasion dinners in NYC. There are two restaurants and two bars. One formal bar and restaurant complement the less formal sisters to the two. For your special occasion, you’ll want to make your reservation at the formal restaurant, The Gallery. Daniel Boulud’s prix fixe menu is a three or five-course meal of some of the chef’s finest work. A special occasion dinner demands good food and a good view. Period.
The Location: Tribeca
The Cost: $298/ per person
This is the Michelin-fancy restaurant run by a restauranteur with a pedigree from Noma, but in a casual Tribeca cool dining room. If you have a winter birthday, Atera is your special occasion dinner spot. The dining room is cool and casual, with an open kitchen you’ll definitely spend time gazing into.
But the relaxed after-work vibe facilitates a creative and exciting gastronomic experience. Multiple courses come out of the kitchen throughout the entire two-and-a-half-hour meal. The menu stays fresh and seasonal, with creative and global re-workings of fan favorites.
The Location: West Village
The Cost: $180/per person
When the in-laws are in town, you want to take them on a special occasion dinner somewhere that will impress them — likely because it both holds a special place in NYC culture and because they’ve heard of it. Jiro Dreams of Sushi’s New York version (the head chef was featured as an apprentice in the documentary) is Nakazawa. These days, the price tag of sushi is almost reasonable. And nowhere does it pay off more than at one of the city’s first omakase spots.
The dining room is sleek and chill. But each sushi course that rolls out after the last is a bite of something truly dreamy. A traditional sushiya, the courses come from the chef’s knowledge of the oceans and seasons, such that every detail has a plan and purpose.
The Location: Midtown
The Cost: $125/ per person
Le Pavillon is one of the best special occasion dinners in NYC for a seafood and vegetable-heavy fine dining experience. Whether or not you mean to, it’s always nice to go light on the red meat when you can. Regardless, Daniel Boulud does his thing again at Le Pavillon, where prix fixe meets standard dinner. Options on the menu mean that it’s not impossible to create your own experience.
Located in the 1 Vanderbilt building on the second floor alongside the Centurion Club, Le Pavillon has a prime city location. Here though you don’t need a Black Card to celebrate a special occasion. The dining room is bright and airy, which feels like a natural segue into the garden. If there’s a special lunch you’re planning, this might be the spot for you, as well, as the large outdoor garden feels like a luxurious respite from the rest of midtown.
Other articles You’ll Like:
Q: What are Daniel Boulud’s Restaurants?
A: Centurion Club and Le Pavillon
Q: Where should I go for sushi for a special occasion?
Q: What’s the hardest reservation to get?
A: The Centurion Club