9 Actually Fun Things to Do in NYC This Weekend
Warm up with wood-fired entrees, caviar, and tropical drinks.
By Juliet Izon – Thrillist NY
“We all know next week is a bit of a wash. Is that an excuse to have more fun than usual this weekend? Yes, we think it is. And even though it’s getting chilly outside, there is good news for all of us who enjoy bundling up for a meal: it looks like the city is inching closer to allowing more restaurants to set up permanent outdoor dining patios.
As for what’s on tap this weekend? We’ve got a secret sushi bar, an elegant new Mediterranean restaurant, and a massive anime convention. Read on for nine actually fun things to eat, drink, and do this weekend in NYC.”
Be one of the first to try this buzzy restaurant from a Gramercy Tavern vet
In just the last few weeks, Manhattan West has become home to some of NYC’s most coveted tables (Ci Siamo, anyone?). Its streak continues this week with Zou Zou’s, an Eastern Mediterranean restaurant helmed by chef Madeline Sperling (formerly of Gramercy Tavern and The NoMad). In a beautiful space designed by uber-chic firm AvroKo, diners are treated to dishes from countries ranging from Lebanon to Israel, Turkey, Egypt, Syria, and Jordan. The star of the space is the oversized wood-fired oven, which churns out everything from ember-roasted eggplant to a fire-roasted leg of lamb. Wash it all down with a Sumac Spritz, made with prosecco, grapefruit, and sumac bitters.
Cost: Entrees from $17
Spend a night in the tropics by way of Brooklyn
Sunken Harbor Club was originally a weekly tiki pop-up at Fort Defiance, the popular watering hole from bartender St. John Frizell. But now, much to the delight of all Mai Tai lovers, the tropical-themed bar has its very own brick-and-mortar space, right above Frizell’s other popular spot, the restaurant Gage & Tollner. The theme is a fun one: SHC is meant to evoke a turn-of-the-century world explorers’ club. As such, you can expect cocktails with cheeky names like Tijuana Taxi (white negroni with banana), or Sultan’s Good Counsel (sumac vodka, rosewater, and za-atar). Cocktails are also helpfully sorted by their level of alcohol, so you can do as little or as much exploring as you dare.
Cost: Cocktails from $16
Treat yourself to sushi at this hidden bar
Handroll fanatics have long known that Maki Kosaka is one of the top places in the city for temaki (and also one of the best restaurants in NYC, period). But now, there’s another reason to visit this sister restaurant of high-end Japanese spot Kosaka: a secret, eight-person omakase experience dubbed Maki Omakase Bar. Under the direction of chef chef Sho Boo, one of the only female sushi chefs in the US, diners will feast on everything from sashimi to pressed cube sushi. And while the menu will change daily depending on what’s in season, you can expect each elegant meal to end with a bite-sized dessert and Japanese tea.
Cost: From $150 per person
Grab coffee and pastry from a Danish import
Coffee snobs, there’s a new game in town. La Cabra is the first New York outpost from an Arhaus, Denmark-based chain that specializes in Scandinavian-style brews (think lightly roasted and brightly flavored). The menu is divided into coffee, hand brews, cold brews, and tea, ensuring there’s a caffeinated beverage for every type of drinker. Also not to miss are their house-made pastries, which rotate daily. Look out for Danish specialties like a cardamom bun or Danish rye bread, as well as traditional croissants, many types of sourdough, and pain au chocolat.
Cost: Coffee from $4
Celebrate all things anime at this giant convention
Anime NYC started five years ago as a way for area fans to gather and talk anime. Since then, the event has exploded into a three-day festival that celebrates all aspects of Japanese pop culture. This weekend, over 50,000 are expected to attend the festivities at the Javits Center, which will not only include the expected panels and autograph signings, but also film screenings, live concerts, and fashion shows. Also of note: the convention will have more Japanese food available than ever before, so look out for vendors selling some of the city’s best ramen and dumplings.
Cost: Tickets from $50
Treat yourself to caviar and a cold vodka at this new lounge
Upper East Side
The weather outside is finally cold, so why not lean into it? Forget big bowls of chili, though: we’re talking go-big-or-go-home meals like giant scoops of caviar with a side of oysters and bluefin tuna sashimi. All this can be yours at newly opened The Bar at Caviar Russe, a ground-level raw bar, cocktail lounge, and retail shop from legendary caviar purveyor Caviar Russe. In addition to the seafood-focused menu, there is, of course, plenty of champagne and wine by the bottle, plus a wide selection of vodka for that most traditional of pairings.
Cost: Entrees from $25, caviar from $235
Enjoy the great outdoors while still being cozy
While we can thank (we guess?) COVID for the proliferation of outdoor dining spaces over the last year-and-a-half, our favorite type of al fresco set up actually predates the pandemic. Every year, once the temperature drops, restaurants throughout the city unveil all sorts of adorable, outdoor mini-lodges. Some of the best this year include City Winery’s Winter Pop-Up at Rockefeller Center, which has heated domes with views of the Christmas tree; special winter cocktails and Swiss food at Chalet de Ning at The Peninsula Hotel; a new winter ramen menu and heated yurts at Nowadays in Bushwick; luxe ski-lodge-in-the-sky-vibes at Mr. Purple’s Veuve Clicquot Winter Chalet; a life-sized mountain range sculpture and winter cabins with virtual fireplaces at The Greens at Pier 17; and The Lodge at The Musket Room (opening on 11/23), which is kitted out with holiday lights and electric fireplaces that look like old iron stoves.
Cost: Prices vary
Explore the world of this talented multidisciplinary artist
Sunday, November 16
Sophie Taeuber-Arp was a true Renaissance woman: the modern artist designed murals, stained glass windows, and furniture, as well as painted and sculpted. And now, at a new exhibition at MoMA that opens this Sunday, viewers can see the trajectory of her whole career, from applied arts teacher to Dada artist. This is the first time in nearly 40 years that the artist has had an exhibit in the US and it has been worth the wait: over 400 objects, from paintings to marionettes, will be on display.
Cost: Tickets from $25
Knock out your holiday shopping early at this beloved market
There are many obvious signs when the holiday season has arrived in NYC—ice skating rinks, giant Christmas trees—but one of our faves is the annual opening of the Urbanspace Union Square Holiday Market. And, after the pandemic prevented it from operating last year, we’re especially thrilled to welcome it back. With over 150 vendors selling everything from original artwork to handmade accessories to chocolate, it’s one of our favorite places to find actually cool gifts for friends and family. And if you’re not in the mood to shop, it’s also an amazing spot for food; this year you can expect famed NYC spots like Veselka, Breezy Hill Orchard, and Piccolo Cafe.
Cost: Free to enterhttps://b2aa12f5c754d378edbd6e5a57b5b829.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
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Thrillist, a site with tons of food, drink, travel & entertainment info, introduces folks to the coolest things to do in NYC (and other places when you are traveling). I like to check them out regularly. You should, too.
So many great things to see and do, places to eat and drink in NYC.
How to find them? Here are 6 more of my fave NYC suggestions:
You Can Now Scale the Side of a NYC Skyscraper at 30 Hudson Yards | Travel + Leisure
17 Amazing Art Exhibits Coming To New York City Between 2021 & 2022 – Secret NYC
Burger Joint, Hidden Restaurant in NYC’s Midtown, Reopens – Untapped New York
The West 70s: The Sweet Spot of the Upper West Side – The New York Times
See inside the New Alamo Drafthouse in Lower Manhattan – Time Out NY
The Best Wontons In NYC – New York – The Infatuation
Best new restaurants in NYC
If you are looking for some of the best info on food and drink, restaurants and eating in New York City, then you want to head to New York magazine’s Grub Street.
Right now you want to check out: The Return of Restaurants
“Make up for lost meals. No takeout, no pasta kits, just 66 of the best new (or newly relevant) places to eat.” Edited by Rob Patronite and Robin Raisfeld, Photographs by Dina Litovsky
Here are 3 more of my faves:
Eat All Your Chinese Vegetables
Fat Choy / 250 Broome St.
It’s one thing to offer a $335 meat-free menu for the one percent (see Eleven Madison Park 2.0). It’s another to charge $10 and under for veggie-centric Chinese food for everyone: the curious carnivores, the certified vegans, and the dedicated superfans like Deborah from the Upper West Side, who loves the food and the vibe so much she literally hiked down the West Side Highway from 88th Street to Broome and Orchard one recent Saturday afternoon just to tuck in to paper-boatloads of chewy rice rolls topped with gai lan and juicy bok choy showered with crispy fried garlic. We know she did this because Fat Choy is the kind of place where diners who have navigated the scrum of Lower East Side streeteries — bars, vegan-cupcake shops, more bars — start conversations with strangers to recommend dishes, offer bites, and generally share communal moments of vibrantly flavored, inventively conceived culinary bliss. —Rob Patronite and Robin Raisfeld
Sip a Sazerac in a Secret Garden
Villanelle / 15 E. 12th St.
This elegant Greenwich Village establishment has flown so far under the radar that many regulars (ourselves included) were afraid it would close forever when disaster struck. Miraculously, unlike with the still-shuttered Gotham Bar & Grill across the street, the opposite has happened. Owner Catherine Manning fitted the space out back with tables and little enclosed “garden rooms” that have become a hit during the outdoor-dining craze. The Sazeracs we enjoyed on a recent summery evening were exceptional, and you can also addle yourself with $9 cocktails during the new happy hour. The talented young chef Tyler Heckman (Ferris, Le Turtle) took over the kitchen last fall, and he’s slowly added the kind of variety and style to the aggressively seasonal menu (braised spring lamb on our visit, white-asparagus velouté, gnocchi with escargot) that threatens to turn this sleepy local favorite into a proper big-city dining destination. —Adam Platt
Sample the Latest Fusion Cuisine on New York’s Original Open Street
The Migrant Kitchen / 45 Stone St.
Long before 2020 brought alfresco eating to every corner of our city, Stone Street was a pedestrian paradise, and it still is, a cobblestoned car-free wonderland for outdoor pints, pizza, and mozzarella sticks. The Migrant Kitchen, which opened last fall, brings Middle Eastern–Latin fusion to this Fidi pub-grub zone. Owner Nasser Jaber, who operates out of the Dubliner bar’s kitchen, sends out sumac-butter-slicked fried-chicken-and-falafel waffles, mariquitas (fried plantain chips) nachos, and pastelon mahshi, a Dominican-style maduros-and-beef riff on the traditional Palestinian stuffed gourd. And since many office workers are still Zooming in from home, Stone Street feels distinctly chiller and less suits-y these days. —Ryan P. Sutton
Also see Eater New York’s interactive map that highlights
these 66 restaurants that deserve your attention.