Just because you’re skipping town on Thanksgiving doesn’t mean you have to forgo the turkey feast altogether. New York City’s restaurant scene is as lively as ever on Thanksgiving Day, with many upscale restaurants crafting special bird-focused, prix fixe menus and autumnal feasts. After all, it’s not just visitors who are looking for a bar to elbow up to on Thanksgiving. Locals are eager to ditch the dishes (and the often impossible chore of roasting a turkey without a full-size oven). For the absolute best Thanksgiving meals, we’ve turned our attention to the city’s top Michelin-starred venues, where the holiday is really just an excuse to create yet another tasting course.
Every year, this three-starred Art Deco masterpiece serves a so-called Thanksgiving Experience that is certain to make you forget even your favorite Aunt’s sweet potato casserole. It’s a $245 price tag, but the four-course menu has been known to include such dishes as foie gras (one of the highlights of the standard tasting menu), and butternut squash turkey with a side of cranberry chutney. For an additional $135 per person, guests can receive custom wine pairings.
Alsatian chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten serves a masterful, if not unusual, Thanksgiving dinner every year. At Upper West Side, Michelin-starred restaurant, diners may find dishes such as yellowfin with soy-yuzu dressing and butter-poached lobster with a passion fruit and wine sauce. More affordable tasting menus can be experienced at Nougatine, Jean-Georges more casual sister restaurant next door.
If you’re seeking traditional Thanksgiving fare, make a reservation at Betony, a one Michelin-starred restaurant known for its modern innovations on American cuisine. Expect a superb roasted chicken, among other quintessential dishes. But you’re really there for the legendary—and unlimited—dessert table that boasts every imaginable holiday pie, from pink pepper meringue and apple-cheddar to more classic renditions of apple, pumpkin, and bourbon-pecan.
Even vegetarians will be satisfied with Chef John Fraser’s vegetarian, multi-course menus. That’s not to say carnivores won’t be able to satisfy Thanksgiving cravings with regular menu items (foie gras with huckleberries, Berkshire pork loin, beef fillet with oxtail) and holiday specials. But everyone should save room for the bar’s mulled wine and hot cider.