Nothing says winter in New York like ice skating at Rockefeller Plaza. The tree is lit behind old gilded Prometheus — all that’s missing is you. So lace up those skates, and check out these nearby dining spots where you can fuel up beforehand or reward your workout afterward:
Before You Skate (pick-up / fast food)
This fast food spot is decidedly healthy. Its slogan: “de-junking fast food.” That means multi-grain, pressed rice and pumpernickel buns; pickled daikon, kimchi and avocado toppings; and patties of the lamb and pork (raised on family farms) or veggie variety. Sides include pickled peppers, braised kale, edamame and eggplant curry. Yes, a stop here will give you plenty to run with on the rink.
This less fancy, take-out version of Naya Mezze (below) offers bowls, rolls and salads of falafel, naturally-raised chicken and shawarma made from grass-fed beef and lamb. Pair with a lentil soup to warm yourself for the outdoor activity ahead.
Le Pain Quotidian
This Clean Plates approved chain has an outpost right near the Rock. I’m partial to the black bean hummus with spicy tahini, the chicken curry with a side of harissa-cranberry chutney and the six-vegetable quiche with artichoke and a gluten-free buckwheat crust. Cap off your meal with a mug of hot spiced cider with fresh ginger — yum.
Pret a Manger
This take-out shop for soups, salads and sandwiches has many convenient locations throughout the city, including one right around the block from the rink. Don’t miss their holiday lunch menu, which yields a 50-cent donation directly to City Harvest: a roasted turkey sandwich with stuffing, brie and cranberry sauce with a ginger cookie. Other options include a sandwich stuffed with chicken and sweet chilies and a range of daily soups, from lentil to turkey chili and miso.
After You Skate (sit-down / high-end)
Naya Mezze and Grill
This restaurant almost looks like an ice rink itself, with its sleek, white-washed interior. Fill your glass tables with plates of hearty Lebanese dishes, all of which are sourced responsibly and presented cleanly. Try the grass-fed lamb dumplings with cooked yogurt and rice; the striped bass with spicy tahini and walnuts; or the chicken shawarma in a garlic and pepper sauce.
Warm up with a meal fit for a king. White limestone gives way to gilded doors and a three-course prix fixe of white sturgeon caviar, Spanish octopus, venison with Red Kuri squash and chicory, corn custard with tomato dashi, and a Blanquette de Veu with beet root, caraway and chard. You’ll need a reservation.
This Park Avenue spot with a terrace has become a worthy media favorite. We love them not only for their hand-stretched pretzels, sliders and spaetzle, but because that pretzel comes with caraway mustard; the slider is filled with heritage pork; and the spaetzle features roasted local squash. Put it all together, and it sounds like just what we’d want to dip into after getting those skates off.
Do you have another favorite dining spot near the Rock?
You can also check out these other ice rinks around the city (options in all boroughs included).
Photo via kevygee, Flickr