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Rolf’s

This is the most wonderful time of the year, especially when you live in New York City. The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree is lit (literally), Saks is adorned with its holiday windows, and Salvation-Army santas ring bells on every corner.

NYC has many more holiday traditions that I love, and one I hadn’t yet experienced: dining at Rolf’s German Restaurant in Gramercy Park. So Ann and I headed there one afternoon to make all of my holiday dreams come true!

Rolf's German Restaurant at Christmas - New York City dining - Wanderlust in the City

If you’re wondering why Rolf’s is an NYC Christmas tradition, it’s because the restaurant has its holiday decor up year round. And I’m not talking about just a tree and a few lights. Instead, every inch of Rolf’s ceiling is covered in a bounty of Christmas lights, evergreens, and ornaments. It’s like Christmas threw up all over Rolf’s. But in a good way!

Rolf's German Restaurant at Christmas - New York City dining - Wanderlust in the City

Rolf's German Restaurant at Christmas - New York City dining - Wanderlust in the City

Rolf's German Restaurant at Christmas - New York City dining - Wanderlust in the City

Rolf's German Restaurant at Christmas - New York City dining - Wanderlust in the City

Rolf's German Restaurant at Christmas - New York City dining - Wanderlust in the City

Rolf's German Restaurant at Christmas - New York City dining - Wanderlust in the City

Rolf's German Restaurant at Christmas - New York City dining - Wanderlust in the City

Rolf's German Restaurant at Christmas - New York City dining - Wanderlust in the City

Rolf's German Restaurant at Christmas - New York City dining - Wanderlust in the City

While Rolf’s has its decor up year round, most people predictably head there during the holidays. After all, there can’t be much demand for Christmas lights in August. But that means that between the week before Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, Rolf’s is absolutely packed no matter when you go. People even line up outside, waiting to get in. It’s just that busy.

Knowing this, Ann and I went in early November hoping to beat the rush. We also went at a strange time for dinner, arriving at 4pm on a Thursday afternoon.

When we arrived the bar area was still pretty packed.

Rolf's German Restaurant at Christmas - New York City dining - Wanderlust in the City

But luckily there were open tables, and no wait, in the restaurant area. If you haven’t already guessed, Rolf’s doesn’t take reservations.

Rolf's German Restaurant at Christmas - New York City dining - Wanderlust in the City

We sat down at a table in the corner.

Rolf's German Restaurant at Christmas - New York City dining - Wanderlust in the City

Channeling this painting!

Rolf's German Restaurant at Christmas - New York City dining - Wanderlust in the City

We browsed the cocktail menu. I loved how many Christmassy drink options there are!

Rolf's German Restaurant at Christmas - New York City dining - Wanderlust in the City

I ordered the Vanilla Spiced Eggnog with bourbon. Ann selected the Christmas smoothie with Bailey’s vanilla cinnamon and a splash of Goldschlager. Even though we were confused when they arrived looking exactly the same, each drink tasted different and both were delicious.

Rolf's German Restaurant at Christmas - New York City dining - Wanderlust in the City

Rolf's German Restaurant at Christmas - New York City dining - Wanderlust in the City

Rolf's German Restaurant at Christmas - New York City dining - Wanderlust in the City

For dinner Ann ordered the Baked Tilapia with a sherry sauce and a side of mashed potatoes.

Rolf's German Restaurant at Christmas - New York City dining - Wanderlust in the City

And I chose traditional German fare: the Smoked Bratwurst with a side of mashed potatoes and a side of spaetzle. We really enjoyed our food (and Greg enjoyed my leftovers)!

Rolf's German Restaurant at Christmas - New York City dining - Wanderlust in the City

By the time we left the restaurant, around 5:30pm, it was much more crowded. And keep in mind this was during the off-peak season!

Rolf's German Restaurant at Christmas - New York City dining - Wanderlust in the City

Rolf's German Restaurant at Christmas - New York City dining - Wanderlust in the City

Rolf's German Restaurant at Christmas - New York City dining - Wanderlust in the City

We enjoyed our festive holiday evening at Rolf’s. It’s definitely somewhere you should go at least once! For more information on Rolf’s, click here.

Rolf's German Restaurant at Christmas - New York City dining - Wanderlust in the City

Fröhliche Weihnachten!

~A

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