Where to Celebrate the Holidays

By Morris Gut

FOODIES– The Holiday Season is here, so whether you’ve been naughty or nice it’s time to make plans with friends and family. If you are going out, here are some festive suggestions for every palate, each offering a good dose of Holiday cheer…Seasoned Greetings!


Vistamar Restaurant & Lounge took over the sprawling space that previously operated as Don Coqui and the views are breathtaking. Evenings you can see Manhattan lights in the distance while enjoying ‘Cucina Latina’ prepared with style. Check out the menu for such house specialties as: Seafood Tower, Mofongo, Chuleta, Rabo, King Crab Legs, and Lobster in a variety of styles. Weekly happy hours and nightlife schedule. Thinking New Year’s Eve? Vistamar is planning a special Masquerade Party featuring a 3-course prix fixe dinner and live DJ. Cost is $55 per person plus tax & gratuities. Reservations are suggested. Ample parking. Vistamar, 565 City Island Ave., Bronx. 718-709-0888. www.vistamarcityisland.com 


It is over-the-top at Mulino’s of Westchester in White Plains during the holidays and it begins with the bright glittering lights and smell of chestnuts roasting at the entranceway. Take home a bag of them fresh from the roaster. 

The annual Christmas Holiday Fest at Mulino’s lasts right thru the season and it’s a sight to behold for the whole family! The fountain garden is beautiful as is the lavish dining room and bar/lounge. General Manager Gimmy Cavagna and his staff are keeping the premises spiffy as ever: gesticulating Christmas decorations galore, holiday carolers, life size toy soldiers, the bursting colorful floral displays, the handsome multilevel seating area. A special holiday menu is served. Open 7 days. Bring the whole family. The place sparkles! Valet parking. Reservations advised. Mulino’s of Westchester, 99 Court Street, White Plains 914-761-1818  www.mulinosny.com


This popular new spot in Mamaroneck serves a tempting fusion of Mediterranean and Latin cuisines with pizzazz. Tacos & Tapas, they like to say. Dark woods, brick and brown textured leather are reminiscent of a Spanish wine cellar. Let Sue Vitiello and the staff help you thru such house specialties as: Chorizo Flatbread, Donjito Wings, Pulpo a la Plancha; Tacos with a variety of fillings, short rib barbacoa is a favorite; Paella Barcelona; Chicken Enchiladas; or marinated Skirt Steak. There are house made Churros and Tres Leches Cake for dessert. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Sunday brunch is pending. Inviting bar area. Party facilities. Don Jito, 122 Mamaroneck Ave., Mamaroneck. Phone: 914-902-5486. The same group has a sister restaurant in Scarsdale called: Popojito. www.donjito.com 


Proprietor/Chef Walter Ricci has added sparkle to the premises for the Holidays. Thru the years he worked many popular kitchens in greater Westchester including the former Umberto’s in Rye and Giorgio’s in Port Chester which he ran for 10 years. The restaurant is housed in the landmark DeLancey House where author James Fenimore Cooper lived for a time across from scenic Harbor Island Park in Mamaroneck, along Boston Post Road. Walter will be serving his new updated menu featuring many of his well-known specialties: Italian classics with concentration on the finest ingredients. There’s a big Veal Chop and Rack of Lamb. Pastas are terrific, especially with seafood. Walter does his own shopping daily. The restaurant is open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner. Free street parking. Reservations accepted. La Piccola Casa, 410 W. Boston Post Road, Mamaroneck. 914-777-3766 www.lapiccolacaa.com


This newcomer to the county is now serving Jurassic Tomahawk Steaks, and a fine version of Parrillada, hearty mixed grill with chimichurri sauce. They are as tender as can be. Chef/owner Angelo Magno had put his talents to work at such lauded kitchens at Tango Grill, Milonga and Gaucho Grill. He has joined forces with his family at his own 60-seat spot featuring fine versions of Italian and Argentinean classics. Look for such house specialties as: fresh Empanadas, Chicken or Veal Parmigia

na, a colorful hearty Paella, and hefty Pork Osso Buco.  Cocktail bar. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Sunday Brunch Buffet. Municipal parking nearby. Reservations accepted. Magno’s Grill, 108 Centre Ave., New Rochelle. 914-235-0008 www.magnosgrill.com  


The buzz has been spreading among food aficionados throughout the area. The Fratelli Bruno have combined their considerable talents in opening Le Sirene Ristorante on Palmer Ave. in Larchmont. The Bruno family are veteran restaurateurs who also own such venerable Italian dining rooms as San Pietro, Caravaggio and Sistina in Manhattan. They have ties to their native Southern Italy and they know how to cook in the authentic Italian way: “Let natural food flavors express themselves,” is their culinary philosophy. Owner Cosimo Bruno is general manager and host, but also shares kitchen duties with talented Executive Chef Alberto Pepe. Hospitable Maitre d’ is Gabriele Pepe. Let the warmth guide you to your seat and let the professional staff give you a tour of their regional Italian menu. The Bruno’s know their wines. Cosimo Bruno is also a Certified Sommelier. The ‘pizzaoli’ is at his wood fired pizza oven at the end of the bar ready to prepare over a dozen of his tasty artisanal pies. Request one with shaved truffles on top. Le Sirene is located at 1957 Palmer Ave., Larchmont. 914-834-8300 www.lesireneristorante.com 


When Nick DiCostanzo was growing up on the Island of Ischia on the Coast of Naples in Italy, his earliest memories where of the simple seaside meals he would enjoy with his family, farm-to-table and of course sea-to-table. As proprietor of Mamma Francesca for over 30 years, located on the banks of Long Island Sound with 6-story views of the ‘Queen City’s’ seafaring boat clubs, this culinary philosophy still holds true, albeit with a sprinkling of contemporary taste. There are private and semi-private party facilities for up to 100 guests and catering packages to suit your needs. There is a talented new kitchen staff preparing a seasonal menu of robust Italian/American specialties. Ischia Salad, Penne ala Vodka, Chicken Scarpariello, Sole Francese, Veal Parmigiana. A nice Rabbit Cacciatore, too. Daily Happy Hours. Off-premise catering. New wood-burning pizza oven. Free parking. Mamma Francesca, 414 Pelham Road, New Rochelle. 914-636-1229  www.mammafrancesca.com 

(Morris Gut is a restaurant marketing consultant and former restaurant trade magazine editor. He has been tracking and writing about the food and dining scene in the Bronx & Westchester for 30 years. He may be reached at: 914-235-6591. E-mail: gutreactions@optonline.net)

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