Menu Movers & Shakers

Places to Enoy a Meal When Out During the Holidays

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The fresh mozzarella salad at Torcello Ristorante Italiano, one of many specialties to try at the Larchmont establishment.

By Morris Gut

This time of year, there are a variety of holiday-themed events for a night out with the family. If you get hungry, whether it’s before or after a local holiday concert, an evening at Westchester’s Winter Wonderland at Kensico Dam Plaza or if you’re talking a trip to the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx for the annual Holiday Train Show, here are several places to enjoy a satisfying meal.

Torcello Ristorante

Imer Rraci and his veteran team have reimagined the former La Riserva, a lovely setting for the Italian classics. Named after an island off the coast of Venice, Chef Avni turns out winning dishes such as the colorful mozzarella caprice; eggplant rollatini; rigatoni Bolognese; risotto di funghi with porcini; veal martini; the classic rack of lamb; and the delicious Pollo Torcello, topped with applewood bacon and melted fresh mozzarella in a light bourbon mushroom sauce.

Rraci spent years working for the former Giambelli in Manhattan and Valbella in Old Greenwich, Conn.

Open seven days for dinner starting at 4:30 p.m. Cocktails are available at the bar. The weekday happy hour is 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Free parking.

Torcello Ristorante Italiano is located at 2382 Boston Post Rd. in Larchmont. Info: 914-833-1118 or visit

Trattoria Vivolo

Chef and owner Dean Vivolo’s new winter menu includes a wonderful paglia e fieno con funghi, and the linguine vongole is not to be missed.

Vivolo’s robust regional Italian cuisine is served out of a restored vintage diner just across from Harrison’s Metro-North station and the Avalon complex. Sit at the counter, tuck into a booth or take a table in the rear greenhouse and enjoy the surprising contemporary and traditional flavors emanating from his kitchen.

There’s the tasty thin-crusted pizza; old-fashioned meatballs and sausage; crostino di polenta; lasagna Bolognese al forno; osso buco (tender braised veal shank); and the occasional roasted porchetta.

There’s a great staff and a strong wine list. Closed Mondays. Free parking.

Trattoria Vivolo is located at 301 Halstead Ave. in Harrison. Info: 914-835-6199 or visit


Liebman’s kosher Jewish delicatessen in Riverdale has been serving their traditional larder since 1953. They are the only kosher deli left in the Bronx where once there were many.

For all you corned beef and pastrami mavens, it’s just a 20-minute drive from the Botanical Garden. Owners Yuval Dekel and Craig Weitz have announced plans for a new deli at Addyman Square in Ardsley.

Liebman’s is located at 552 W. 235 St. in Riverdale. Info: 718-548-4534 or visit


Owner Spiros Chagares and his staff offer patrons an inspired melding of traditional and contemporary dishes served with flair.

Sit in one of several dining areas and enjoy changing specialties like the hearty seafood chowders; smoked salmon roll-ups; wood-grilled jumbo shrimp and scallops; the tender short rib; a massive zuppa di pesce; tender oven roasted rack of lamb; Chardonnay poached salmon with seafood; and fresh lobster prepared in a variety of styles. There are large combo platters and a loaded lobster salad roll at lunch. A selection of craft beers is available.

Check out the bar and lounge most evenings for networking. Private party facilities available. Open seven days. Free parking.

Artie’s is located at 394 City Island Ave. in the Bronx. Info: 718-885-9885 or visit

Holiday Dining at NYBG

There are themed dining pavilions throughout the New York Botanical Garden and near the Enid Haupt Pavilion. There’s the casual Pine Tree Café and the farm-to-table Hudson Garden Grill. Open daily. Info: Visit

Check out the special Glow Nights and Bar Car Nights featuring curated food and cocktails, scheduled for Dec. 7 and 14 and Jan. 5 from 7 to 10 p.m. For adults 21 and over. Advanced tickets and reservations advised. Info: Visit

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 greater Westchester for 30 years. He may be reached at 914-235-6591 or

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