WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Few pleasures compare to a crackling fire on a cold winter's night. Add a crisp, white tablecloth to the equation accompanied by a glass of wine, a slab of steak and you’re in restaurant nirvana.
The fire doesn’t have to be wood-burning to entice; all kinds of fireplaces up the ambiance factor, adding warmth and romance to what normally would be a simple meal. Ready to turn up the heat? A sampling of Westchester County eateries follow. Feel free to add to our list by commenting on our Facebook pages.
- Benjamin Steak House, White Plains: Settle in for the quintessential steakhouse experience -- lots of wood accents, comfy chocolate-brown chairs and food presentations that shine with minimal treatment. Choose between dining by the flickering gas-lit fireplace off to the left of the spacious dining room, or in the more intimate bar area where a glass wall showcases the eatery’s wide-ranging wine list. Either way, red wine is a must. Get Toasty: 610 Hartsdale Rd., (914) 428-6868).
- Campagna, Bedford: This country-farmhouse, part of The Altamarea Group and set in the Bedford Post Inn, sets a warm tone with its three (gas) fireplaces: one in the dining room, one in the lounge and one in the library. There's also a wood-burning fireplace in The Barn, its more casual eatery. Get Toasty: 954 Old Post Rd., (914) 234-6386.
- Chat American Grill, Scarsdale: There's something for everyone at this all-American eatery where, in the large dining room to the left, you'll find a large gas fireplace. Get Toasty: 1 Christie Pl., (914) 722-4000.
- Crabtree’s Kittle House, Chappaqua: Reserve a table by the roaring fireplace in the Tap Room and enjoy John Boy’s Farm’s locally grown roast chicken (among other entrées). The fireplace is part of the original inn and dates from the 1800s, offering plenty of charm to go along with top-notch New American fare, polite and accommodating servers, and a list of wines so extensive you might want to treat yourself to an overnight stay in one of the upstairs rooms. The restaurant recently won our DVlicious "Best Special Occasion Restaurant" in the county. Get Toasty: 11 Kittle Rd., (914) 666-8044.
- Equus Restaurant, Tarrytown: It's easy to feel pampered at this regal restaurant, with its two oversized wood-burning fireplaces (one in the Oak Room, one in the Tapestry Room). Get Toasty: 400 Benedict Ave., (914) 631-3646.
- Half Moon, Dobbs Ferry: The modern gas fireplace in the bar area allows for a view from the dining room. That is, if you're not already looking out at the panoramic views of the Hudson. Get Toasty: 1 High St., (914) 693-4130.
- La Crémaillère, Bedford: The brick fireplace dates from 1750 and makes you feel like you’re dining in some faraway European cottage as opposed to a white clapboard farmhouse in Northern Westchester. Get Toasty: 46 Bedford-Banksville Rd., (914) 234-9647).
- Lusardi’s, Larchmont: This longtime Westchester favorite, known for its mixture of Italian and Mediterranean fare, offers solace in comfort foods like pappardelle Bolognese and its extensive wine list. But it’s the gas-lit fireplace in the dining room that adds to the restaurant’s coziness, making this doyenne of the dining scene a popular winter staple. Get Toasty: 1885 Palmer Ave., (914) 834-5555.
- Madison Kitchen, Larchmont: Dine on seasonally driven food prepared by Chef Nick Di Bona, a winner of Food Network’s "Chopped," while enjoying the artful atmosphere of this sophisticated dining room complete with a gas fireplace. Get Toasty: 7 Madison Ave., (914) 732-3024.
- Modern On The Rails, Mamaroneck: The massive (gas) fireplace makes for an ideal spot for coming in from the cold. And why not? Located in a renovated train station, it's a spectacular space made all the more enticing with Italian classics and Modern's famous pizzas. Get Toasty: 1 Station Plaza, (914) 777-9300.
- Peter Pratt's Inn, Yorktown: You’ll want it to snow just so you can thaw yourself by the fire and dig into a hearty slice of grilled Colorado lamb with Dijon baby roasted potatoes. This former Revolutionary War-era barn, with its thick, petrified chestnut beams and Colonial design, serves epicurean meals in a snug, rustic setting that, thanks to the crackle of flames in the 231-year-old massive fireplace, takes you back to a slower-paced, non-texting era. Get Toasty: 673 Croton Heights Rd., (914) 962-4090.
- Rye Grill & Bar, Rye: With three levels and three fireplaces, you'll always find a place to sit and get warm. This town staple, full of big booths and known for its extensive crowd-pleasing menu, makes for a great winter warmer when you and your friends can't figure out where to go. Get Toasty: 1 Station Plaza, (914) 967-0332.
- Restaurant 121, North Salem: Warning: you may not want to leave your spot by the crackling wood fire in the bar area. And you don't have to. Order food here, or opt for drinks first and then dinner in the chic modern dining room. Get Toasty: 2 Dingle Ridge Rd., (914) 669-0121.
- The Inn at Pound Ridge by Jean-Georges, Pound Ridge: There are three (wood) fireplaces at this stylishly rough-hewed 19th-century house where there are plenty of places to dine. Choose the bar-lounge and lofted dining room on the first floor or the downstairs area with its low-slung ceilings and garden views. Either way, it's an experience that should be on every Westchesterite's bucket list. Get Toasty: 258 Westchester Ave., (914) 764-1400.
- The Lobby Lounge at the Ritz-Carlton, Westchester, White Plains: If the long list of inventive cocktails at this luxe lobby eatery doesn’t warm you sufficiently, the gas-burning fireplace, with its center-stage presence, will. The flickering flames make for a spacious living room atmosphere ideal for people-watching. Get Toasty: 3 Renaissance Sq, (914) 946-5500.
- The Tap House, Tuckahoe: In the mood for casual pub-style hospitality and a dizzying array of craft beers? This tastefully decorated space (think Old English pub with a dash of New York buzz) sports a convivial dining room with a gas-lit fireplace, making it a nice place to hibernate until spring. Get Toasty: 16 Depot Sq, (914) 337-6941.
- Travelers Rest, Ossining: Once a stage coach stop, this historic eatery features stone fireplaces -- one in every dining room! -- and traditional German fare. Get Toasty: 25 Saw Mill River Rd., (914) 941-7744.
- Purdy's Farmer & the Fish, North Salem: Cozy up to one of three fireplaces here -- two wood and one gas -- and then dive into fresh fish from the restaurant's exclusive seafood supplier Down East Seafood. The fact that you're dining an 18th century house that dates back to 1775 makes it that much more enjoyable. Get Toasty: 100 Titicus Rd., (914) 617-8380.
- Vintage 1891 Kitchen, Larchmont: There's a loungey ambiance to Vintage 1891 where you can either sit on couches in the bar area or park yourself at a table by the flickering (gas) fireplace. Either way, you'll be charmed by the wine list, the contemporary American food, and the wine bar meets restaurant vibe. Get Toasty: 2098 Boston Post Rd., (914) 834-9463.
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