Now that the brisk months of winter are most definitely upon us, there's no better time than the present to enjoy a warm meal at a restaurant that's sure to leave you with a sunnier disposition — whether that means scoring a table at your closest neighborhood eatery with a cozy fireplace or channeling the balmy climate of the islands with a tropical meal from a nearby tiki-themed restaurant.
While the atmosphere and setting of a certain restaurant can surely help to thaw the frosty effects of winter, the kind of food they're serving can also heat things up. Go ahead and order an exceptionally spicy dish, then see how long it takes you to reach for a napkin to wipe the sweat from your brow. Menus that offer dishes featuring wild game meats are another sure bet for those looking to warm their bodies and souls this season — there's nothing quite like a filling meal of meat and potatoes to offer a sense of comfort during the winter.
So while the weather continues to blow and bluster outside, consider the stories and slideshows below to be a beacon of warmth guiding you through the ice, wind, sleet, and snow.
The crisp winter air and icy-cool temperatures are enough to make anyone long for an escape to the balmy beaches of Hawaii. While it may be not be totally feasible for everyone to hop on a plane and take a tropical vacation, there are plenty of restaurants in Hawaii and across the rest of the country that offer a taste of the islands every day.
Today, American restaurant menus are scattered with offerings of wild game, which can be more or less a marketing gimmick — but it’s likely consumers don’t mind. And maybe diners who seek game out on menus are tapping into some idyllic notion of living off the land or looking for the thrill of savoring a creature considered both elusive and wild. And for all of that, there’s no shortage of game restaurants to help them in their pursuits.
As far as décor goes, there is nothing quite like a fireplace to make a restaurant appear cozy and inviting to prospective diners. A great soundtrack can set the vibe quite nicely, but with a full house it can become more disruptive than enjoyable. Candles or floral centerpieces can add character to a table, but they can make it tough to share meals and converse with dining companions. Whether the fireplace has a cool stone facade or is made of polished, carved wood, it is sure to add atmospheric depth to any meal.
Some dishes feature spices, bold or subtle, that together create nuanced flavor profiles. Forget them. This is about the dark side of spices. This is about the spiteful, mouth-on-fire, writhing-in-agony stomach pains that accompany eating dishes whose capsaicin levels are far above anything the average person should be consuming — if they're smart that is. This is about looking for trouble, seeking pain, and testing your mettle.