Now that the weather has cooled down and sweater season is upon us once again, it's time to steer clear of those breezy alfresco restaurants and look instead for eateries that offer a warmer experience.
As far as décor goes, there is nothing quite like a fireplace to help a restaurant provide a cozy and inviting environment to prospective diners. Sure, a great soundtrack can set the vibe quite nicely at times, but with a full house it can become more disruptive than enjoyable. And while candles or floral centerpieces can sometimes add character to a table, they can also make it tough to share meals and converse with dining companions. But a fireplace immediately conjures up a feeling of comfort unobtrusively and the experience is easy to share.
At some of the restaurants on this list, the fireplace adds an unexpected touch of hominess to an otherwise formal or modern setting, like the one at Per Se in New York City. Other places have a fireplace that brings a sense of historical significance to the restaurant, such as the one at 1789 Restaurant in Washington, D.C., which was part of the building's original design when it opened in 1789.
Whether the fireplace has a cool stone facade, like the one at The Fireplace in Brookline, Mass., or is made of polished, carved wood, like the one at Old Town Social in Chicago, it is sure to add atmospheric depth to any meal.
Cold winter nights make many miss the experience of sitting outside and people-watching in an open setting. To those, we say, "Don’t fret!" While some of the restaurants on our list, such as the ever-elegant Deuxave in Boston, have fireplaces that warm up their interior dining room, others, including Barcelona Wine Bar in Washington, D.C., provide guests the opportunity to sit out on the patio and enjoy some fresh air while staying warm next to a large outdoor fireplace.
Think we missed your favorite fireplace eatery? Leave a comment below or tweet us @thedailymeal.
Lili Kocsis is a self-proclaimed gastronome. She graduated from Harvard University in 2011 with a BA in linguistics. She dedicates her spare time to purposeful travel, food photography, and writing about regional cuisine under the penname MyAmusedBouche.