Sunday, January 23, 2011

Rolf's -- Where Christmas Never Ends


It's almost a month after Christmas but I wanted to show a restaurant that is a "must see" for many during the Christmas season. Rolf's German Restaurant, located in Manhattan's Gramercy Park neighborhood at 22nd Street and 3rd Avenue, is known for its "over the top" Christmas decorations which stay up well into January. (All photos will enlarge when clicked on once, and then clicked on again again when they open on a new page)


As soon as you walk in the door you see an explosion of Christmas lights and decorations.


They literally take your breath away when you first see them!


Decorations are in every nook and cranny of the restaurant, hanging overhead, dripping from the ceilings, walls and light fixtures like a fairytale wonderland.  Garish? Excessive? Perhaps, but I couldn't help but feel enchanted by it all and enjoyed the festive atmosphere.


Even the bar area is enrobed in lights and baubles.


Dolls are nestled in the garlands ...........


....also Angels and Santa Claus figurines.


There were so many figurines everywhere in the restaurant that I could only capture a small amount with my camera lens. I could not take my eyes off the ceiling and walls looking for all of them
.

Baubles and balls, berries and garland, ribbons and bows, icicles and over 45,000 lights dangle and shine.


Ornaments of golds, reds, pinks, purples, silver and green are a virtual rainbow of color.

They all make Rolf's a Christmas-time spectacular that evokes the fairy-tale like feeling of Germany’s "Black Forest" region.


Even the cover of the menu shined from the reflection of the lights overhead!

My husband and I dined at Rolf's with friends a few weeks ago, well after the Christmas season, as it is almost impossible to get a reservation to dine here the month of December. Even trying to have a drink at the bar is almost impossible in December, due to the enormous crowds. The food is German / Alsace and moderately priced for a Manhattan restaurant. While Zagat reviews are mixed as to quality of the food, we enjoyed the hearty thick potato pancakes we had as an appetizer, and my husband and I enjoyed our Schnitzel a la Holstein which was served with a side of spatzle and a vegetable. While not gourmet, it was filling and good.  I didn't take photos, because I didn't want to disturb my friends dining experience, but you can see Rolf's entire menu on their website.
 
 
Rolf's website states that they change their decorations seasonally, so it may be worthwhile to stop by at any time of the year, but if you can visit sometime during the Christmas season and especially during the last weeks of January you are in for a visual treat!
 
 
Linking to:
 
I'm linking to Mary's "Mosaic Monday" on her blog The Little Red House, Diane's "Second Time Around" on her blog  A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words, and "Rednesday" on Sue's blog It's a Very Cherry World, Jenny Matlock's "Alphabe Thursday" -- the letter is "P" and this is my POST Christmas visit to Rolf's, Sandi's "Friday Linky Favorites" on her blog Whistlestop Cafe Cooking, Laurie's "Few of my Favorite Things Saturday" on her blog Bargain Hunting and Chatting with Laurie, and Beverly's "Pink Saturday" on her blog How Sweet the Sound


 



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111 comments:

Buttercup said...

I've ridden past this restaurant dozens of times on the bus, but never gone in. Would definitely be fun around Christmas next year. Thanks for your encouragement about tart making. Would like to try and don't feel so hesitant about the need for a lot of cooking space. Keep warm!

Tanna at The Brick Street Bungalow said...

WOW! I am speechless. Wow!

Jojo said...

And we missed this on our Christmas visit!!! Now we must come back soon! It's magical!

pam said...

WOW....that's amazing. At first I thought OVER THE TOP...then as you showed us around I started thinking that it might be one of those magical places that just makes you smile in wonder....to be so surrounded with lights and ornaments and EVERYTHING....WOW.

Ciao Chow Linda said...

You are always posting things that are new to me. I will have to visit that place next Christmas - especially with that other over the top with lights place (Tavern on the green) no longer there.

Donnie said...

We're planning on a trip to Staten Island next summer and I'll have to do my NY tour using some of the gorgeous places you have visited. Beautiful.

Farmchick said...

I cannot believe how beautiful these photos are! Such a lovely Christmas theme in this restaurant! I do hope you go back during a different season and report how they decorate for it.

Happier Than a Pig in Mud said...

I would love to see (and taste) this in person-such fun! Thanks for sharing Pat!

GrandmaK said...

Just absolutely gorgeous!!! These picture are so colorful and I especially liked Santa on the carousel horse. Thank you!!! Cathy

La said...

I wonder how long it takes them to decorate like that? Amazing!

From Beyond My Kitchen Window said...

You go to the best places. My husband and I will be married twenty-five years in June and will be going to NYC for three nights. I hope when its gets a little closer to June you might help me make up an itinerary of things to see and do in specific neighborhoods so that we won't waste time and get the most pleasure from our short stay. Thank you in advance.

Linda (More Fun Less Laundry) said...

Wow, Pat, I've never heard of this restaurant but it certainly seems to be entertaining! I'll put it on my list for next year. I also want to see the Mackenzie Childs store--that's supposed to be special. And I was going to email you to see if you have ever done the holiday train show at NYBG, then I noticed you had a post this very Christmas which I missed! I took pics but they are not as clear as yours so I didn't post. I'm surprised you don't have one of the flatiron building! I have a good one which I may put up because I thought of you when I took it! Have a nice evening--are you watching the Jets get creamed by Pittsburg? Linda

Carol said...

It does look so festive and magical! WOW! I can't imagine putting all that up, let alone taking it all down!

SavoringTime in the Kitchen said...

Oh my, that is a spectacular display in that restaurant and so beautifully photographed by you!

A Garden of Threads said...

Must take a long time to put up all those decorations and they change them with the seasons. Wow!

Rajesh said...

Wow! decorations are amazing. You have captured them beautifully.

Diann said...

Wow, what a wonderful place! I would love to visit it.

Jeri ~ said...

Your photos and mosaics are amazing --- this restaurant is magical!!! I would love to see it in person, thanks for sharing.

Custom Comforts said...

How very, very pretty and enchanting. I wouldn't want to pay their electric bill, but would certainly enjoy all that twinkle and glitter. Thanks for sharing.
Cindy

Thoughtfully Blended Hearts said...

These images make me wonder...who does this, how do they do it, how long do they leave it up, and a million more questions....the photos are gorgeous...thanks for showing them to us!!!

Snap said...

what fun! christmas overload! There was a german restaurant in chicago that did something similar. unfortunately, the family decided to sell. shucks!

Sarah said...

I've added Rolf's to my NY list. You have shared so many wonderful NY highlights that my next visit is going to seem like my first time in NYC.~ Sarah

Southerncook said...

Soooooo beautiful and your photos are amazing. Thanks for sharing.

Carolyn/A Southerners Notebook

KarenHarveyCox said...

What a magnificent restaurant! Only in New York could you find something as stunning. I hope that the food is equally extraordinary.

Karen

Kathleen said...

WHOA, THAT'S AMAZING! I am sending that to ds to see if he ever heard of it. Maybe he will take his old mom there some day!
I want to check the web site. I am ok with non gourmet as long as it isn't the French Rest empty plate type place! :)

La Petite Gallery said...

I like Gramercy park area, that was breathtaking, Thanks for sharing this place.It is over the top, a real fantasy trip. Wonder how the food is , hot address.
your photo's are great.


yvonne

Claudia said...

I think the photos enchant. It's like walking into a holiday wonderland. Lucky you for dining there - the ambiance invites.This is something I must see/do/eat/drink.

Lavender Cottage said...

This restaurant is gorgeous in your photos and I bet even better in person. Thanks for sharing.

Mister Meatball said...

Used to live half a block from Rolf's, long time ago. Once, while acting like an idiot, I lost my wedding band there. Rolled under a table, never to be seen again.

Nice to see the place looking so good. Thanks.

Ginny said...

WOW!!! I have never seen anything like this!! It is amazing! I wonder how long it took them to decorate? They would have had to do it while closed. Your food sounds so good, I wish we had something like that here.

Sheila said...

It's hard to believe there would be as many decorations as you describe. I was wondering who would do such an amazing amount of work to put the decorations up each year. I think there must be a huge warehouse to store everything. Rolf must have a huge team of elves helping him decorate!

Jackie said...

Amazing, no wonder they leave them up long into January. Jackie

Kris said...

Wow..what a place!!!

Ebie said...

Its over the top! Your mosaic is pretty!

I would staring at their decorations (besides taking photos) and I do not know if I can concentrate on my meal.

Gracie said...

God, I can't even imagine the amount of time and work they put in it to have all this fixed! It must be really an experience to eat there!

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Now, I would love to go there, Pat! What a beautiful sight to see these decorations, and I am all about keeping Christmas up late. I miss it when it goes away. I'm not one to rush to take my decorations down, either. Since we didn't get to decorate this year, we are going to decorate in Februrary and have Christmas then. LOL! Nothing like a little determination.

XO,

Sheila :-)

Old Kitty said...

I'd not eat be able to eat there as I'd be far to enraptured gawping and getting neck injury from straining my head up to marvel at the ceiling!!! Look at that place!! How amazing!!!!!!!! I think it's lovely!! I think Christmas is about the one time people can go absolutely creatively over the top with dolls and baubles and lights and twinkly sparkly things and I really really really think that Rolf's got the spirit of christmas wonderfully!!

Fantastic!! And the menu looks hearty and warming and just what you need for a cold winter!!!!

Thanks again for dazzling me with bits of NYC I'd never know existed without your blog!!!! Take care x

diane b said...

You find the neatest restaurants. It is a bit over the top but fascinating.

Carol at Serendipity said...

Pat,

How absolutely wonderful! Your photographs are spectacular and your mosaics are great. I would have loved to see pictures of the food!

Carol

RNSANE said...

What an incredible spot. It must take the staff an incredible amount of time to put up all those decorations and, then, to take it all down would be very sad. You must go back and photograph their other seasonal offerings, Pat!! You've made me curious to see what they do the rest of the year.

My Carolina Kitchen said...

Rolf's looks like a winter wonderland. I enjoy German food from time to time and would definitely try Rolf's if I lived nearby. What a unique dining experience.
Sam

Lucy (aka rharper) said...

I not only want to have lunch there today, I want that Santa Claus on the white horsey!

eileeninmd said...

Rolf's looks like the place to visit during the holiday season. The decorations are just stunning. a real WOWSER!

Kathy said...

That did take my breath away - can't imagine how spectacular it is in person! Must take an army of workers to decorate.
Kathy

Junie Moon said...

The restaurant looks fabulous and magical. My husband and I love German food and will put this on our travel wish list in case we ever head to your area. We were so disappointed when the one and only authentic German restaurant in Tucson closed two years after we moved there.

black eyed susans kitchen said...

Delightfully enchanting! I love places like this....they lend an air of magic to the space. My husband and I vacationed in Alsace and the Black Forest some time ago. We enjoyed the scenery and the vinyard's. We crossed back and forth over the Rhine several times, and we were surprised by how different the restaurants were in Germany as opposed to France. All equally delicious, but the decor in Germany had a more fanciful, quirky, and authentic look to them. The French restaurants were lovely but sparsely decorated by comparison. I haven't thought about that trip in ages...thanks Pat. This was a lovely post.
♥, Susan

podso said...

Amazing! I guess they must keep them up long because of all the work putting them up. I'm sure it must really be neat to eat with all that pretty lighting for ambience.

nanny said...

What a wonderful place. It is truly magical!
I think it would be hard to focus on the food and not be looking around. (and that's quite a statement from me/ha...not to focus on food)!

Yvette said...

When it comes to Christmas, too much is never enough. This place is fantastic. Thanks for sharing it with us, Pat.

Maybe next year my granddaughter would like to see it. :)

Theanne... said...

An enchanting Christmas Wonderland! 5 Star food or not, it would be worth it to go and look at the decorating!

Gardening in a Sandbox said...

What an enchanting and entrancing place to dine. They go to a lot of trouble and work to awe their patrons. Well done.

Mary said...

Wow, what a terrific place!

Sniff said...

With all those lights and baubles, I can certainly understand why they keep it up in January, too. It must be some job taking all that down! Facinating place, though.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

Hi Pat, Wow--what an incredible place... I'm afraid that I couldn't eat in that restaurant because I'd be gazing around the entire time... ha

Hugs,
Betsy

Laura @ the shorehouse. said...

GREAT photos of Rolf's, Pat!! I've never been there for the Christmas decorations (!!!) but one of these days! I think they should just leave them up all year 'round for lazy people like me, lol.

Infatuated with Homes and Gardens said...

Hi Pat ,
I love your photos ,
I am your newest Follower!
~Sharon~

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Wow! I think that's wonderful!

Mary Lou said...

How wonderful! We lived in Germany so I can smell the food in my heart. You have to go back and show us another season!

Cori G. said...

HELLO PAT!!!! It seems like forever, doesn't it? I felt I needed to take a break from my blog, but I'm hoping I'm back ;-).
This restaurant is truly amazing and I think if I lived in NY it would be my favorite. I could sit there for hours and just stare at the ceiling.
Thanks for the eye candy.

xoxo Cori

Oliag said...

Extravagant! Fun!

Lovella ♥ said...

Oh my Pat . .how absolutely amazing. I was struck by how crisp and clean the table coverings were against the festive decor. The food sounded mighty good to me.

Sue said...

Hi Pat...Oh My Gosh..what a fabulous place...first we love German food and Miss B would love this place...she is so taken with Christmas decorations...Do they take reservations for December...if they do I bet you have to make a reservation months in advance...Oh, me and Joyce finally found real "Little Italy" pizza today right here in Atlanta...a place called Antico. It was fabulous...the guy is from the Bronx and it was probably one of the best pizzas I have ever had....We were giddy!! Ofcourse we took alot of pictures...

Splendid Little Stars said...

Those ARE amazing decorations! I can see why they'd leave them up for so long.

Ⓙ @ $ € € ₦$ ₣®0₥... said...

"Fairy tale" is the perfect way to describe it, Pat. Wow! Those mosaics are out of this world!!!

Tracy said...

What a FABULOUS Christmas, is right! I don't think I've seen a restaurant that richly decorated for Christmas. What fun! I expect it's an almost overwhelming experience--in the best sense--not knowing where to look, trying to get the fork in the mouth while a-gog at all the loveliness! This was really exciting, Pat. You take us to the best places! :o) Happy Week ((HUGS))

From the Kitchen said...

I say let the celebration continue! Wonderful decorations! I'm cataloging your restaurant posts to have for the next time we visit the city! When our son lived there (Hell's Kitchen), we very much enjoyed his "finds" in the food world and dined deliciously and quite reasonably.

Best,
Bonnie

Diane@A Picture is Worth.... said...

Hi Pat,
Thanks so much for joining in on 2nd Time Around! I think your post fits right in!

These photos are stunning! I can understand why it would be hard to get a reservation there at Christmas!

Now I've got to make a trip to NYC during the holidays!

Vee said...

Rolf's looks like my kind of place. How beautiful! And your mosaics are beautiful, too.

Would you believe that my sister and I are now in a place where we are free to explore NYC some fine day. I'm thinking spring, late spring or early summer...

Shirleyanne said...

Wow! What an amazing place Pat!
Very enchanting & breathtaking! So much to take in, a real treat, especially if you dine in December.
Although, I certainly wouldn't complain about dining after Xmas here either!
The sales have offers on some amazing deco's at such reduced rates, resisted so far, would not contemplate at full price, but if the ones I've seen are still there at the end of the week, might just have to buy..... ;)

Take care!

LDH said...

What an amazing place! Beautiful doesn't come close in describing it. Thank you for sharing ~ some day I would love to visit!

LV said...

I have never been to that part of the country. If I ever should be there, I will certainly look this place up. Absolutely breathtaking decorations. I would not be able to eat for looking at things.

craftyles said...

I love German food and I love the decorations. It looks magical!

Donna@Conghaile Cottage said...

"Wow, that was SUCH FUN"! Thank you for the tour...We may just check out Rolf's the next time we're in the city...
Thank you for sharing.
Have a wonderful week,
Donna

marie said...

Totally amazing! I'm definitely adding this place to my list of places to visit.

Rettabug said...

That is amazing! I wonder what their electric bill runs? I love over-the-top kind of places like this. You're so lucky to be able to see & do all the things you get to.

Thanks too for sharing that apple tart...it looks & sounds scrumptious. I'm saving it for next fall when we, too, go apple picking.

Melanie said...

What a wonderful place- almost Victorian in its opulence. Thanks for the visit.

My Farmhouse Kitchen said...

oh...i LOVE it...i really miss Christmas.....

*HAPPY* to visit here today, my friend

kary
xxx

~~Carol~~ said...

I think the atmosphere would more than make up for the iffy food! It looks positively enchanting, and I bet it's an experience that children never forget. I would love to go there!
Happy REDnesday!
Carol

Ocean Breezes and Country Sneezes said...

Wow, and I thought I put up a lot of decorations LOL!!! I can't imagine what it was like to experience that Christmas magic! Thank you for sharing!

Terra said...

wow, wow and WOW

edenhills said...

What an amazing place! Those pictures are wonderful.

Teresa

Beth said...

Pat, These photos are absolutely stunning!
Blessings, Beth

Debbie Moore at Slice of Pie Entertaining and Cookbooks said...

Thank you so much for sharing this beautiful post ... I could visit a Christmas post everyday!

Chatelaine said...

Wow that looks fabulous. It must be so fun to dine there. Great shots and nice of you not to disturb your friends.

Lisa@GrandmasBriefs said...

I hope this doesn't sound blasphemous as it's certainly not intended to be, but that place sure looks like heaven to me! I hope to get there someday. (I mean Rolf's, not heaven. I'm pretty sure I'm already on the guestlist for heaven.) :)

JDaniel4's Mom said...

JDaniel would have so much to look at while dining at Rolf's. It wouldn't be hard to keep him entertained.

★Mumsy★ said...

What an incredible place to see through your fantastic photo! Just incredible!

Judie said...

Considering what it took to put it all up, I'm not surprised that they are in no hurry to take it down! Someone really loves Christmas!!

Tara said...

Wow, Pat, I'll have to keep this in mind....it looks so festive and fun! Hope all is well with you..finaly ahve the last of the college applications off so I am hoping to get my blogging butt in gear soon...that whole process took so long! How rewarding for you with so many visitors! And for me so I know what to do when in Manhattan!

Riet said...

Wow, I have never seen so many Christmas decorations. Beautiful. Very good for business too as it is always full as you say.The food sounds Alcase German, delicious. Have a good week.

Joyce said...

Oh what a wonderful experience. So over the top that it beats a lot of windows on 5th Ave. Thanks for sharing.
Joyce

Sue said...

Now, THAT'S some crazy Christmas!

=)

Rocky Mountain Woman said...

Enchanting is the word! I love German food (my mother was German) and will definitely put that restaurant on my list next time I visit the city...

BEAR's Mom said...

WOW
Thanx for sharing!!!

Pam said...

Thank you for visiting my blog! I am so happy to have found you and your gorgeous pictures!

thestonerabbit said...

What a spectacular place! I don't blame them for leaving their decor up well into January! That's a lot of stuff to put up and take down!

Sixteen inches LAST NIGHT? OMG, Pat, if I could, I'd send my hubby with his snow blower your way! :)

My friend's daughter lives near Hartford, CN....we've been hearing daily about what they're going through. Today, we're supposed to have temps in the 50s!! I'm hoping I can get out and exercise without fear of falling in the snowy slush or sand that is put on our streets. Sidewalks are still full of snow, so we can't really use them safely. Our great weather is only for one day...then the cold returns and more snow!!

I know this weather is just horrible for you guys...the news is full of terrible stories of folks being stuck in their cars for hours or roofs falling in from the weight of the snow.

Be careful!

L, Dana

Personalized Sketches and Sentiments said...

OH MY goodness! HOw amazing! I love all the decorations! ANd you said that they change the decorations??? Yikes! I would have to keep it all up. That is a lot of work...so beautiful. I wonder if any have fallen on those dining...

Thanks for sharing! Our daughter and her hubby went to NY for their "mini-moon" (a short 3 day trip right after they were married..their honeymoon was not until the summer when they had a longer break from dental/medical school) and then they went back to NY for their 1st anniversary...so I know that they will be there again...I will have to tell them about Rolfes!

Blessings & Aloha!
I am unexpectedly off from work! yay!!! getting to do some blog visiting, catching up and completing some art orders!

Linda said...

That is simply amazing...I would love to visit there one day!

Sarah said...

Pat, I'm back for another visit. This is an amazing place.
Hope you didn't get too much snow this time round.
~ Sarah

Annesphamily said...

I am always so happy to stop by. You post wonderful stories and I particularly liked the dolls in the garland. Plus the food you described sounded very delicious. You are such an amazing host! You have so much snow, more than anyone should have in a season. Please stay safe and warm. Blessings and many prayers to you! Anne

Gail said...

OH MY Gosh this is fab. I can imagine how awe inspiring it is in person. The picture are amazing.
Happy PS
Gail

Jenny said...

What a charming restaurant! I think even if you didn't feel like Christmas that would be the ticket to festive feelings.

The food does sound delicious, though. Sometimes good old home-style cooking is even better than gourmet.

Thanks for a perfectly delightful stop today for Alphabe-Thursday's letter 'P'.

You are precious.

(OK, I'm not a fan of that word but I just drew a blank on P words...sigh...)

A+

Mari said...

HELLO~OMG!!! THIS IS CRAZY BEAUTIFUL!! I WILL HAVE TO HAVE MY HUBBY TAKE ME THERE NEXT CHRISTMAS :)

XOX~MARI

steviewren said...

This is one restaurant where saying that the decorations are over the top would be literally the truth...over the top of the table!

Cheryl D. said...

Your pictures are gorgeous, as always. I would not want the job of taking the decorations down!

Nancy said...

What a great experience to be there among all the decorations. I so love seeing a tradition of Christmas over the top.

I'm still visiting around Pink Saturday posts. Have a wonderful week.

laurie @ bargain hunting said...

Oh Pat, these photos took my breath away! I can only imagine what it would be like to see it in person. What incredibly gorgeous decor. I'd love to know how many people and how many hours it takes to put all of this up, and then to take it all down! It almost wouldn't matter how the food tasted. In this atmosphere, you could just enjoy the experience of seeing this magical Christmas. I loved seeing it, and I'm so glad you joined Favorite Things Sat. laurie

aliceinparis said...

Magical!!!!

CailinMarie said...

What fun! Wonderful photos!
visiting via Pink Saturday Linkup-

Beverly said...

I would love to see all of this. It is a case of sensory overload to love. I can't begin to imagine how they are able to create all of this magic.

Happy Pink Saturday, Pat. Thank you for always sharing.

Debbie@Debbie-Dabble said...

This is fantastic!! I saw all of this on an HGTV special and Rolf's was featured! i think it was Extreme Christmas or something like that but this is just what i would love!!

Hugs,
Debbie