It's Christmas Eve. That means that all over the world families are gathering together around dinner tables to celebrate.
But here in New York, we have our own tradition: Eating at a Chinese restaurant.
In the beloved tradition of eating Chinese food on Christmas, we've found the best Chinese restaurants in Manhattan.Big Wong
67 Mott St.
Don't let the silly name fool you: Big Wong is a favorite among fans of classic small-plate, Hong Kong-style fare. It's a bit of a dive, but worth it for the congee (a rice porridge served with a variety of meats and sides).
19-23 Saint Marks Place
There are several branches of the local Grand Sichuan chain, but the one on St. Marks Place is arguably the best one in the city.
The menu of traditional Sichuan dishes is so extensive that you may have trouble choosing.
90 3rd Ave.
The beloved Philadelphia restaurant chain opened its first outpost in New York's East Village last year, and it's already a favorite with New Yorkers. Items on the menu are scored 1-10 based on spiciness, with 10 topping out at mouth-scorching.
Order the famed dan dan noodle appetizer, and follow it up with a hot pot or one of the dozen or so other options on the entree section of the menu.
104 2nd Ave.
Hot Kitchen serves spicy Sichuan cuisine in a low-key spot in the East Village. The menu features lots of seafood dishes, like soft-shell crab and steamed whole fish with hot bean sauce.
Dishes are served family-style, so this place is best for groups.
20 Elizabeth Street
If you're looking for an authentic dim sum experience, there's no better spot than Chinatown's Jing Fong, a massive banquet hall where servers wheel carts filled with various delicacies around the tables.
The Hong Kong-style eatery is great for groups, and serves more than 100 varieties of dim sum.
9 Pell St.
Joe's Shanghai is famous for its soup dumplings, called Xiao Long Bao or "Little Dumplings in the Basket."
They come in either pork or crab meat varieties, served in a bamboo basket. Bite the edge of the dumpling and carefully slurp up the soup, being careful to avoid spilling the piping hot broth all over you.
Some people say Joe's Shanghai is overrated and expensive with long lines. Others swear by it. Love it or hate it, this place is an institution.
Legend Bar & Restaurant
88 7th Ave.
A meal here will leave your mouth scorched — but in a good way.
Legend serves extra spicy but delicious Szechuan classics like Dan Dan Noodles and Sichuan Spicy Ma Po Tofu with black beans. Order the Sichuan cucumbers to cool the fire in your mouth.
Multiple locations in Manhattan
Mr. Chow turns Chinese food into fine dining. The dining room is elegant, service is excellent, and the food is superb — but you'll pay for the experience.
There are two locations in Manhattan — in Tribeca and Midtown East — but both are trendy.
Nancy Lee's Pig Heaven
1420 3rd Ave.
Nancy Lee's Pig Heaven serves both Taiwanese and American-style Chinese food in a kitschy setting. The menu and decor are eclectic, but the food is always delicious.
Reserve in advance as this place gets booked up early — and order the pork ribs, a house special.
Multiple locations in Manhattan
RedFarm is a creative, high-end Chinese restaurant that serves innovative Chinese dishes presented in a very whimsical, playful manner.
Check out, for example, the Pac-Man ghost dumplings with the sesame seed eyes or the Katz's pastrami egg roll.
There are two locations in Manhattan: in the West Village and Upper West Side.
103 Mott St.
While every New Yorker has his or her favorite spot, Chinatown's Royal Seafood is our pick for the best Dim Sum in the city.
They have all sorts of dumplings and delicious Dim Sum bites, but the lobster is one of the best things on the menu.
Shun Lee West
43 West 65th St.
Shun Lee serves haute Chinese cuisine in an elegant dining room with black-lacquered walls and a golden dragon design.
The food is equally upscale and delicious, but it's not cheap.
Xi'an Famous Foods
Multiple locations in Manhattan and Queens
Xi'an Famous Foods serves western Chinese specialties, like awesome hand-pulled noodles and a cumin lamb burger at incredibly cheap prices.
They have locations in Chinatown, the East Village, and Flushing, Queens.
Looking for a different kind of cuisine?
The Best Italian Restaurants In New York City »
See Also:The Top 8 Restaurants In America, According To OpenTableHOUSE OF THE DAY: Stunning Chelsea Townhouse Sells For Nearly 4 Times What Owners Paid Just 3 Years AgoThe 50 Most Unforgettable Photos Of 2014