Address: 325 Bowery (2nd St. & Bleecker St.)
Review: Located in the East Village/NoHo area, this is a terrific spot for a cozy date with some delicious food as well. The decor is stylish but comfortable. The booths upstairs are a favorite and work well for a quiet conversation or can even accommodate a double date with some of your pals. They do a good job of executing some old comfort food standbys – fried chicken, burgers, and shrimp and grits. With prices that won’t break the bank, Peels is a good spot for a cozy date on a cold winter night to sip on some hot cocktails and fill up on some home style cooking. (They have a great brunch too!)
Address: 228 W. 4th St. (7th Ave. S. & W. 10th St.)
Review: Wilfie & Nell is a great local bar in the West Village. It’s got that old tavern look and feel which attracts hipsters and suits alike. It’s a great spot to meet a date or grab some drinks with your pals after work or on the weekends. They have a good selection of craft beers and specialty cocktails to choose from. We have yet to try the food here, which consists of somewhat upscale pub fare, but definitely want to make a trip back for their brunch ($5 bloody mary’s!) It can get pretty crowded/loud on weekends so only take a date here for drinks during the week if you want to be able to hear what they’re saying!
Address: 77 Irving Pl. (18th & 19th St.)
Review: Friend of a Farmer is a GREAT brunch spot! With it’s trendy atmosphere and classier decor than most brunch spots, Friend of a Farmer is a good place for a casual, cozy brunch with your beau or somewhere to bring the parents of someone special. They have a delicious and fresh farm to table type menu with tons of omelette options and tasty pancakes. We’ve never tried the dinner here but it looks like a pretty decent menu of classic american comfort food. There’s generally a wait during brunch so try to get there early since it’s first come first serve (you can make reservations for dinner though). Friend of a Farmer is always showing up on the top brunch spot lists for a reason!
Address: 45 E. 30th St. (Madison Ave. & Park Ave.)
Review: The Mason Jar falls flat on the brunch front. We came here to have some brunch while catching the football playoffs. The menu has your standard brunch items, some with a little southern flair. The food wasn’t terrible but it was nothing memorable. Also, the service was insanely slow for there only being 4 other tables occupied in the whole place. The Mason Jar is definitely better served as a sports bar, solely a spot to grab some beers, bourbon and wings with your bros while watching the game.
Address: 159 Lexington Ave. (at 30th St.)
Review: Penelope has an AMAZING brunch, as you can probably tell by the line out the door on weekends. Everything on the menu is delicious from the nutella french toast to the egg dishes to the chicken apple sausage to the cinnamon buns. They also do a little bit of a different spin on their brunch cocktails and they’re fantastic. You can also order for pick up to skip the wait, and this is usually a better bet unless you have a Saturday morning/afternoon to sit around waiting. All in all, Penelope is a cute, trendy brunch date spot that you’ll be craving every time Saturday morning rolls around.
Address: 161 Lexington Ave. (30th & 31st St.)
Review: Lallisse is a Mediterranean take on brunch, but not in a good way. We came here because the line at Penelope’s (across the street) was too long. The nice cozy rustic decor seemed really promising until the food came. The menu is very limited and overpriced and the service was super slow. The eggs benedict and the Mediterranean omelette were bland and tasteless, and a little on the cold side. Even the strawberry mimosa was subpar, I guess they were going for a “fresh fruit” thing but it was really just mashed up strawberries floating in champagne. You’re WAY better off waiting it out at Penelope’s or just going elsewhere.
Address: 55 Third Ave. (10th & 11th St.)
*Location also in Midtown East
Review: The Smith is a fun, trendy, somewhat sceney spot in the East Village to grab some brunch or a group dinner with friends before heading out. They have a solid brunch menu and you MUST try the candied bacon…it’s amazing. Great bloody mary’s and mimosas as well. And brunch is til 4pm so you can sleep in! We’ve only been for brunch but it always looks pretty packed for dinner and the menu is large with something for everyone. Good spot to go in the spring/summer when they open the doors out to 3rd Ave. The Smith works for anything from a hungover brunch to a casual date spot to a group night out.
Address: 11 W 17th St. (5th & 6th Ave.)
Review: Rye House is a good spot for a strong cocktail in somewhat of a hipster/trendy atmosphere. They have a good specialty cocktail list and great selection of dark liquors. We’ve never been here for dinner but it’s a great spot for some apps and cocktails. Could be good for a more casual “let’s grab drinks date spot”, but also a fun place to grab a long table in the back to booze all night with friends. Truffle grilled cheese and truffle beer cheese are fantastic snacks to nosh on while enjoying your cocktails. They have a pretty solid Southern style brunch as well.
Address: 225 Park Ave S (18th & 19th St.)
Review: Wildwood is a large format, Park Ave. BBQ spot. We’ve had both brunch and dinner here. The decor is pretty kitschy but don’t let that fool you. Wildwood has solid BBQ dishes for brunch, lunch and dinner. It’s a decent place to grab a casual bite to eat if you’re in the mood for some good BBQ with your significant other or a bunch of buddies. They also have a ton of tv’s around the restaurant and bar if there’s any game you want to keep tabs on while eating.
Address: 450 Park Ave. S. (30th & 31st St.)
Review: Steer clear of PS450 unless you’re here for a party. There’s a good bar scene but not the greatest brunch food. The boyfriend got sick after eating here and while they have cheap prices for brunch, its not worth it – there are much better brunch places in the area. Never tried the dinner here but can’t imagine it’d be much better, plus if you can botch something as easy as brunch I wouldn’t trust the dinner menu. So unless you’re grabbing beers with friends, we do not recommend PS450.
Address: 2 Park Ave. (at 33rd St.)
Review: We’ve been to Artisanal Fromagerie for both brunch and dinner. It wasn’t the best dinner we’ve had and the staff was very slow/inattentive – though we did order off the Restaurant Week Menu so you may have better luck ordering off of the regular menu – which definitely looks more promising. From our experience though, you’re better off just coming here for the cheese, fondue and wine selection rather than entrees. If you and your date are big cheese lovers this place is definitely worth a try if you’re willing to shell out some serious dough. Their brunch menu was more well executed than their RW dinner menu so a brunch date would be a better, somewhat cheaper option.
Address: 375 3rd Ave. (at 27th St.)
Review: If you’re in the mood to booze and eat bar food Rodeo Bar is a solid choice in Murray Hill. Good for a cheap margarita or beer and some nachos, quesadillas or cowboy kisses (shrimp and jalapeno poppers wrapped in bacon). They also have a surprisingly decent brunch and usually have live music in the back room. Rodeo Bar is a throw your peanuts on the floor type of place so not an ideal spot to impress a date but a good spot to get drunk and pig out with a group of buddies.