Address: 377 Park Ave. S. (26th & 27th St.)
*Also located in the East Village and Williamsburg
Review: One of the more recent openings in the quickly changing landscape of the Flatiron/Park Ave. neighborhood brings us this higher end pizza joint coming over from Brooklyn. We sat at the bar to grab some beers and a pie. The bartender was friendly and helpful, giving good recommendations on the new menu. All the options had a wide array of cheeses and toppings. However, the crust fell a bit short – the base of the pizza was a little soggy and couldn’t hold the toppings up when we lifted it to eat. Though disappointing, the quality of toppings helped make up for it. It could have been some new growing pains as we visited Forcella right as it opened, or maybe it was just an overload of toppings…a debate we wouldn’t mind settling with a return trip. With its relaxed atmosphere, Forcella is a good spot for a casual date when you’re in the mood for something a little nicer than that $1 slice pizza joint on the corner.
Address: 21 W. 17th St. (5th & 6th Ave.)
Review: Located just steps from Union Square park in the Flatiron area sits another gem in this burgeoning neighborhood. After a couple of happy hour drinks we looked around for some light and tasty dinner options. Seafood sounded like a good choice and BLT Fish has a great selection. We sat on the top floor in a cozy booth and began our feast under the skylight. The only issue we had with the menu was that it was too big and everything looked too good! We finally settled on some raw bar items and a bunch of smaller plates. Oysters, crab legs, you name it…the boyfriend was feeling good after some post work cocktails and got a bit out of hand, ordering nearly everything he liked on the menu, and I didn’t object. Each dish was a complete delight to the palate; though not the wallet. You pay up for the beautiful and comfortable setting and the seemingly ocean to table freshness; but it’s definitely worth the price.
Address: 411 Park Ave. S. (28th & 29th St.)
*Also located in FiDi
Review: Between the two of us we’ve had the pleasure of eating both the dinner and brunch at the two different locations. Your standard brunch fare at the Park Ave. location does not disappoint. Friendly service makes up for the outdated decor and cavernous space, which feels a little cold and impersonal. The food was good, though not very memorable. Solidly good eggs benedict and sweet dessert crepes hit the mark on a cold rainy morning. The BF had dinner downtown at the FiDi location which is much smaller and cozier. It’s a great place to meet up and catch up with some old friends. The steak frites were a mixed success…amazing fries, average steak. But yet again the dessert was the game saver – bananas flambee cooked tableside was a great way to leave on a high note. Bourdain’s Les Halles is an old New York standby and you get that feeling while there, if only he was back in the kitchen.
Address: 53 W. 19th St. (5th Ave & Avenue of the Americas)
Review: Boqueria is a great Spanish tapas place with two locations – in Flatiron and SoHo. It’s the perfect date spot to share a couple different dishes and try something new over a glass or three of wine. Boqueria has a fun, young crowd and super helpful/knowledgeable servers if you’re at a loss as to what wine or meat/cheese options to pick. We didn’t have too much as we only stopped in for a quick bite but the meat and cheese plate, croquettas cremosas (creamy croquettes; three each of mushroom and Serrano ham), and cojonudo (fried quail eggs and chorizo on toast) were all delicious and definitely hit the spot. Can’t wait to make a trip back to try more!
Address: 4 W. 22nd St. (5th & 6th Ave.)
Review: Sagaponack is a classy but casual seafood/new american restaurant tucked away in the Flatiron District. It’s got a comfy, beachy, hamptons feel and has great seafood dishes to go along with it. There’s a whole section of their menu dedicated to lobster so of course we needed to try out some of those dishes. The lobster pot pie and the lobster and shrimp ravioli were great, creative preparations of lobster and the duck and mushroom dumplings are a MUST try. All in all, Sagaponack is a cute spot to bring your date with it’s intimate and classy, yet casual and comfortable setting. We’re already talking about going back to try out some of their meat dishes!
Address: 42 E. 20th St. (Broadway & Park Ave. S.)
Review: Gramercy Tavern is an NYC classic. With the beautiful setting and perfectly executed dishes, it’s a must try for a special night out. You have two options – sitting at the bar and eating a la carte off of the Tavern menu, or dining on the chef’s tasting menu. We were able to walk right in and sit at the bar within 5 minutes. The Tavern menu has great options – we had the oysters, duck liver mousse, pork and fennel sausage and the chicken. For dessert we tried the strawberry pie with mint ice cream. Every dish was outstanding, so don’t think by sitting at the bar you are getting shafted in the least. They also have great specialty cocktails and super friendly bartenders. So if you’re looking to take your date out to some place really special, and are willing to shell out some extra cash, Gramercy Tavern should be at the top of your list.
Address: 235 Park Ave. S. (19th & 20th St.)
Review: City Crab is a great spot in Gramercy for some good, super fresh seafood. It’s a large space that’s nicely done, while not overly fancy. Tons of options to satiate your seafood craving – crisp oysters, delicious buffalo shrimp, and basically anything else you can imagine. Try the cold platter to get a little taste of everything! The menu is reasonably priced for the quality seafood you’re getting, but it’s not cheap. City Crab is better for a nice bar/raw bar date than a romantic one with their great bar/high top table area.
Address: 66 Madison Ave. (27th & 28th St.)
Review: Choza Taqueria is a hot spot for lunch given the area. We went for a quick, delicious dinner one night. They have GREAT authentic tacos, awesome grilled corn and yummy chips and guac. Unfortunately there’s no booze but they have Jarritos (Mexican soda) in a ton of different flavors. It’s a small place with a take-out look to it so it’s not for anything romantic but the solid food makes it worth a try whether you eat there, take it to go and sit in Madison Square Park or get it delivered to your apartment.
Address: 30 W. 26th St. (6th Ave. & Broadway)
Review: Hill Country has some of the best BBQ in Manhattan. It’s a great spot to go with a group of friends, get some buckets of beer and some meat. Tons of meat options, one more delicious than the next – brisket, beef, pork, chicken, and sausage. Great side dishes as well. With the live music downstairs, cheap beer and great food, Hill Country is the perfect spot for a fun night out with all of your buddies.
Address: 27 E. 20th St. (Broadway & Park Ave. S)
Review: We stumbled upon Rohm Thai on our walk home and we decided to stop in. Unfortunately there was a loud, obnoxious group of girls when we got there but thankfully they were on their way out. Once they left it was a quiet, perfect spot for an intimate date night. It’s a small place with romantic, candlelight decor full of couples on dates. We were pleasantly surprised at how great the food was – great pork, chicken and duck dishes all at reasonable prices. They have several delicious specialty cocktails as well. Definitely a great place to bring your date out for some good Thai in Flatiron.
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: 373 Park Ave S (26th & 27th St.)
*Locations also in Meatpacking, Soho and Midtown East
Review: Dos Caminos is a chain Mexican restaurant that puts out solid grub, though on the pricier side. The menu consists of a more upscale take on your standard Mexican dishes. You MUST try the delicious made fresh to order guac, queso fundido with chorizo, the trio tasting of ceviches and of course one of the fresh fruit tequila cocktails. We also split a couple of the taco options (carnitas and pollo were our favorites). When you’re in the mood for some delicious Mexican and refreshing margaritas in a trendy, intimate atmosphere, this is a great option. You’ll want to make a reservation because it’s usually packed most nights of the week.
Address: 261 3rd Ave. (20th & 21st St.)
Review: Defonte’s originated in Brooklyn but has, thankfully, spread its wings to the Gramercy area. This sandwich shop has awesome classic Italian sandwiches. It’s not a date spot but it’s great for meeting up for lunch or grabbing a sandwich and taking it with you to the park or some other fun NYC activity. Definitely go for one of their hot heroes, the eggplant parm is fantastic.
Address: 220 Park Ave. S. (17th & 18th St.)
*Locations also in Financial District, Midtown East, Midtown West, Upper West Side, Upper East Side
Review: Haru is your chain sushi place that churns out solidly good sushi with decent creativity with their rolls, but this is not a place for the sushi purists. They have good apps like the crispy duck and shrimp and mushroom shumai, a bunch of good specialty cocktails ($13 a pop) and solid rolls. Haru is a better spot for a group dinner rather than a date, but nonetheless, an above average last minute place when you’re in the mood for sushi. The menu isn’t the cheapest out there but the wait is never too long so reservations aren’t really necessary.
Address: 72 Madison Ave. (27th & 28th St.)
Review: We went to Duo for restaurant week, which would definitely be your best bet for a trip to Duo since the dishes are pricey. Duo is dark with comfortable seating, a good date spot atmosphere. Food was solidly good but nothing spectacular, you could get a better bang for your buck elsewhere. The best aspects of Duo are its really good, but pricey, specialty cocktail list and their attentive staff. If you’re in the area and willing to shell out the cash this isn’t a bad spot but you’d be better off walking a few blocks west to the NoMad.
Address: 900 Broadway (at 20th St.)
Review: The Cellar at Beecher’s is the perfect date spot for wine and cheese lovers. Comfortable lounge seating, great selection of cheeses and wines, and a super knowledgeable staff. We just told the waiter what flavors of cheese and meats we generally like and he suggested 6 GREAT cheese and charcuterie options and brought us the perfect white wine to go along with it. We shamelessly ordered seconds of the cheese because we had to have more! They also offer entree options and we’re dying to go back and try the mac and cheese. Definitely a cool place to check out below the Beecher’s Handmade Cheese shop for an intimate date night for all you wine and cheese connoisseurs.
Address: 378 Park Ave. S. (26th & 27th St.)
*Location also in Midtown East
Review: Hillstone is a solid place for a more expensive date night. It’s generally populated by business suit wearing types after work and has round booths where you and your date can cozy up and have a romantic meal together. They have a very mixed menu from burgers to sushi to pan roasted salmon, so it’s a great spot if you don’t know what type of food your date likes or both are in the mood for different types of cuisine. The higher end, classy atmosphere, the eclectic menu and the large wine list make it a great spot to bring your date.
Address: 245 Park Ave. S (19th & 20th St.)
*Location also in the West Village
Review: Much like Haru, Sushi Samba is another good chain restaurant that churns out an above average product. It’s kitschy and always busy but has a large cocktail list and is a fun spot – though the menu is not for the sushi purists. They have some really good, fresh specialty rolls and both Latin and Asian dishes are available so it’s a good spot if you’re in the mood for a little bit of an eclectic dinner. The noise level is a little loud at both locations but it’s still a decent date spot that’s more on the expensive side.
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.