Address: 53 Great Jones St. (Lafayette St. & Bowery)
Review: il Buco Alimentari & Vineria is the slightly more casual spin off on the nearby il Buco, but by no means is there a step down in flavor. Seated at the bar in the back room we had a view into the open kitchen and were able to watch the bartenders do their thing while getting input and help on how to best pair their impressive wine list with what we ordered. We had some house made ricotta that was melt in your mouth good and some meats from their market as well, but the focus of the meal was definitely the short rib, a piece of meat to be remembered – it was fall of the bone delicious. The portion size was more than enough for two after some starters. Though the service was a bit spotty and slow for some courses and the price tag isn’t too wallet friendly, it’s the amazing food that will have you coming back for more.
Address: 149 2nd Ave. 2nd Floor (9th & 10th St.)
Review: Kingston Hall is a nice break from the chaos that can be the East Village bar scene. This sudo speakeasy is a great place to bring a date or a group (though avoid Thursday through Saturday for a date as it can get pretty loud/rowdy on weekends). There’s comfy lounge seating, a pool table and a back room that’s great for groups. Fun cocktails give Kingston Hall a classier feel than the standard East Village bar catering to the beer swilling masses.
Address: 254 5th Ave. (28th & 29th St.)
Review: Situated in the up and coming NoMad area, this newly opened seafood restaurant is just getting its sea legs underneath it. Our visit here was only 3 weeks into its debut. The service was super friendly and the food was delicious, however they were lacking on dish availability – they ran out of 2 of the dishes we wanted to try. Good, clean oysters, nice salads and a delicious oyster po’ boy made for a delicious night of trying out the new kid on the block.
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: 9 E. 18th St. (5th Ave. & Broadway)
*Locations also in Midtown East and UWS
Review: Rosa Mexicano is a large format chain Mexican restaurant with 3 locations in NYC – Union Square, Upper West Side and Midtown East. But even though it is a chain they have great, more upscale Mexican dishes with deliciously fresh ingredients. They have a large menu with tons of different options and lots of great tequila cocktails as well. You of course need to order the guac which is freshly made at your table, their ceviches are solid and the fundido (Mexican fondue type dish) is super cheesy and terrible for you but oh so good and a must order for the table to share. If you’re looking to have a fun dinner out with friends and/or family, this is a great choice. Though beware, at busier times the servers can get over whelmed, service can get pretty slow and one for got an app we ordered.
Address: 18 Cornelia St. (4th & Bleecker St.)
Review: Pearl Oyster Bar is a quaint seafood spot in the West Village. The decor is bright but pretty bare/limited giving it that casual seaside restaurant feel. They have a basic seafood menu that’s executed very well at a pretty good value. The seafood is super fresh and the lobster rolls are fantastic – one of the best we’ve had in the city. Be warned that they don’t take reservations and it gets packed for dinner so try and get there early! You can sit and eat at the bar or the counter too if you want less of a wait.
Address: 316 Bowery (at Bleecker St.)
Review: Saxon and Perole is a great spot for some tasty food and cocktails right on Bowery in NoHo. Grab a seat outside on a nice night and watch the world go by, or cozy up indoors where the interior decor lends itself to a perfect romantic date setting. The “Little Bit of Everything” plate was the perfect size to share for 2, they have a decent selection of super fresh oysters and if you’re in the mood for some meat, “The Burger” is fantastic. Definitely try the side of chili-caramel brussels sprouts if they have it, even the non-vegetable eaters will enjoy them. They also have some good specialty cocktails, though they could be stronger. If you’re looking for a place with a cool vibe, romantic decor and great food, this is the spot.
Address: 209 East 49th St. (3rd & 2nd Ave.)
Review: Pampano is a high end Mexican seafood spot located in Midtown East. It’s not a far walk from Grand Central and it has really nice outdoor seating among the tall buildings in the area. You have 2 options here – you can eat off the tapas menu downstairs at the bar if your looking for some small bites, or eat off the full dinner menu upstairs (either indoors or out). Everything we tried was truly fantastic. The scallops were prepared perfectly, the braised pork shoulder was savory and delicious and the lobster tacos and red snapper quesadillas were super tasty appetizers. They also have good specialty cocktails, nice decor and quick, friendly service. So if you’re in the mood for some great Mexican food but want to keep it on the healthy side, this is a great spot to bring your date for a nice night out.
Address: 30 E. 29th St. (Madison & Park Ave. S.)
Review: Campanile is your typical old school upscale Italian restaurant. Though the decor is very dated, the basic rustic Italian dishes come in hearty portions and are solidly good. If you’re in the mood for some well executed standard Italian fare, Campanile is a safe bet. Plus it’s a little bit easier on the budget than some other high end options in the area.
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: 1 Perry St. (Greenwich & S. 7th Ave.)
*Location also in the Lower East Side
Review: Yerba Buena is a fantastic restaurant located in both the West Village and the Lower East Side! Great food, great cocktails and nice ambiance. There are so many delicious options on the menu that we had trouble deciding. With their hearty portion sizes it’s a great place to get a few dishes and share – we had the Parrillada for two (5 different meats) – and it was insanely good! The guacamole, croquetes de queijo and tuna ceviche are must tries as well. While not cheap, Yerba Buena is a fun spot that is definitely worth making a trip to.
Address: 23 Grand St. (Thompson St. & Avenue of the Americas)
Review: We had a great meal and a great time at David Burke Kitchen. Went for Restaurant Week and they really embraced it. Basically everything on their regular menu was available for the Restaurant Week prix fixe and the portions were very large, not typical of RW dishes. From the appetizers to the desserts, everything was delicious and perfectly executed – the pretzel crab cake, tuna tartare tacos, lamb chops, buttermilk fried chicken, chocolate brownie island and strawberry shortcake parfait. DB Kitchen is a trendy spot, it’s loud and lively but in a good way and the service was super friendly. We definitely recommend David Burke Kitchen for a fun date night out in SoHo.
Address: 439 3rd Ave. (30th & 31st St.)
*Locations also in TriBeCa, East Village and Chelsea
Review: If you love your wine, Terroir Wine Bar is the place for you! They have a great wine selection and a very knowledgeable and helpful staff in case you can’t decide from the huge wine list. They also have some delicious small bites – chicken liver bruschetta, lamb sausage, and some great cheese and charcuterie plate options. The candlelit, romantic atmosphere makes it great for a date, but the longer tables against the wall can accommodate bigger groups as well. Either way It’s the perfect spot to go and try out new wines!
Address: 57 Great Jones St. (Bowery & Lafayette St.)
Review: Bohemian is hands down one of our favorite restaurants in NYC. It’s got a cool speakeasy feel with its unlisted phone number and no walk-ins policy – you have to know someone who’s been there to be able to get the number and a reservation of your own. It’s down a long hallway behind a butchers shop and through a secret door. If and when you can find your way in, it’s got a really chic/modern vibe, naturally lit from the skylight above and a very limited number of tables. The food and specialty cocktails here are out of this world. We only had time for some small plates but each one was fantastic – the mushroom coquette with uni, the washu-gyu beef sliders, the beef short rib sashimi and the foie gras soba noodles. We’re dying to go back to try out the steak and branzino. If you can get your hands on the number and snag a reservation, Bohemian is a great place to impress your date with a delicious meal in a small intimate atmosphere.
Address: 31 Union Square West (at 16th St.)
Review: The Blue Water Grill was our 3rd stop on our Restaurant Week tour. They have a really solid RW menu and a romantic setting, especially in the live jazz room downstairs. The pros were the great options on the RW menu, the perfectly prepared fish dishes, and the tasty desserts (nothing to write home about but satisfies the sweet tooth). The soup was a little sweet, but super refreshing and great for a hot summer night. You also had the option of getting a bottle of wine along with your 3 courses for an extra $35, which we of course did! The cons were that our table wasn’t ready right away and we ended up being seated right in front of the band which was a little bit loud. Also, the service was a little bit slow to begin with. Overall, The Blue Water Grill is definitely a spot to check out when you and your date are in the mood for a romantic night out, some great live music and some awesome seafood.
Address: 425 W 15th St. (9th & 10th Ave.)
Review: The Tippler is a speakeasy-type, underground watering hole in the old Nabisco factory underneath Chelsea Market. It’s a break from your standard meatpacking club, though on weekends it does seem to get some of the the nightclub rejects who can sometimes ruin what could be a great scene. The awesome cocktail list of intricate drinks, along with some good craft beers make it worth the walk over to meatpacking though. The Tippler has a cavernous/romantic vibe, but it can get a little loud and hard to hear your companion later on in the night. There is a line out front at times with a wait, so try and get there early to beat the rush. All in all, it’s a fun and different spot to try if you enjoy trying out new specialty cocktails, and as long as you can snag a table in one of the dark/quieter corners, it can be a great spot to bring a date.
Address: 510 Hudson St. (10th St. & Christopher St.)
Review: Employees Only is a great cocktail spot. It’s another speakeasy type place but with less fuss at the door than PDT and Death & Co. Similarly, you pay a premium for the mixology but this is another place that’s totally worth it. They have some delicious and creative specialty cocktails and tasty small plates. You’ve got to try the bone marrow poppers and bacon wrapped lamb chops! Employees Only is the perfect spot to kick start your date night with some pre-dinner cocktails and apps. Can also be a good spot for a first date to get to know each other over some drinks.
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: 136 9th Ave. (18th & 19th St.)
Review: Salinas seems like a launch pad for a night out in meatpacking – lots of large groups of girls in tight dresses getting the party started for the night. Which was unfortunate because Salinas has the potential to be a really great, romantic and intimate date spot, but I wouldn’t totally rule it out since we did go at 10pm on a Friday night. They have really good specialty cocktails, awesome tapas (must try the quail wrapped with bacon) and a DELICIOUS suckling pig entree that we split. Try going earlier in the night or on a weeknight so you don’t catch the pre-club crowd and Salinas is sure to be a great date spot for some awesome Spanish/Mediterranean food.
Address: 433 E. 6th St. (Ave. A & 1st Ave.)
Review: Death and Company is another one of our favorite speakeasies in NYC. With its trendy, intimate atmosphere, perfectly crafted unique cocktails and friendly, knowledgeable staff – Death and Co. is a great spot to impress your date or enjoy a night out with a small group of friends. If the lengthy cocktail menu is too much for you to handle, just tell the bartender or waitress what you generally like and they’ll whip you up the perfect concoction. They also have some delicious small bites for you to munch on, like truffle macaroni, crispy pork belly and seared petite filet mignon. Their no reservation policy makes for long waits, so get there early to put your name in and be extra nice to the doorman as he is the gate keeper. You can sit up at the bar and watch the mixologists at work or cozy up to your date in a plush booth.
Address: 165 Allen St. (Rivington St. & Stanton St.)
Review: Rayuela is a great date spot: trendy, intimate decor, beautifully executed dishes and solid cocktails. We were lucky to get a 4 course tasting menu with the Zagat Table for Two gift card. Everything single dish we tried was fantastic – chicken liver pate, fluke, crab and shrimp wrapped in tuna, beef tenderloin, Chilean sea bass with shrimp paella and calamari with squid ink. The desserts were delicious as well – the Quesada Con Cocos (sweet potato cheese cake) and the Chocolate Cortázar (chocolate with ice cream and macadamia). On top of the outstanding dishes they have numerous specialty cocktails, though we opted for the sangrias (both the blanca and rosada) figuring a Latin American restaurant had to have great sangria – and we were right! If this isn’t enough to convince you to give Rayuela a try – the service is super friendly and helpful as well! We would definitely recommend this to anyone looking for the perfect date night in the Lower East Side.
Address: Grand Central Station
Review: Grand Central Oyster Bar is a cool spot with old history. It’s generally packed with commuters on their way home after work, but it’s worth the trip to Grand Central even if you’re not heading out of town. The seafood is always fresh and generally quick, and while not a bargain, the prices are reasonable. You have 3 dining style options – countertop, tables and the bar. It’s not really a romantic date spot since it’s packed with business men waiting for their train home, but it can be a great spot to grab some delicious oysters and a cocktail before heading elsewhere for dinner or up to Connecticut for the weekend with your significant other.
Address: 113 St. Marks Pl. (1st Ave. & Ave. A)
PDT is your speakeasy prototype, a hidden cocktail lounge through a phone booth in a hot dog shop (Crif Dogs). It’s as equally hard to find as it is to get in, but once inside it’s a great place to sit and hang out for an hour or two sipping on amazing unique cocktails. As expected with any speakeasy, the cocktails aren’t cheap, but they’re definitely worth it. The waitresses are super knowledgeable, if you’re having some trouble picking from the large cocktail menu just tell them what type of liquor or taste you’re in the mood for and they’ll bring you exactly what you’re looking for. PDT is the perfect spot for a different/fun date, whether it be 1 on 1 or a group date, as well as a great place to hang out with a bunch of friends or take some clients. Awesome snacks are also available from Crif Dogs next door, if you haven’t already eaten some hot dogs while waiting for your table. We suggest getting a reservation on Thursday-Saturday or you’ll be waiting forever, you’ll have more luck just walking in on off nights.
Address: 220 Park Ave. S. (17th & 18th St.)
*Locations also in Financial District, Midtown East, Midtown West, Upper West Side, Upper East Side
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: 185 7th Ave. (at 21st St.)
*Location also in the Upper West Side
Review: The no reservation policy makes for a long wait, but the dishes we had were worth the wait. We sat up at the sushi bar, got a bottle of Asahi, a tokkuri of saki, edamame and gyoza to start, all of which hit the spot. We love our special rolls, and Momoya’s signature rolls were some of the best we’ve ever tasted to date. Service was a little bit slow but the place was packed so that was to be expected. Momoya is definitely a great date spot if you don’t mind waiting or go on an off night.
Address: 242 10th Ave. (24th & 25th St.)
Reviews: Trestle on Tenth is a small, intimate restaurant with solid food and a great wine list. The boyfriend normally does the restaurant research for our dates but he put it on me this time and I needed to wow him! I chose Trestle on Tenth because their pork dish got great reviews and pork is the boyfriend’s favorite! We started out with the steak tartare with quail egg and the charcuterie, both were good but the main dishes were even better. We had the pork and the duck, which were both fantastic. They have a large wine list, craft beers and specialty cocktails. We stuck with wine and beer, but apparently missed out on the cocktails. If you’re in Chelsea you should definitely check Trestle on Tenth out for a romantic and delicious date night.
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: 201 Park Ave. (at 17th St.)
Review: The Living Room at the W Union Square is a trendy, posh hotel lounge with a mix of business types and hotel guests milling around. You can sit in plush chairs and get served by a cocktail waitress or sit up at the bar. It’s a great, quieter spot to grab some drinks and chat with your date. They have a seasonal drink menu but be warned, the drinks aren’t cheap, even just vodka sodas, but if you’re willing to shell out the cash for a couple of cocktails it’s a nice cozy spot to get to know your date.
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: 787 Union St. (5th & 6th Ave.)
Review: For those willing to make the hike to BK, Rose Water is definitely worth the trip. Rose Water has a nice, cozy atmosphere with the option of sitting outside. They have a DELICIOUS farm to table menu with seasonal ingredients and dishes. We definitely recommend that you take your date here, split a bottle of wine and enjoy some great food on the main drag in Park Slope.
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: 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: 8 Stuyvesant St. (2nd & 3rd Ave.)
Review: Angel’s Share is a hidden date spot gem in the East Village. It’s a really cool speakeasy that you have to walk upstairs and through a Chinese restaurant to an unmarked door. It’s the perfect place to impress a first date (The boyfriend brought me here for our first date and it obviously worked!) Their specialty cocktails are AMAZING, the bartender is SUPER knowledgeable and they have some small plates like cheese and oysters if you get a little hungry. Drinks aren’t the cheapest but with the amount of work that goes into them and how delicious they taste, it’s definitely worth it. There’s a no reservation policy so get there early on Thursday – Saturday nights or you’ll be waiting on line for a while.