The Ten Most Romantic Restaurants in New York City

The Ten Most Romantic Restaurants in New York City

How do you choose the top ten restaurants in a city with top hundreds? A city where extravagant Michelin starred restaurants sit side by side with ubiquitous hot dog stands, where pizza is a religion, where dinner with a view is mere commonplace?

One of the most popular posts on my website is Ten Most Romantic Restaurants in San Diego. I couldn’t wait to create a guide for New York City, but it turned out to be a daunting task. After a year of careful research, countless reservations, wasted $$$ and ten extra pounds, I bring to you the answer to your New York City date night dilemma!

Before I begin, here are some rules for a stress-free meal in NYC.

  1. Do your research! It’s so surprising to me that very mediocre restaurants exist in this expensive city, especially in Midtown. But don’t worry, you have this step down since you are already reading this!
  2. Either make reservations or dine at an odd hour. For example 5 pm or 9 pm Monday – Thursday.
  3. The best reservations are booked out weeks in advance! Plan well
  4. If you ignore suggestions 2 and 3, then don’t be starving when you get to dinner. You might as well enjoy your hour long wait!
  5. This curated list optimizes for romance, which means the places here are not loud. Acoustics in NYC restaurants aren’t the best, so if you aren’t careful, you might spend an entire evening without hearing a single word from your date.
  6. Unfortunately, Yelp reviews in NYC aren’t the most trustworthy. I’ve been let down by many a four starred place. Google reviews are much better!

Now that you are an expert on HOW to dine in NYC, I’m ready to show you WHERE to dine in NYC! Ready?

Milk and Roses Bistro

This gem in Greenpoint is perfect all around the year. The back patio is twinkly and inviting in the warm weather, while the library-esque interior is cozy in the winter. They also have amazing cocktails and a curated wine list. You won’t go wrong ordering the homemade ravioli, or the ribs for two.

Milk and Roses Bistro in Brooklyn

Quick Facts –
Address – 1110 Manhattan Ave Brooklyn, NY 11222
Price Range – $$
Style of Food – American Italian
Good For – Dinner
Takes Reservations – Yes, but by phone only for 4-8 people
Dress Code – Casual (but dress it up a bit for your date!)
Cash Only but they have an ATM

St Tropez

St Tropez is the quintessential West Village neighborhood gem. Somewhere you could spend hours in, enjoying the good wine, good food and good company. Somewhere you would keep returning because it just seems to understand you.
I particularly like the cozy seating by the windows, so that you can spy on the chic West Village locals as they walk past with their cute little puppies.

Picture Credits to Michael Tulipan. Posted with Permission from St. Tropez Restaurant

Quick Facts –
Address – 304 West 4th Street, New York, NY 10014
Price Range – $$
Style of Food – French
Good For – Dinner
Takes Reservations – Yes
Dress Code – Dressy Casual

L’ Appart

Impress your date with this hidden (almost speakeasy like) Michelin starred restaurant inside a french market. The door opens to an inviting “apartment”, with an open kitchen and a host who greets you with a delicious seasonal cocktail.
Your menu is curated according to your personal preferences, so make sure you know your date’s taste in food! The ambience is perfect for a night of indulgent romance.
Tip – If you decide to splurge on the wine pairing, be careful. The pours are generous, and you don’t want to be too drunk to enjoy the later courses!

Dining at L'Appart in New York City

Quick Facts –
Address – 225 Liberty St, New York, NY 10281
Price Range – $$$$
Style of Food – French
Good For – Dinner
Takes Reservations – Yes, mandatory
Dress Code – Dressy

Camaje

Camaje lands a spot on this list because of its Dinners in the Dark. This was one of the most interesting meals of my life! Everyone gathers outside and is blindfolded before they can even enter the restaurant. Thus, you have no idea where you are seated. All your other senses get heightened once you get used to not being able to see. It is so fun to guess what you are eating just by the texture, smell and taste! More than 60% of our guesses were totally wrong!
I loved that Camaje did not skimp on the quality of the food and wine, all the ingredients are fresh from the Union Square Farmers Market, so the menu always changes.
Definitely try this once, whether it be on a date or with friends!

Quick Facts –
Address – 85 Macdougal St, New York, NY 10012
Price Range – $$$
Style of Food – French American
Good For – Dinner
Takes Reservations – Yes, buy tickets before for the blindfolded dinner
Dress Code – Casual

Tartine

This little slice of Paris in NYC boasts the best creme brûlée AND no corkage fee. Set on a picturesque corner of the West Village, the outdoor seating is perfect for a lazy summer evening. Alternate conversing with people watching, while sipping the wine you picked out together at a nearby West Village wine shop.
This is truly the best casual date spot in the city. Impress without trying too hard!

Quick Facts –
Address – 253 W 11th St, New York, NY 10014
Price Range – $-$$
Style of Food – French
Good For – Dinner
Takes Reservations – No
Dress Code – Casual
Cash Only

King Restaurant

We stumbled upon this restaurant on a random weeknight after a meditation session, and that is why it will always feel like a perfect little gem to me!
Lovely ambience, sweet servers, an amazing wine list, and the best ravioli I’ve had in NYC.
What more can you really ask for on date night?
You really can’t go wrong with King, at the border of SoHo and Greenwich Village, it is the perfect marriage of style and playing it cool.

Quick Facts –
Address – 18 King St, New York, NY 10014
Price Range – $$$
Style of Food – Southern French and Regional Italian
Good For – Dinner
Takes Reservations – Yes
Dress Code – Dressy Casual

Sofreh

One of NYC’s hottest restaurants right now, and deservedly so. Reservations open 6 weeks in advance, and that is when you should try to score them!
The space is well lit, and luckily does not suffer from the poor acoustics of a majority of NYC restaurants. You can fully immerse yourself in wonderful conversation – until you get your food. After that, you will be immersed only in the wonderful aromas and flavors hitting your senses.
If it is true that the stomach is the way to a person’s heart, Sofreh is where you should be headed!
Tip – Persians make the best rice, so definitely order the saffron rice with any dish on the menu.

Quick Facts –
Address – 75 St Marks Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11217
Price Range – $$-$$$
Style of Food – Persian
Good For – Dinner
Takes Reservations – Yes necessary
Dress Code – Casual Dressy

Thai Villa

This was one of the first restaurants we visited when we moved to New York City, and one that we keep going back to. The food is absolutely delicious, as can be guessed from the regular hour long waits. Definitely make reservations!
Thai Villa features a special menu that comes from the Thai royal family, and I recommend you try at least a couple of dishes from that.
The decor is quite magnificent too, over the top gold foil and intimate lighting making you feel rather like royalty yourself. That said, it does not cross the line over to tacky, giving it a firm spot on my Top Romantic Restaurants in New York City list!

Thai Villa New York City Interiors

Quick Facts –
Address – 5 E 19th St, New York, NY 10003
Price Range – $$
Style of Food – Thai
Good For – Lunch, Dinner
Takes Reservations – Yes, have to call them
Dress Code – Casual

Il Buco

This cozy farmhouse style restaurant is very inviting when the weather outside is not. The wine list is impressive, the food is delicious. I was particularly taken by an entire menu devoted to Salt! If you run out of things to talk about…there’s always salt.

After dinner, stroll hand in hand to East Village for a drink at one of the wonderful speakeasies there. I suggest Blue Quarter, a new entrant on the scene, perfectly intimate and romantic.

Quick Facts –
Address – 47 Bond St, New York, NY 10012
Price Range – $$$
Style of Food – Italian
Good For – Dinner
Takes Reservations – Yes
Dress Code – Dressy Casual

Jojo

If you want a romantic brunch spot, look no further than Jojo. Set in a townhouse on the Upper East Side, it is airy, inviting and cozy at the same time. As a Jean-Georges restaurant the food is predictably excellent.
Just don’t get the espresso drinks, stick to coffee, tea or one of their extensive brunch cocktails!
This is the perfect launch-pad to a day spent exploring the museums on the Upper East Side – may I suggest The Frick Collection? And then, round it off with a walk in the park of course!

Quick Facts –
Address – 160 E 64th St, New York, NY 10065
Price Range – $$-$$$
Style of Food – American
Good For – Brunch
Takes Reservations – Yes
Dress Code – Dressy Casual

This list includes a mix of restaurants, from Michelin star dining that will set you back at least $300, to a casual french bistro where you can bring your own wine and chat for hours while people watching.

I believe that romantic does not mean stuffy. Romantic is also a picnic in Central Park, an early morning walk through the pretty streets of Chelsea with bagels and coffee to go, or listening to the piano guy under the Washington Square Arch on a Sunday afternoon. Romance while dining out? It can be achieved at any of the places above with the right date!

This list is just a start – if you find other gems, could you please share them with me in the comments below? I would love to check them out!

Credits to Lukas Kloeppel from Pexels for the cover photo of this article.

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