Picking the perfect venue for a date is far less tricky when it’s the umpteenth date; but that doesn’t mean that impressing a significant other is not still the name of the game. Since Manhattan is filled with restaurants and bars that could satisfy a date night ranging from a casual evening out to a seated, Michelin-starred dinner, Eater is here to offer a guide to the ultimate date-night spots for the committed.Read More
21 Ideal Date-Night Restaurants in Manhattan
The ultimate date-night spots for the committed
Clay has been bringing the natural wine crowd a lot of joy since it opened in Harlem in 2017. The ambitiously seasonal restaurant shines with dishes like chicken liver, garganelli with sausage, confit duck leg with smoked farro, and roasted beets with pistachios. The dining room is charming and compact, accompanied by a convivial and crowded bar — most of them there to revel in natural wine heroes like Milan Nestarec and Clos Lentiscus.
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2. Mountain Bird
The focus of this East Harlem critical darling is poultry, served expertly in the forms of chicken liver on toast, chicken schnitzel, a cassoulet made with duck leg and chicken comb, and honey-glazed duck breast. Mountain Bird is utterly charming and worth all the repeat visits.
Gazala Halabi’s Middle Eastern restaurant on the Upper West Side is an underrated gem in the neighborhood. Share various dips such as babaganoush and labneh, scooped up with Halabi’s thin and springy pita, with a partner before digging into entrees like a shawarma plate or shrimp hummus. The warm, brick-walled space is a cozy place to spend an evening out, accompanied by Israeli wine.
4. Bemelmans Bar
Highly special and sophisticated, the iconic Upper East Side bar — open since 1931 inside the Carlyle Hotel — is an easy stage for listening to music coming from a grand piano at the center of the room. Food isn’t exactly the star at Bemelmans, though there are fine bar snacks; the move here inarguably is to sip a perfectly mixed Vesper while gazing at the cartoon murals. Cocktails are priced in the mid-20s, so Bemelmans is certainly a splurge. One that’s worth it in the name of classic cocktails and a bit of New York history.
The omakase experience at Torishin is an excuse for diners to sample parts of the chicken they otherwise wouldn’t, it’s also — according to critic Ryan Sutton — they only way to go when dining at the Hell’s Kitchen restaurant. Pair all that yakitori with sake or shochu for a meal that’ll be impossible to forget.
Plan ahead for a special dinner at this groundbreaking Midtown East Nordic restaurant, which not that long ago celebrated 30 years. For those last five or so years the restaurant has been led by Emma Bengtsson, who has “breathed new life” into the stalwart with dishes like venison with lingonberries, a Scandinavian bouillabaise, and shrimp skagen. A multi-course seasonal tasting menu will cost diners $125 per person.
7. Keens Steakhouse
One of Manhattan’s oldest and greatest steakhouse institutions is also one of the best places to celebrate milestones large and small. Keens in Midtown is famed for its mutton chop but the steaks and the hash are also perfect choices. This is a dining experience that can easily become a tradition.
New York, NY 10016
If a tasting menu meal is what’s in the cards for a special date night, then let it be at Atomix. This Nomad fine-dining restaurant has wowed since its 2018 opening, with owners Ellia and Junghyun Park serving up deeply personal and refined seasonal Korean fare. Dishes on the $205-per-person menu rotate, but may include white shrimp with persimmon or duck with gochujang mole. The a la carte bar upstairs is a delightful way to start or end the evening — or both.
Once the hottest reservation in NYC, Toro has settled into a vaguely clubby tapas spot that is far easier to get into but will still liven up date night. The food is as good as ever in the large, industrial, far west space, with options that range from the traditional patatas bravas to more experimental items such as a curry goat and potato empanada. Do note that it can get loud, which makes it not great for a first-date locale, but ideal for couples looking for a fun night out.
The forever buzz surrounding this Flatiron restaurant stems largely from dishes like duck carnitas, lamb barbacoa (served during brunch), sweet corn tlayuda, and the mole negro. Be sure to reserve ahead of time for Cosme, as a reservation at Daniela Soto-Innes and Enrique Olvera’s modern Mexican restaurant can still be hard to snag. Of course, do get the corn mousse dessert.
Masa alums Nick Kim and Jimmy Lau can be found most nights of the week behind the counter at Shuko in Greenwich Village, where a memorable meal is guaranteed when in their hands. The relaxed and fun Japanese restaurant — hip hop plays from the speakers — is one of New York’s most exciting, where Thai bird chiles are added to torched tuna sinew. It’s $180 per person for sushi only and $225 for a tasting of composed dishes plus nigiri. Ryan Sutton has a couple of tips on how to navigate it all.
12. Hao Noodle
This chain from China opened in a picturesque, plant-filled space in Greenwich Village — but most importantly, the food at Hao Noodle is top-notch. Share dishes like spicy Le Shan chicken, dan dan noodles, sweetly smoked sole, and shrimp and pork wontons in chile sauce, surrounded by pretty plants and brick walls. Do note that this Greenwich Village location has alcohol, but the newer Chelsea outpost does not.
13. I Sodi
What’s brilliant about Tuscan West Village nook I Sodi is how simple everything is — from the drinks menu devoted to negronis and a rich polenta that maddeningly doesn’t carry any cream, to a sleek and narrow room with little to distract diners. Chef Rita Sodi puts thought into all of these details and much more, ensuring that a meal here will be memorable. It will also be a bit of a splurge, as a four-course dinner will cost about $100 per person. A more casual and easier-to-enter Tuscan choice nearby is Fiaschetteria Pistoia.
There’s so much to be charmed by at this seasonal Soho restaurant that leans into a Southern Italian menu: The space is snug and bright, the staff friendly and knowledgable, and the team here puts out a small but mighty menu. Hits like chargrilled quail with potatoes, tagliarini with nutmeg, and whatever the sole seasonal dessert option is change daily, but nearly always impress. Don’t hesitate to share an order of King’s addicting panisse, or fried chickpea flour cakes.
15. The Bombay Bread Bar
Bombay Bread Bar is one of the best Indian restaurants in town, which chef Floyd Cardoz pivoted from his acclaimed Paowalla to focus on traditional Indian breads like naan, kulcha, and paratha. The result is a more casual kitchen that’s home to accessible crowdpleasers like a lamb haleem curry with mint or the ultra-spicy three-chili chicken. This is a menu with something for everyone, with cocktails to complement.
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Always-stellar Estela in Nolita — an Obama family favorite — matches its expert vibes with a menu from chef Ignacio Mattos that’s filled with hits. Must-order dishes are the mussels escabeche toast, the endive salad, the black rice with squid, and the beef tartare. The restaurant also offers a well-chosen list of wines, many of them natural.
Here, on a quiet Alphabet City street, visitors are often wowed by Thomas Chen’s Chinese-American menu. The Eleven Madison Park-trained chef turns out thoughtful and delicious creations, like a stunner of snow crab, dashi butter, noodles, and squash in a zero frills space where the vibe is right. Dates won’t regret ordering the “pig out”: Berkshire pork served over spicy peanut noodles for $58.
One of the very best restaurants to come out of 2018, Frenchette is credited with breathing new life into the everyday French bistro, as well as downtown dining. The Tribeca stunner feels familiar but updated with menu touches like duck frites, and a warm room that’s lively but never frazzled. Everything on both the food and all-natural drink menus is worth trying here, but don’t leave without the eggs with escargot. Reservations are a must.
The team behind Hart’s and the Fly know how to set the vibe at each and every one of their restaurants, of which Cervo’s is their second. At this Canal Street hit, the focus is on seafood dishes, drawing inspiration from Spain and Portugal. Be sure to order the sourdough to soak up all dishes, and the Basque cheesecake. Natural wine is a natural pairing.
When Diego Moya signed on at Racines in early 2019, the chef put together an American-leaning menu that complements Pascaline Lepeltier’s stunning, 2,500-bottle-deep wine list. The new iteration of the Tribeca wine bar is welcoming, of and for the neighborhood, and doesn’t take itself all that seriously. This is the date destination for wine geeks.
New York, NY 10005
It’s hard to argue with an evening spent at a Danny Meyer restaurant, this one complete with dazzling views of New York and a three-course menu that asks for $78 — service included. The dining room books up quickly, but the chef’s counter and the bar where dinner is a la carte is reserved for walk-ins, and boasts some of the best views Manhatta has to offer.