10 Most Romantic Restaurants in NYC

Some places require reservations a month in advance for this day, some have a waiting list of couples lining round the block, but there’s almost always a chance to slip in by miracle and land that sought after spot tucked next to the fireplace, on the waterfront or at the bar, with delicious desserts and tempting drinks, and maybe a ring on rose petals under a silver dome. In any case, Valentine’s Day is obviously the greatest night of the year for couples’ dinners to round up a romantic day together. New York offers options for virtually any size of a wallet to sprinkle that bit of romance on your life together and to show your loved one how much you care by treating them with delicacies prepared by the country’s best. Certain restaurants offer a prix fixe Valentine’s Day service while in others the best option would be cuddling up in your booth feasting on dishes of your choice after a long day of walking, talking and holding hands, as this year the holiday falls on a rare Sunday. We’ve collected for you an impressive list of places in no particular order, almost universally considered the most romantic spots in NYC, so in case you need to impress your loved one, hope to rekindle the old spark or for a new romance to flourish, seek no more.

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#1. Daniel

Daniel Boulud rules a whole empire of restaurants in New York and all over the world. His Valentine’s Day menu reads like a movie credits – line after serious line go: “Executive Chef – Jean François Bruel. Chef de Cuisine – Eddy Leroux. Pastry Chef – Ghaya F. Oliveira.” No prices are mentioned, but the menu is impressively built, divided into Supple, Seductive, Tender and Tempting, and each one into a “For him” and “For her” sections. Each course is thoroughly described, including sides and sauces (“Seriole: Hamachi and Smoked Eel Terrine, Cauliflower Panna Cotta” etc.) “Seductive” stands for seafood and fish, “Tender” for “Poularde” and “Boeuf” (Chicken and Beef for you, dear, and it’s all about Black Truffle Stuffed Poularde and Black Truffle “Pomme Dauphine”). The desserts, as the night’s final fanfare, are a Beating Heart with Chuao Chocolate Sabayon and Toscano Crèmeux, or Bisou au Chocolat with Rose Loukoum. “The Skybox” above the kitchen or the regular sitting are all pricey and fabulous (Adam Tihany remodeled the dining room), and even when the Lovers’ Day is over, this is one of the most enjoyable New York spots. Finish up the night with one of 2,000+ wines they have.

 60 E 65th St Upper East Side, New York, NY 10021

#2. Black Mountain Wine House

Just off Brooklyn's Smith Street lies a cabin with firewood on the porch, where thawing by the fireplace can be concluded with one of 30 wines on display. Truffle Mac and cheese complete the rustic charm. The open kitchen offers simple epicurean fare and plates for sharing. Despite the overall simplicity, the place regularly makes top restaurant lists of NYC, thanks to the charm, hot mulled wine in the European tradition, the excellent cheese list, and other perks untypical for the city. The "Swiss-tastic Fondue", the ever-mentioned Adirondack chairs on the deck, weekly rotating specials (from caramelized fig and onion crostini to sweet potato and almond salad), other fairly priced treats (each $11), like charcuterie plates, salt cod & artichoke, and house panini with Polish bacon and Quince Aioli make New York winters more than bearable and even cozy. The wooden façade and the rare logwood cabin feel on the inside, is what brings the customers back again and again. Some even regret there are no beds for diners to pass out on, which would come in handy considering the day in question.

 415 Union St, Brooklyn, NY 11231

#3. Gramercy Tavern

Brie ice-cream? Oh yeah. As you know, Gramercy Tavern is two spaces, both a welcome break from the asphalt jungle and rather maximalist than minimalist. Of course, there’s a Valentine’s Day tasting menu (a modest $185, in comparison to whopping let’s-not-point-fingers-where, Sea Scallops with American caviar and a Chocolate Pavlova with Kumquat compote on it), and even the Dining Room is open for lunch on February 14, in case you can’t get a reservation. It’s sincere, rustic and market-sourced, and the cooking juicy and delightful. The back room is indeed more sophisticated, the desserts tempting, the overall feel – chic and contemporary, and private dining is available under a wood-beamed ceiling, rustic chandeliers and next to American antiques and art. (They even mention the names of a table maker and floral arranger). The place is iconic enough to leave you both satisfied and crave some more of its magic.

 42 East 20th street, New York, NY 10003

#4. Kat & Theo

Katerina and Theodosios are the names of the co-owner Andreas Typaldos Greek parents, and if the captain is the ship, then from Ferran Adrià’s world-famous El Bulli in Spain comes the chef Paras Shah to bring his touch back to NYC. Inside – leather booths and banquettes, metal trellis, stone fireplace, razor clams tinged with North African ras el hanout, a lamb shank for two with rye berries and smoked lamb belly, sour cherry cheesecake mousse with chestnut graham and maple, a cinnamon-infused vodka cocktail, but wait till you hear of their Valentine Day’s prix fixe for two (a very humane $150). Start with an Amuse of sturgeon caviar and oyster, follow with Foie gras in rose syrup, a lobster fricassee, a beef cheek ‘Pot Au Feu’, a candid rose panna cotta in champagne gelee and top it with a chocolate fudge cake and cremeux. And of that don’t make them propose, it’s their loss.

 5 W 21st St, New York, NY 10010

#5. Cherry

Referred to as “bordello-like” and “illicit speakeasy”, this red and black space with a lush setting, 80 kinds of sake and cocktails like Cherry Bomb or The Bordello is a classically romantic place reminiscent of the mid-century Paris with a New York twist. The red-tinted interiors go well with the holiday spirit, desserts (a Green Tea Meltdown, which is a red bean ice-cream, Fuji Apple Gyoza or Plateau des Chocolates, mmm) pair up with ports, and the whole subterranean dream-like atmosphere is tantalizing to the point of no return. Let’s hope you have someone to share it all with – the dark polished woods, the sashimi and the rolls, and in case you happen to walk in on a whim - don’t worry, the dress code is casual and elegant, i.e. no jacket required. Enjoy this elusive feeling while it lasts.

 355 West 16th Street, New York, NY 10011

#6. Il Buco

Two of the world’s most romantic kitchens, Spanish and Italian, combine in this former rustic antique store opened on a cobblestoned street in 1994. The gathering spot for designers, actors, and food lovers oozes romance – and if rustic is your thing, you’re in the right place. Even their Valentine’s Day menu is pure poetry: Amuse of a Beausoleil oyster, ceviche and kaffir lime, two kinds of Antipasti – Crudo (fluke, Satsuma mandarin) and Foie (seared foie gras, quince puree). Primi include Ravioli (house made pasta parcels, black truffle) and Risotto (Principato di Lucedio Carnaroli rice, sea urchin). Next come Secondi – Pesce (filet of Spanish turbot with vegetable glory, and Agnello (roasted rack of lamb with baby spinach and other joys). Next, discover Dolce di Sn Valentino, and wine pairings are available for $75.

 47 Bond Street, New York, NY 10012

#7. One if by Land, Two if by Sea

The candlelit tables of this historic carriage house, the garden, the alleged ghosts and a certain je-ne-sais-quoi (you bet, if the building historical owner Aaron Burr has mortally wounded his political opponent Hamilton in a duel in 1804 which ended in Burr’s downfall) make this one of the most romantic spaces of the city. Is it in the portraits on the walls, the garden or the special crowds? Anyway, this is probably the most popular place to announce an engagement in New York. Share a chef’s tasting menu, indulge in oysters and ossetra caviar, but most of all, breathe in the romance of the space.

 17 Barrow Street, New York, NY 10014

#8. Mar's

Jazz playing softly out of 1930s retro speakers, bow-tied bartenders, bistro tables, and a bar made of old courtroom pews – this gastropub is, in essence, a seaside tavern with a city charm, a refinement in such an unlikely place as Astoria. They say seafood is aphrodisiac, especially for the ladies, and there’s plenty of that in here. Finish it up with cocktails, either a classic or Mar’s seasonal, or one of the many hand-picked wines. It’s relatively cheap, too – especially if your romance is in its beginning stages and you don’t want your intentions to appear too serious.

 34-21 34th Ave, Astoria, New York 11106

#9. Zenkichi

An unmarked door on Williamsburg street leads through a dark lantern-lit hallway. Then the temptation begins in this labyrinth of curtain-wrapped booths, where waiters do not intrude on your dinner, only if for more sake for which you quietly summon them up with a buzzer on your table. A jazz soundtrack, dozens of sakes to choose from, and an 8-course Valentine’s Day Omakase (tasting menu) for $135 per guest (a lobster miso soup, a chilled plate, three kinds of premium sashimi, organic vegetable tempura, a miso cod, a wasabi lobster, foie gras and desserts) could be the perfect cherry on top of your date.

 77 N 6th St, Brooklyn, NY 11211

#10. River Café

Straight out of a Woody Allen New York movie both in and out, this place is an essence of upscale Brooklyn and many things we appreciate in life – fine dining, great attire, music, ambience, skyline and garden. (Hence, the window tables are so hard to get). They’ve recovered bravely from Superstorm Sandy and are still open for dinner only, which makes them even more desirable (here’s a hint to you, lovers). Serving a dream since 1977, popular for weddings and events, it sports a menu worthy of kings on vacation: Tsar Imperial Ossetra Caviar from Italy for $ 170.00 per ounce, a Six Course Chef's Signature Tasting Menu by the chef Brad Steelman for $ 150.00, and of course, how to go without the chocolate marquise Brooklyn Bridge for dessert.

 1 Water Street Brooklyn, New York, NY 11201
  Published ID5161

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