New York is a city full of incredible eateries and dining experiences. And if you want to romance that special someone in your life, the options for eating out are almost endless. But deciding between the best restaurants in NYC for your intimate date isn’t always easy. There are just so many to choose from.
That’s why we’ve compiled a list of the 25 best restaurants in NYC for romantic dinner dates. Now you can choose a New York eatery that’s perfect for your special occasion.
1. Eleven Madison Park
Eleven Madison Park on 24th Street is a stylish eatery characterized by huge, ceiling-to-floor windows and oak decals. You and the love of your life can enjoy a wonderful evening of food and conversation in a gorgeous dining area. Art Deco features adorn the huge, vaulted ceilings. And the views of the park outside add to the sense of romance at this luxurious eatery.
Loved-up couples can enjoy a stunning taster menu, which boasts a range of dishes that are unique to the restaurant. But a romantic dinner date here isn’t cheap. The tasting menu in the bar area is around $150, while the menu in the main dining area is a rather steep $300 per person.
If you’re eating from the main menu, take a look at the house specialty lobster, served with chanterelle mushrooms and a potato tart. Or if you prefer to eat light, treat that special someone to a foie gras tart or a caviar platter. And don’t forget the wine. Eleven Madison Park is home to one of the most extensive wine collections in the city. It’s easily one of the best restaurants in NYC for romantic dinner dates.
Located in the West Village, Buvette is home to authentic French fine dining. This charming eatery is open until the early hours. Twilight breakfasts are available seven days a week. And that’s great news if you want to soak up the booze after a night of clubbing. But don’t worry if your romantic evening is going to be a more sedate affair. Buvette has a plethora of French dishes, some of which are available in a small-plate size.
Buvette looks like a genuine French bistro. So much so, the owner recreated it back in his hometown of Paris, France. There’s a cozy feel in the New York restaurant that’s perfect for first dates. The service style is relatively laid-back, and the food is rustic. The overall result is a dining experience that lends itself to polite conversation and fun.
Among the house specialties at Buvette are the Coq au Vin and the Steak Tartare. But if you’re looking for something a little more exotic, give the Moules au Curry a try. After all, it’s not often you see curried mussels in the Big Apple.
3. Al Di La
Located on Fifth Avenue, Al Di La is a small, homely eatery. It’s perfect for laid-back first dates and casual wedding anniversary celebrations. The decor is rustic in the extreme. At first glance, you might think that this tiny restaurant is falling to pieces. But there’s method in the design madness. Ornate chandeliers of crystal and gold hang from the ceilings. Antique mirrors, art, and 100-year-old brandy bottles adorn the walls. This place is a treasure trove of antiquities and collectibles.
The fare at Al Di La is Italian — with one or two exceptions. One of the customer favorites is a zucchini salad, made with chile peppers and Pecorino. Another star of the menu is a Swiss chard and ricotta malfatti. Take a look at the Hanger Steak Tagliata with Arugula, which is hanger steak fried in a balsamic reduction.
4. Katz’s Deli
Who says romantic dinners have to involve fine dining? If you’re looking for a quality date night eatery without fuss or pretension, Katz’s Deli is perfect. Yes, you might end up eating with your hands, but that’s part of the fun. This no-nonsense diner is basic, but it possesses its own unique charm.
Celebrity photos — taken on the premises over the years — cover the walls at this quirky eatery. If this place is good enough for the rich and famous of New York City, it’s probably good enough for a romantic burger or deli sandwich.
The menu at Katz’s is huge, and it’s dominated by deli sandwiches, hot dogs and burgers. One of the local favorites is the pastrami on rye, but ask about the knockwurst and beans — a dish this place is famous for. Make no mistake: this is one of the best restaurants in NYC for fun and relaxation.
5. Le Coucou
If you’re looking for the perfect NYC restaurant in which to propose, Le Coucou in SoHo takes some beating. The elegant dining room glows beautifully at night — thanks to a lot of candles and some stunning chandeliers. More importantly, there are lots of secluded dining areas for added privacy. Or if you want to demonstrate a very public show of affection, you can take center stage by one of the huge sash windows.
The cuisine at Le Coucou is classically French. And although expensive, the culinary creations here are never overly pretentious. If money is no object, splash out on the Canette a l’Orange, which is a roasted duckling served with orange sauce and endives.
6. One if By Land, Two if By Sea
One if By Land, Two if By Sea is one of the West Village’s more unusual dining destinations — but in a good way. Brick walls create an imposing backdrop for wedding anniversary celebrations without the pretense. Huge chandeliers hang tantalizingly close to diners from the huge vaulted ceilings. And a series of feature windows give the entire dining area the look and feel of a classic European-style Church.
The house specialty is the Chef’s Tasting Menu, which features an eclectic range of cuisines from around the world. There’s individual beef wellingtons from England, pan-roasted scallops from France and Ahi Tuna from the South Pacific.
If you’re celebrating a milestone wedding anniversary, go the extra mile and request a table by the stunning stone fireplace. Of all the best restaurants in NYC for romance, this is one of the most distinctive — and perfect for a surprise marriage proposal.
Some restaurants make you feel like you’re stepping into someone’s home. Prune is one such establishment. Located in Lower Manhattan, this East Village eatery delivers a familial ambiance that’s perfect for laidback date nights. There are plenty of intimate nooks and secluded corners for privacy. And an unassuming style puts people at ease the moment they walk through the door.
If you’re thinking about a romantic Sunday brunch in New York City, Prune takes some beating. You’ll find a range of classic dishes on the menu, as well as some unique to this tiny eatery. Among the locals’ favorites is tender beef chunks with baby white turnips. Make sure you try their famous Brussels sprouts, soaked in olive oil.
8. I Sodi
If you have an extra special romantic dinner date in mind, you probably want to take the love of your life somewhere exclusive. And they don’t come more exclusive than a restaurant with just eight tables. At I Sodi in Greenwich Village, you can enjoy peace and quiet to your heart’s content. The decor here is of premium quality, but it manages to retain an authentic Italian charm.
You’ll find a range of classic Tuscan dishes on a relatively small menu. Among the most popular culinary creations is the ravioli, filled with ricotta cheese and fresh spinach. But a romantic dinner is all about sharing a great culinary experience with the person you love. And what better way to share than by tucking into a huge 26-layer lasagna?
Raoul’s in SoHo may sound like an everyday Italian bistro, but it’s far more than that. Filled with secluded booths, mood lighting, and flickering candles, this charming eatery serves the very best of home-cooked Italian food. Whether you’re celebrating a wedding anniversary or Valentine’s Day, this place is perfect for romancing the person you love.
Two food-loving brothers are responsible for every dish on the menu. This ensures authentic flavors from Italy, every time. Everything from grilled octopus to Alaskan crab awaits you and the love of your life here. Or if you’re in the mood for something a little simpler, there’s a wide range of risotto and pasta dishes to choose from.
Make sure you check out the brunch menu, too. You’ll find an impressive selection of frittatas and brunch cocktails — all of which are unique to Raoul’s.
10. Burke and Wills
Located just off Broadway, Burke and Wills is an elegant dining destination that takes luxury dining to the next level. Brown leather booths, subtle mood lighting, and original artworks characterize this unique Australian eatery. The most impressive focal point is an A-frame ceiling. The huge overhead structure allows natural light and moonlight to flood in. This sets the scene for an unforgettable romantic dining experience.
But the real star of the show is the menu. As well as an extensive grill section, Burke and Wills offers some Australian delicacies you may want to sample for the first time. Why not give a kangaroo steak a try. Or if you’d rather play it safe, there are some interesting twists on classic pasta dishes — all created with a pinch of Australian charm.
11. Pasquale Jones
Pasquale Jones in the Nolita neighborhood delivers romance at every turn. Whether it’s the crisp, white linens, the ornate decor or the fresh red roses, everything in this eatery screams love and intimacy. Take a secluded table in the corner, underneath a spectacular chandelier. There’s no better place to propose or reaffirm your commitment to the love of your life.
There’s nothing pretentious about the incredible food at Pasquale Jones. This is despite the fact that the restaurant oozes elegance and romance throughout.
Among the most popular dishes are the wood-fired pizzas. Order a specialty pizza, or create something special for the occasion.
12. St Tropez
The name of this West Village eatery suggests opulence and fine dining. The reality is something much different. This is a laid-back, bistro-style restaurant without any formality. If you’re looking for the perfect date night venue, this is a great option. The decor is simple and rustic, and the service style is casual — perfect for an evening of romance and conversation.
As the name suggests, St Tropez specializes in French cuisine — but served in a way most people can relate to. Among the specialties of the house is a mac and cheese drizzled with truffle sauce. Pan-fried salmon and traditional ratatouille are also firm favorites.
L’Artusi manages to strike the perfect balance between elegance and rustic charm. Located on West 10th Street, it’s Perfect for intimate dinners with the person you love. The restaurant covers two whole floors. But don’t worry. There are lots of secluded places for privacy. Ask for a table at the chef’s counter. From there, you’ll both be able to watch the talented chefs in action.
The style of cuisine at L’Artusi is intricate and elegant. You’ll find most of the Italian classics you might expect, but they’re all served as an original work of art. There’s a huge selection of romantic cocktails to choose from. Check out the special sharing cocktails, designed especially for loved-up couples.
L’Artusi is also home to an extensive Italian wine selection. Ask your server for their recommendations.
Located in the heart of the West Village, Fedora is a traditional, fine dining restaurant with a big reputation. The simple black and white interior is elegant and unassuming. And the service style errs on the side of formal. If you’re celebrating one of life’s major romantic milestones, Fedora is a great place to be.
If you’re looking for a romantic dinner date that’s out of the ordinary, book the private dining room. The decor is industrial, featuring exposed brick walls and chrome fittings. You’ll get your own personal server, as well as a few specialties other diners will never see.
Everything about this place oozes romance, including the food. Among the romantic specialties of the house are hemp-crusted pollock, and smoked ricotta cavatelli. There’s also a show-stopping skirt steak — served with a sauce of your choosing.
15. Tree Bistro
Located on 1st Avenue in the East Village, Tree Bistro offers a casual dining experience that’s perfect for a simple date night. Neither the decor or the menu is pretentious, but it possesses a certain Gallic, rustic charm that lends itself beautifully to romance. The dining area features lots of corners and secluded areas for private conversation and professions of love.
Inspired by the classic aromas and flavors of France, the cuisine at Tree Bistro has a personality of its own. But there’s a simplicity about most of the food that gives it universal appeal. Among the house specialties are crab cakes, French onion soup (made with a secret, homemade recipe) and a seafood linguine. Or for a set price, order a tasting board. This comes fully loaded with several delicacies that are perfect for sharing.
16. Candle 79
Located in the Upper East Side, Candle 79 is a vegan restaurant that’s perfect for special romantic occasions. Unlike most vegan eateries in the city, it offers a fine dining experience in elegant surroundings. And the serving staff host romantic events every day, so you’re in the safest of hands. Call ahead, and they’ll arrange anything from a celebratory cake to some intimate, table-side entertainment.
Split across two levels, Candle 79 offers a wide selection of unique vegan delicacies. There’s also a separate gluten-free selection, which possesses the same elegance and refinery. Among the most eye-catching dishes on the menu are a vegan paella and a chocolate and peanut butter mousse.
17. La Grenouille
La Grenouille is quite the culinary landmark in Midtown East. Serving romancing couples since 1962, this elegant eatery is a throwback to the golden age of French cuisine. But be aware: there are some rules to follow. For example, men must wear a jacket. Jeans, sneakers, and most casual wear is off the menu If you want to dine here, get suited and booted. There’s even a strict ban on the use of cell phones.
But if you’re celebrating a milestone in your relationship, La Grenouille has a lot to offer. Waiters slowly pace the floor with a silver tray in one hand and a bright white napkin in the other. As for the dining room, it’s characterized by huge mirrors, bright red decals, and classic French architectural details.
The food at La Grenouille is deliciously pretentious — as you’d probably expect. But in small doses, this place offers a dining experience unlike anything you’ll experience elsewhere in the Big Apple.
18. Del Posto
Located in the Chelsea area, Del Posto is the epitome of opulence and elegance. Characterized by its mahogany furniture, mood lighting, and old-fashioned tablecloths, this charming eatery is ideal for surprise marriage proposals. There’s usually a talented pianist playing in the evenings, which adds to the sense of romance.
The food here is best described as modern Italian. While the flavors are centuries-old, presentation is definitely a product of the 21st century. The style of service is attentive and formal, but everyone is welcome. Eating at Del Posto is a little pricey. But that’s because this place was the first restaurant to win four Michelin stars in 40 years.
Located on 9th Avenue, Pastai is a restaurant that prides itself in creating authentic dishes from southern Italy. The style of service is very laid-back, as is the decor. But everything is modern, clean, and packed with Italian charm. This is the perfect, everyday date night eatery. It isn’t intimidating or pretentious — it’s a bistro where laughter and conversation are always on the menu.
As for the food, it’s rustic and homely. There are, at any one time, between 10 and 15 pasta dishes available. Skilled chefs make all the pasta fresh on the premises daily. And the ingredients are seasonal, which guarantees freshness and an ever-changing selection. You’ll also find a wide selection of grilled dishes, paninis, and antipasti on the menu.
Choose Pastai for your next romantic dinner date if you want to relax and unwind in the company of your partner. It’s one of the best restaurants in NYC for authentic, homecooked Italian food.
20. Da Umberto
Located in the heart of Chelsea, Da Umberto is a simple Tuscan restaurant with a big heart. While the style of service here is formal, it’s friendly to the point of being familial. The set-up is old-fashioned, and that’s not surprising. Da Umberto has been serving the good people of New York since 1987. The restaurant is a local landmark, and the management is keen to keep it that way.
One of the unique selling points of this classic Italian restaurant is its extensive wine list. You’ll find wines from regions of Italy you’ve probably never heard of. The family that runs this business retains close ties to the homeland. So you’re guaranteed an authentic Italian dining experience.
The dishes on the menu at Da Umberto are constantly changing in line with the seasons. But the most popular culinary creations are always on the menu. They include rack of veal, seared Scottish salmon and braised lamb shank.
21. The Rotunda
Located inside the Pierre Hotel, The Rotunda is easily one of the most visually stunning eateries in New York City. The decor here is breathtaking. The gorgeous artwork on the walls makes you feel like you’re a Roman Emperor, feasting on the finest fare the Empire can offer. The Rotunda isn’t just a romantic restaurant, it’s a theme park for fine dining.
Make no mistake, this exceptional eatery is perfect for those extra special occasions. Whether you’re celebrating a major marriage milestone or you want to propose in style, the Pierre Hotel’s incredible restaurant offers the perfect backdrop. Acclaimed artist Edward Melcarth painted the walls in 1976. His artistic legacy is a collection of exquisite murals. His work still brings couples together — through a combination of art and food and they feature a selection of murals that bring the entire dining room to life.
The food is formal, beautifully presented, and influenced by cuisines from around the world. Among the stars of the menu are black sea bass, the grilled filet mignon with carrot puree, and the shredded crab with cheese.
22. Le Colonial
Located in Midtown East, Le Colonial is dripping with luxury and excess. Packed to the rafters with antiquities, art, and character, this place is a treasure trove of history. Soft lighting, red velvet, and dark wood characterize the theming of Le Colonial. If you want to impress someone on a first date, this place will deliver the desired results.
Le Colonial has a local reputation for creating unique dishes, drawing from culinary influences from around the world. One of the most popular creations is a lemongrass chicken breast dish, served on a bed of noodles and drizzled in a peanut dressing. Other unusual items on the menu include a loin of pork with a mango and jicama salad, and plump shrimp served with a real piece of sugarcane.
Once you’ve eaten, take your partner for cocktails on the second floor. A breathtaking bar utilizes the whole space. And the theme is — you guessed it — Colonial.
Located in the heart of the West Village, Tartine is a tiny French cafe with a big heart. This is a place where the staff addresses their regular customers by name. There’s a family feel to the service style which lends itself to casual dinner dates. The style of service is casual in the extreme, but that’s great if you want to keep things relatively lowkey during a nervous first date.
The list of specials on the blackboard at Tartine change frequently. But there are a few permanent culinary creations available throughout the day. Pepper steak, croque-monsieur (a hot ham and cheese sandwich), and Tartine’s famous salty chips are three of the most popular.
If you’re on a tight budget, this place is perfect. Not only are the dishes relatively cheap for New York City, but you can also bring your own bottle of wine. The staff won’t even charge you a corkage fee.
Located in the Gramercy district, Rolf’s is the perfect place to sweep that special someone off their feet. If you want to enchant someone, this is the place to do it. Rolf’s is a wonderland of abstract decor and quirkiness. An entire corner of the restaurant is actually an “enchanted forest,” complete with trees and fairy lights.
The fare at Rolf’s is German, which means it’s hearty and filling. There’s a large selection of sausage dishes, as you might expect. The menu includes five very different schnitzel dishes, the most popular of which is the Wiener schnitzel. Whatever you order, romance and wonder surround you when you wine and dine a loved one at Rolf’s.
Porchlight is a very special eatery located inside the majestic 1891 Terminal Warehouse building. The decor is industrial, paying homage to the building’s illustrious past. Untreated wood and concrete dominate the dining area. But some carefully positioned mood lighting creates a romantic ambiance throughout.
If you’re looking for a romantic night out that’s packed full of fun, book a table at Porchlight. You can have a stunning meal before retiring to the game room for some classic bar games. When you both feel like settling down for some romantic conversation, make your way to the cozy couches or the relaxing rocking chairs.
There’s a massive selection of culinary creations on the menu at Porchlight. If you like rustic fare from the Southern states, this is the place to be. Make sure you and your partner try the famous Tasso and Cheddar Biscuits, which have a city-wide reputation.
New York isn’t just the city that never sleeps, it’s the city of romance, too. With so many wonderful romantic restaurants to choose from, you’ll never be short of dinner date options.