The Absolute Best Restaurants for a Romantic Date Night in NYC
Fall in love with these intimate dining rooms and Valentine’s Day specials at top local eateries.
Whether you’re in need of an extra special date idea for Valentine’s Day, planning to pop the question, or just treating your boo to a night out, it’s that time of year to decide on a restaurant that perfectly sets the mood.
From sultry eateries laden with candlelight and intimate two-tops to cozy wine bars and impressive sky-high setups, New York City has plenty of spots to consider—no matter what stage of relationship (or situationship) you’re at. Here are the most romantic restaurants in NYC that make falling in love that much easier.
The Wesley is a gorgeous must-try for a plant-forward dinner date of seasonal and produce-driven dishes. Opened in November and helmed by chef Santiago Astudillo (Le Bernardin, Daniel), the dairy-free menu boasts an imaginative array of vegetable-centric offerings (along with a select number of stellar meat options). Within separate dining spaces with names like the Red Room or Blonde Room, go for signature plates such as the Mushroom Ceviche (coconut leche de tigre), Artichoke Pasta (cashew cream), and Amish Chicken Roulade (squash puree, Brazilian chili oil). For drinks, bar expert Gabriel Maldonado (Jean-Georges, Le Coucou) whips up house cocktails like the Conniption (gin, mezcal, celery juice) and zero-proof creations like the Dry Hopper (oleo saccharum), while the wine selection spotlights organic, vegan, and women-led producers.
Valentine’s Day prix fixe offering: Dinner at $125 per person includes four courses with starters like Mushroom Ceviche, Warmed Oysters, or Baby Lettuce; small plates including Roasted Carrots, Fluke Crudo, or Gnocchi; entrees like Press Maitake Mushroom, Duck, or Scallops; plus a choice of dessert. An optional wine pairing is available for an additional $65 charge.
As far as wine bars go, one of the latest to take New York City by storm is from co-owners and Momofuku alums chef Joshua Pinsky and wine director Chase Sinzer. At Claud, the concept is straightforward: an extensive and carefully curated wine program plus a concise menu of small European-inspired plates. Snag a two-top in the intimate dining room or cuddle up in the cozy backyard patio before perusing the vast range of varietals in the on-site cellar and sharing bites such as Escargot Croquettes and Rabbit Rillettes.
Place des Fêtes
Named after the Parisian “Square of Celebrations,” Place des Fetês emanates a laid-back energy that encourages easy conversation and a memorable evening. The seafood-heavy menu includes French, Spanish, and Portuguese-influenced main courses, and small plates are divided into three sections: Chilled, Cultured, and Vegetables. Choose from seasonal offerings like the Sardine Toast with smoked butter, Wood Ear Mushroom served with caramelized fish sauce, and Black Bass with caraflex cabbage. The beverage program features a rotating wine list highlighting natural varietals sourced from Spain, Peru, Chile, and Canada, in addition to a cider made in collaboration with Shacksbury Cider in Vermont.
After closing in 2018 for renovations, Hotel Chelsea’s El Quijote debuted early last year. First opened in 1930, the Spanish restaurant has stayed true to its roots, continuing to draw culinary inspiration from the northern regions of Spain. While new design additions consist of intimate leather booths, tufted bar stools, and a handful of cozy tables, the interior has mostly retained its original sultry charm thanks to frosted glass elements and dark wood accents. If you’re looking to split some dishes with your sweetheart, there’s Pan con Tomate, Croquetas de Jamon, and Patatas Bravas, which all pair wonderfully with glasses from the Spanish-centric wine list or cocktails like the Quijote G+T (pear, aloe, celery).
A romantic time out at Aldama begins even before entering its doors, thanks to the gorgeous views of the Williamsburg Bridge on its picturesque Brooklyn street. The contemporary Mexican restaurant is helmed by partner/cocktail expert Christopher Reyes (Cosme, Employees Only) and chef Gerardo Alcaraz (Black Ant, Martín Berasategui in San Sebastián, Spain), and focuses on street food of Central Mexico in addition to offering regional specialties like Pulpo Zarandeado and Pollo Coloradito. The space is separated into small sections with plenty of intimate seating and features an overall modern approach that’s evident from design touches and plateware to the food and cocktails.
In a city filled with Italian food institutions, Don Angie, which opened in 2017, could still be considered one of the new kids on the block. But this smash-hit homage to Italian American cuisine from married duo, Angie Rito and Scott Tacinelli, has cemented itself to icon status with the help of a signature dish: the Pinwheel Lasagna. Perfect for sharing with a date, there’s a good chance that this eye-catching social media darling (and its crispy-edged top) already looks familiar. It’s just one of many must-try items within a space featuring a checkerboard Carrara and dark Bardiglio marble tile floor and sleek interior design, as well as a romantic outdoor dining setup with a deep red exterior.
Gage & Tollner
This legendary oyster and chophouse’s origins date back to 1879, and its 2021 revival is courtesy of industry veterans Sohui Kim and Ben Schneider (the wife-and-husband duo behind The Good Fork and Insa), and St. John Frizell (Fort Defiance). Inside Gage & Tollner’s intimate dining room and space that stuns with Gilded Age glory, enjoy a menu of seafood platters, steaks, and much more. Pair it all with an expansive cocktail list that includes a dedicated martini section, and desserts from the award-winning Caroline Schiff. Afterwards, continue the fun upstairs at the window-less tropical-themed bar, Sunken Harbor Club, which transports guests to the ocean floor.
Valentine’s Day prix fixe offering: Dinner at $107 per person includes three courses with starters like She-Crab Soup or Wedge Salad; a choice between Roasted Sullivan County Duck Breast or Pan Seared Scallops for entree; and a slice of Coconut Layer Cake or Malted Milk and Dark Chocolate Torte for dessert. A wine pairing is available for an additional $79 charge.
This Mediterranean restaurant in Bed-Stuy is a neighborhood favorite and a sister spot to eateries like Cervo’s and The Fly. Within Hart’s small and intimate space (the dining room seats about 30), enjoy seasonal dishes from chef Nick Perkins (Diner, Reynard) like the Clam Toast with Pancetta, Braised Chicken Thighs with Broccoli, and Grass-fed Lamb Burger with Marinated Anchovies. Pair everything with natural wine, and on the way out, grab some tinned seafood like sardines, cod liver, and sockeye salmon from their line of products named Minnow.
Valentine’s Day prix fixe offering: The four course dinner is $95 per person.
This rustic Italian destination located on the cobblestones of Bond Street originally opened as an antique store in 1994 but quickly transitioned to a restaurant after the success of owner Donna Lennard’s meals with her regulars. Since then, the date-night classic has also spawned additional sister spots like the casual eatery and specialty goods market il Buco Alimentari & Vineria next door, along with il Buco Al Mare in Amagansett lead by chef Justin Smillie. At the original il Buco, experience a seasonal menu with a rotating selection of dishes like Fave (fava beans, greens) and Pulpo (Spanish octopus, avocado, salsa). Add on special Olive Oil Tasting to complement it all.
Valentine’s Day prix fixe offering: Dinner at $125 per person includes four courses with an choice of antipasti between a salad or seared scallops; a second course of Agnolotti with duck or Risotto alla Milanese; an entree of Spanish turbot or skirt steak; and dessert of Mousse or Crostata.
This acclaimed Brooklyn restaurant is from the same team behind nearby Chez Ma Tante and Golden Age Hospitality, and holds its place as one of the city’s top brasseries and romantic spots in Williamsburg. At Le Crocodile, chefs Jake Leiber and Aidan O’Neal serve French fare inspired by their favorite haunts in both Paris and New York City, and offer a culinary experience in a gorgeous and sophisticated dining room. The duo also helms Bar Blondeau, a French-style bar located just a few floors up within the Wythe Hotel.
Valentine’s Day prix fixe offering: Dinner at $170 per person includes four courses with a starter of Blood Orange Salad, Winter Squash Salad, or Chopped Main Lobster Salad; a small plate of Orzo and Black Truffle or Uni and Tagliatelle; a main of Halibut with Mussels, Duck Breast, or Trumpet Mushroom; and dessert of Jet Black Chocolate Souffle, Vanilla Rose Zabaglione, or Panna Cotta.
Spots within the Golden Age Hospitality portfolio (Acme, Le Crocodile, Bar Blondeau) from industry veteran Jon Neidich all offer a touch of glamour. But with its deep red color scheme and rich ambiance, The Nines brings it up a notch thanks to live music covering funk and jazz to soul and classic rock. At this piano bar and supper club in NoHo inspired by old-school European hotel lobby bars, executive chef Nicole Gajadhar (The Loyal, Nix, Saxon & Parole) serves a decadent menu filled with items like Smoked Salmon & Blini, Uni with lemon butter, and the signature 9’s Club Sandwich. Custom cocktails from beverage director Ashley Santoro (owner of Leisir Wine, Standard Hotels International) are served in fancy glassware and include classics along with options like the self-titled The Nines with reposado tequila, mezcal, passion fruit, and yuzu.
Valentine’s Day prix fixe offering: The four-course dinner is $195 per person.
This sister bar to ROKC from cocktail expert Shige Kabashima opened in late 2019 and features a menu inspired by the cuisine of 19th century Japanese port towns. Similar to its sibling cocktail destination, NR offers expertly crafted drinks served within ornate vessels (but those arriving in a simple nick and nora glass are just as good, too). Food offerings include Oysters, a Mussel + Beer + Cotton Candy dish, and specialty ramens like Sea Urchin & Salmon Caviar or the Kyoto topped with pork belly. With decor like antique-style lamps and wooden beam ceilings, the alluring dining room easily sets the mood for date night.
It’s true that New York City has no shortage of places to kick back with a drink and elevated views (stellar rooftop bars, anyone?), but this spot in a Financial District skyscraper soars in its own stratosphere. Owned and operated by chef James Kent, Overstory is the loftiest of the 70 Pine Street portfolio—with Crown Shy on the ground floor, and SAGA on the 63rd—and in addition to superb cocktails designed by bar director Harrison Ginsberg (The Dead Rabbit, Blacktail) like the Gyokuro Martini (vodka, Gyokuro Green Tea, vermouth), the 64th floor views are sure to wow you and your date with a 360-degree panorama of the city and beyond.
In addition to running his namesake Tribeca restaurant, Restaurant Marc Forgione (which is temporarily closed for renovations) and One Fifth in Greenwich Village, Marc Forgione debuted as the new chef and owner of Peasant—a wood-fired Italian spot and popular neighborhood gem on Elizabeth Street—in 2020. Known for its rustic food and charm, the evening hotspot features a menu with staples like tableside Bucatini Carbonara, Rotisserie Lamb Ragu, and a Family Style Pig Roast. Additionally, keep date night going with a stop by Forgione’s latest update to the decades-old Nolita restaurant: Peasant Wine Bar, a candle-lit space accessed through a hefty barn door in what was previously their wine cellar now serving lesser-known Italian grape varietals along with hearth-cooked dishes.
Tiny's and the Bar Upstairs
This Tribeca restaurant from owner Matt Abramcyk (also of nearby Yves and Smith & Mills) is spread out across three cozy floors in a pink townhouse originally built in 1810, and also features a fireplace and some of the original marble, brick, and stone. At Tiny’s, go for chef Alejandro Bonilla’s (Root & Bone, Navy Restaurant) New American cuisine with Italian and French influences in dishes like Housemade Meatballs, Roasted Chicken, and Pan Seared Sea Scallops. If in the mood for lighter bites and drinks, snag one of five seats at the Martini & Oyster bar on the ground floor for seafood and cocktails like the Black Truffle Martini with black truffle blue cheese stuffed olives.
Valentine’s Day prix fixe offering: Dinner at $115 per person includes three courses with starters like Scallop Crudo, Lobster Ravioli, Pear or Fresh Ricotta Salad; a choice of main dishes including Poached Arctic Char, Sunchoke Gnocchi & Chanterelle, Crispy Duck Breast, or Braised Short Ribs; as well as desserts like Chocolate Lava Cake or Passion Fruit Creme Brulee.