How to Have a Romantic Date at a Fast-Food Joint
700 8th Avenue at W 44th Street
Artisanal food courts are spreading like wildfire throughout the boroughs, and the theatre district is no exception. Home to seven distinct eateries, City Kitchen at the ROW NYC is great for groups with different tastes, because everyone can order something different. Try a California roll at Azuki ($6), a lobster roll at Luke’s ($16), or a personal favorite, a donut from Dough ($3). Glazed and filled varieties in flavors like cinnamon sugar, lemon poppy, hibiscus, and Nutella are delicious and massive, so you can easily split one. Plus, Dough’s second story countertops overlook the street, making for prime people watching.
231 W 46th Street between Broadway & 8th Avenue
New York City has the best pizza in the world, but it’s important to remember that not all slices are created equal. If something costs $1, it’s best avoided before midnight and copious amounts of alcohol. For just a couple bucks more, you can nom on a real slice at Patzeria, one of the tastiest pizza options in Times Square. Broadway performers are known to swing by after shows, so you’ll find cast autographed posters lining the walls. There are only a few available seats, so plan to eat quickly, or order from the takeout window and have an informal al fresco feast. A plain cheese slice costs $3, and specialty toppings will run you $4-6.
229 W 43rd Street between 7th & 8th Avenue
People will try to tell you that NYC isn’t a taco town, but we can hold our own -- and some of our very best cost less than $4, right here in the Crossroads of the World. Choose between carne asada (steak), pollo asado (chicken), adobada (pork), and nopal (cactus) on a corn tortilla (always select corn over flour for a more authentic taste) and make sure to get it con todo, (with all the trimmings: salsa, cilantro, onions, and guac). Expect an ever so slight amount of heat that you can slake with a horchata or Mexican Coke.
630 9th Avenue at 45th Street
Yeah, yeah, we know you love Shake Shack. But you’d be a fool to try to dine at its Midtown location (W 44th Street and 8th Avenue), where the tourist-filled line often stretches out the door, and around the corner. Instead, take a five-minute stroll to the slightly less-ubiquitous 5 Napkin for a more relaxed dining experience and a comparable, if not better, burger. Basic hamburgers start at $12.50, but spring for the classic 5 Napkin Burger ($16.50): 10 ounces of all-natural Angus beef, imported Gruyere cheese, caramelized onions, and rosemary/garlic aioli on a potato roll.
645 9th Avenue at 45th Street
If you’re all about catching celeb vibes on Broadway, swing by Southern Hospitality. This BBQ joint is affiliated with none other than Justin Timberlake, and the food is finger-lickin’ good. You can order an entree for yourself, but if you’re open to sharing, order a serving of meat (ribs, pulled pork, brisket, or chicken, $25 each) and a selection of sides (every Southern comfort food you can think of, $5-8 for a small or $9-16 for a large). Make sure to wash your hands after, so you don’t arrive to the theater covered in sauce and "Filthy."
306 W 39th Street at 8th Avenue
The food here is good enough (expect standard bar fare: salads, burgers, apps on apps on apps), but that’s not why people come. Rattle N Hum offers one of the best craft beer selections in a neighborhood overrun with questionable Irish pubs serving flat Budweiser. With 40 beers on tap (and over 40 more in cans and bottles), your cup will runneth over, even for you folks who don’t think you like beer. We have a lot of fantastic breweries in NYC, so choose from one of Rattle N Hum’s many local brews. Drafts start at $8.
234 W 44th Street between 7th & 8th Avenue
Better known for the celebrity caricatures lining the walls than its food, Sardi’s has been a Broadway staple since it first opened at this location in 1927. It caters specifically to the Broadway crowd, offering pre-theater, post-theater and pre-fixe dinner (appetizer, entree, dessert, and coffee for $60) options. The latent Instagram magnet is also the “birthplace of the Tony Award,” as the idea came to producer/director Brock Pemberton while dining at the restaurant.
326 W 46th Street between 8th & 9th Avenue
While Broadway shows are the cream of the theatrical crop, they don’t always knock it out of the park. Joe Allen is hilariously decorated with posters from all the big Broadway flops; shows that got such bad reviews, they needed Vaudeville hooks to pull them offstage. The small restaurant has counted many stars as frequent guests throughout the years, and the namesake owner can often be found sitting at the bar. Make sure to order their celebrated banana cream pie ($12) for dessert.
1535 Broadway between W 47th & W 48th Street
No, we are not recommending the daytime television show. (Sorry, Whoopi.) Situated on the 48th floor of the New York Marriott Marquis, The View is the city’s only revolving rooftop restaurant. It isn’t cheap (the 3-course pre-fixe dinner will run you $89 a pop for options like foie gras ganache, lobster mac n’ cheese, and filet mignon, with ample supplementary charges. The lounge has an appetizer & dessert buffet for $40), but its eponymous views and novelty factor make it a guaranteed great spot for a special night out.
714 7th Avenue at W 48th Street
The bar at the Renaissance New York Times Square Hotel is right in the heart of it all. Though you may need to elbow past a pseudo Spider Man or two to enter, the fantastically large windows at R Lounge promise amazing social media material of your visit to the Great White Way. Try the aptly named #ILOVENY cocktail ($16) made with bourbon, local liqueur Mister Katz’s Rock & Rye, and angostura bitters.
6 Times Square between 7th Avenue and Broadway
This posh rooftop at the Knickerbocker Hotel has thrilling views of Times Square and delightful drinks. A DJ plays Tuesday through Saturday evenings, if you want to a melodic break from showtunes. Fun fact: One of many martini origin stories posits that the classic cocktail was invented here in 1906, when a bartender named Martini di Arma di Taggia first served it to regular John D. Rockefeller. Try the original recipe, made with gin, dry and sweet vermouth, and citrus and orange bitters, for $18.
200 W 39th Street at 7th Avenue
Open Monday through Friday from 4:30 pm, The Skylark has breathtaking views of the Empire State Building and surrounding area. Their impressive drink menu changes with the season, so expect goodies like a variety of rosés in the summer, and frozen spiked apple cider in the fall. Their signature cocktail, The Skylark ($18), is made with gin, vodka, St. Germain liqueur, blue curaçao, lemon and brandied cherry.