Raise the bar this date night with a little help from your New York City neighbors. From local legends to understated hideaways, these amorous eateries prove time and again to be the New Yorker’s most reliable wingman. Share bites, an evening, and some unadulterated romance with your favorite dining companion at the most romantic
restaurants in New York City.
Restaurant, Japanese, $$$
A certain sort of romance is what’s on the menu at Zenkichi
, a “modern Japanese brasserie” bringing illicit vibes to Brooklyn. A thick bamboo forest, shielded booths for two, and discreet service make this Williamsburg hot spot one of New York City’s sultriest date night destinations. An izakaya
-inspired eight-course omakase
menu features easy-to-share plates of grilled miso-marinated black cod, silky housemade tofu, and dark chocolate pudding for an affordable $75 per person.
If it was good enough for former President and First Lady (and enduring “couple goals”) Barack and Michelle Obama, it should be good enough for you and your favorite dining companion. Take a cue from the former leader of the free world, and take your date to Blue Hill
, a Greenwich Village restaurant serving farm-to-table fare and low-key romantic vibes. On the spot’s daily-changing and larger Farmer’s Feast menus, you’ll find fresh tomato tartare, pig from Blue Hill’s own farm, and plenty of opportunities to share a bite or hold a hand comfortably.
Bistro, Bar, Restaurant, Cafe, French, $$$
For a lazy morning breakfast, cozy date night dinner, and everything in between, Buvette
is the local lovebird’s pick for all-day dining. The self-described “part restaurant, part bar, part café” in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village transports patrons to the city of love through dishes such as creamy goat cheese-topped steamed eggs, hand-chopped steak tartare, and ratatouille with chilled leg of lamb.
Restaurant, Seafood, Pub Grub, $$$
Satisfy your appetite (for love or anything else) at the oyster bar, cocktail bar, seafood restaurant, and local favorite, Maison Premiere
. Equipped with one of the city’s best raw bars featuring 30 different oyster varieties, excellent cocktails (la Maison
boasts New York’s largest collection of premium absinthes), and Paris-inspired décor, this Williamsburg restaurant does “date night” better than almost any place else.
Restaurant, Italian, Mediterranean, $$$
Created in 1994 by two partners, it makes sense that Il Buco
boasts one of New York City’s most romantic dining settings. The menu, which strikes a delicious balance of Italian and Spanish flavors, features lusty offerings such as cast-iron roasted duck breast, grilled whole Spanish dorado, and Mediterranean wines, all enjoyed at Il Buco’s surprisingly intimate communal tables.
One if by Land, Two if by Sea
For 44 years, One if by Land, Two if by Sea
has been the well-to-do New Yorker’s go-to for fine dining in a romantic setting. Situated within an 18th-century carriage house once belonging to former vice president Aaron Burr, this elegant eatery (and popular proposal spot) features candelabra lighting, a brick fireplace, gold chandeliers, and more. You may come for the multi-course menus offering cocoa-poached lobster and Italian milk burrata, but you’ll stay for the restaurant’s amorous environment.
Vinegar Hill House
Restaurant, American, $$$
For a meal that feels like a romantic getaway, treat your companion to a visit to Vinegar Hill House
. This rustic restaurant, located in the DUMBO-adjacent neighborhood of the same name, specializes in bucolic bites, such as Farmstead cheese with jam and crackers, cast-iron chicken with potatoes, and chocolate Guinness cake with cream cheese frosting. Tip: This hideaway’s surrounding streets are a charming choice for an intimate after-dinner stroll.
The River Café
At The River Café
, what some consider to be the best fine dining in Brooklyn is served alongside stunning New York City views. Nestled beneath the iconic Brooklyn Bridge, this riverside restaurant pairs vistas of the Statue of Liberty and Manhattan skyline with upscale plates, such as sea scallop with slow-smoked pork belly; lavender and spice-crusted duck breast; and the cafe’s signature Chocolate Brooklyn Bridge dessert.
Restaurant, American, Contemporary, $$$
is primarily known for its fan-favorite brunch, the East Village eatery is also a popular date night pick for the city’s in-the-know eaters. Come dinnertime, the restaurant’s tiny dining room becomes a romantically intimate nook, where noshes such as pungent blue cheese toast and olive oil-steeped Brussels sprouts precede plates of braised beef cheeks with baby white turnips and hard cider farmhouse chicken.
Restaurant, Italian, $$$
With just eight tables, I Sodi
requires some planning on your part, but you can rest assured that nailing down a reservation will be well worth the effort. Much like the restaurant’s understated upscale décor, the traditional Tuscan fare at this Italian eatery, which is widely regarded as one of the best in the city, stuns with its simplicity. Join your amore
in a toast to Tuscany over housemade spinach and ricotta ravioli with cultured butter and I Sodi’s famous 26-layer lasagna.