Best place for special meal
Since you didn't say what types of food both of you like.....
Grammercy Tavern.....Never fails. Delicious food, delightful service. American.
Babbo......I've only been once, and others have had some problems with the staff, but my wife and I liked it a lot. Has a lot of unusual foods. Italian
Allison on Dominick.....More romantic, in my view, than the other two. Also very fine food, and very subdued service. They will not hassle you, but will answer all questions. French.
OTOH, if what you really wanted was a great Japanese, Indian, Chinese, or you name it restaurant, let us know.
Felidia Ristorante 243 E,58th St. 212-758-1479 My husband and I spend our anniversary here every year. A class act all the way and food "to die for". You won't be disappointed. Also Oceana, 55 E54th St.,212-759-5941. The most pristine and impeccable seafood prepared to perfection. Service is so professional. Either would be appropriate for a special occasion.
I would definitely second Bouley Bakery. I know it got a lot of ill reviews a while back, but I think they've mended their ways.
I can't say that I would second Balthazar and I really wouldn't second One if By Land, TIBS.
You should also consider Daniel (the room is very soft and intimate after the renovations) and Aquavit...
Three meals within the past year that have proven to be very romantic include...
March - French with an Asian accent. Ate here for my 1st anniversary. Located in a tiny townhouse in the Sutton Place area. Very romantic. Food is outstanding and the wine list is excellent. They just went through renovations so it might even be nicer than it was a year ago.
Bouley Bakery - French/American. Make sure to eat in the dining room and not in the bakery. Low lighting and comfortable tables with plenty of space in between make for a romantic meal. Food is outstanding.
Gramercy Tavern - American...ate here on Tuesday for my 2nd anniversary. Great food in a beautiful dining room. Service is second to none and the wine list is excellent too. Stunning vegetable tasting menu available. Even this carnivore would have traded my tasting menu for the vegetable one.
As a side note, I saw that Marguriete suggested Balthazar. While it's a fun place to eat, its far from romantic. Actually IMHO, its quite a scene, loud, and the food isn't worth the price. Much better for lunch.
The most romantic, nicest overall meal I've ever had with my wife was at One if by Land, TIBS. It was the first anniversary of our first date, and we were starting to plan the wedding....
But, that was 10 years ago. We've been back a few imes (most recently about 1 1/2 years ago). It declined steadily. At our most recent visit, the food was OK, but WAY overpriced, the waiter had all the worst characteristics of those who have been to some sor of "wait staff school" - overly solicitous, highly recommnending only the highest priced items (Are you sure you don't want mineral water? yes, we're sure...).
We won't be back.