Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >
Sep 20, 2006 09:12 PM

Daniel or Le Bernadin?

Have a reservation at both, haven't been to either, taking a real cute girl that isn't as big of a foodie as i am for a special occassion. Which would u suggest for a not as-foo-foo, yet special dining experience for mid 20's?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. If the choice must be between these two, I think you'd be better off with Daniel because there is so much more choice on the menu, and a pickier eater is more likely to be able to find something more straightforward.

    Daniel is definitely the *much* fancier of the two, but I would choose that over Bernardin's "decor." When we had dinner at Bernardin, all their efforts at camouflage could not keep me from feeling that I was dining in an office building lobby, which is exactly where it's is located.

    Furthermore, service at Bernardin was so frosty that it could have cooled the room without a.c. (It was June.) Totally opposite experience with service at Daniel, i.e., very cordial and professional.

    Have you considered taking her to Eleven Madison Park? Chef Daniel Humm's cuisine is sensational, and the room is gorgeous! Definitely a special occasion kind of place.

    Your cute girl is very lucky to be treated so well. Happy special occasion and Bon Appetit!

    1. I like Le Bernadin. Tasty, innovative French seafood. Contrary to RGR, I thought the service was not stuffy or frosty at all. Rather warm and courteous.

      1. I really like both restaurants. However, I think that Daniel would be much better for your date. There are more food options. Le Bernardin is primarily a seafood restaurant. I thought the service was terrific at Le Bernardin, but it does have a bit of a corporate feel. Daniel has a much more romantic atmosphere -- lots of rich, lush colors.

        1. Sorry to add to the confusion here, but IMO Le Bernadin is the way to go, hands down. The food is significantly better than Daniel and the atmosphere at Daniel is extremely stuffy. It's proper for the style of restaurant it is, but not the place for a first time foodie looking for a "not as foo" kind of place.

          Obviously make sure she likes fish. And if she does, Le Bernadin is the way to go.

          4 Replies
          1. re: binkis

            Wait, you think Le Bernardin with its gilded, gold, banker decor is less stuffy than Daniel's red and orange room?

            I vote for Daniel for less stuffy between the two (although it is pretty formal). The food and service is excellent. For some intimacy, request one of the canopy seats in the corner or a table along the outside wall (where couples can sit side by side).

            Less formal would be Bouley. Asiate by a window if she's less into food and more into setting and decor (there are a couple of gems on that menu). Jean Georges has great food, a nice view, and pleasant lighting. It's darker and sexier than either Le Bernardin or Daniel. Depending on my mood, I waffle between Daniel and Jean Georges as my favorite high-end dining establishment in NYC.

            1. re: Porthos

              ok....this is great. i do most of the ordering if we go out somewhere a little nicer than your regular run of the mill, and she's been great so far.
              hate to ask this quesion and hope not to ruin the great advice to far....what can i go to without completely running myself over. Is it possible to spend less than $400/$450 all in after wine (100-150) and tip at Daniel or Le Bernedin? I doubt i would do a tasting menu like the one at D, but am not one to hold back.

              1. re: bhba

                I actually prefer the a la carte over the tasting menus at Daniel. You can pick the dish that has the most spectacular combination of ingredients that way (eg. imported scottish langoustines with peas). If your bottle of wine hovers around $100 and you don't do the $50 supplements, you'll be easily under $450. Daniel is a master with soups.


                1. re: Porthos

                  sounds like a winna to me! thanks

          2. If she soesn't like seafood, you definately should not bring her to La Bern. If she does, you should.

            1 Reply
            1. re: allister

              That's my take, too. I think the food is clearly superior at Le Bernadin, but there's no reason to torture a non-seafood lover over the distinction. For a special occasion date, though, I agree with another poster that Bouley might be a better idea -- it's less formal, more intimate, and in my experience, friendlier.