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So many options, which is the best?

Ok, I need the advice of the people who've actually been to these restaurants.

My one year anniversary is coming up soon, and I know it might be a bit much, but I want it to really be something special. I've already got tickets for the broadway show, thats all set, now all I need is the perfect dinner to go with it. I want good food, and the perfect romantic atmosphere. I've asked around and these are the restaurants I've been able to find so far, take a look at the list along with my own thoughts and if you have the time just let me know which place you reccomend along with any place you think would be better than isn't on the list.

-The Place- 310 W 4th Street. This is the best example of the sort of atmosphere I could find so far.

-Viceversa- 325 W 51st Street. Great looking menu, but for some reason I just feel it's too bright for a romantic dinner.

-One if by Land, Two if by Sea- 17 Barrow Street. Again, good looking menu, just not too sure of the atmosphere and I think I've heard a few bad reviews.

-Delmonico's- 56 Beaver Street. Yea, I've just heard good things.

-Tia Pol- 205 10th Ave. Again, just heard good things

-Le Petite Auberge- 116 Lexington Ave. Who knows...

Thanks to all who respond!

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  1. I can at least say don't bother with Le Petite Auberge. It's incredibly ordinary and beyond that ... food isn't well prepared. A better choice? Try I Truuli -- they have a beautiful fireplace and a very cozy ambiance.

    1 Reply
    1. re: kodothedrum

      I must emphatically disagree about La Petite Auberge. We have been going there with some regularity since they first opened (this year marks their 30th anniversary), and the reason it has lasted and why we keep returning is that one can always depend on the food being well-prepared and delicious. It isn't creative or avant-garde, but it isn't supposed to be. What you do find there are solid bistro classics. We also enjoy the charming interior, which is like a cozy little inn in Britanny.

    2. At One if By Land you are paying mostly for the atmosphere (which, I admit, is very romantic) but the food, eh--not incredible.

      1 Reply
      1. re: abud

        Definitely agree on that. The food is just not impressive or cheap. The place has old charm, but will provide disappointment on the food.

      2. IMO, food at One If... is very pedestrian. and the prices are HIGH, HIGH, HIGH! It bills itself as the most romantic restaurant in NY, and I just don't get that, either.

        Delmonico's is mostly a "business lunch" place, and to me, the steaks (which are supposed to be tieir specialty) are very ordinary. In that area I much prefer Bayard's.

        Why don't you go take a look at the places you think you'd like in person?

        f I'm planning a romantic idinner, I want THAT to be the event. To me, trying to do a B'way show on the same night is overkill, and probably will have you rushing from one place to another.

        ...when I think "Romantic Dinner" my first thoughts are La Grenouille... and in a lower price range, Gascogne. Check those places out.

        1. I like La Petite Auberge, but I don't think it's right for this occasion--the atmosphere to me is stale, not romantic. I didn't think the food at The Place was very good. I haven't been to One of By Land Two if By Sea, but the general consensus is that the food is bad. If you're willing to pay OIBL prices, then why not go to one of the other, better high end restaurants like the always romantic Bouley.

          1. Looking at the list it seems like location is not a big issue for you - appears that you are willing to go up/down/mid town for the dinner. I would highly recommend Eleven Madison Park (EMP), which I considered as one of the best restaurants nowadays in NYC minus the Per Se price tag. Bouley is also great but if I have to choose one I will choose EMP.

            I agree with ChefJune on Delmonico's and One If - they are famous but food was not exciting, and hence felt overpriced. Tia Pol is for tapas, so I wouldn't necessarily think that it is romantic, but it is fun and good for sharing food.

            Along the line of tapas and sharing food, I love Degustation which serves innovative tapas (not really spanish-inspired), and their seatings and food are designed in such a way that it is the best for a pair to share their dishes. It is also reasonably priced and I enjoyed my dinner there very very much!

            By the way, how many days are you staying in NYC? That might help us to select a few choices for your trip.

            3 Replies
            1. re: kobetobiko

              Sorry all I should've given a bit more of an explanation. We'll be in NY for a week and it probably does make more sense for me to plan the dinner on another night because romantic dinner and a show is too much.

              While I love all the amazing complicated French dishes and restaurants I'm seeing, please realize, my girlfriend isn't exactly an adventurous eater, she'll definitly try things once and a while but I want to make sure that she'll actually be able to eat a full meal. So I'm a bit afraid these dishes might scare her just a bit. I put Delmonic's on there simply because while it was the wrong atmosphere, but I knew she'd be able to eat/enjoy almost everything on the menu.

              As for actually checking out the restaurants in person, if only it was that simple, I was born and raised in NY, but both her and I go to school in MD so thats why I'm asking for help from all of you.

              Please, feel free to give any and all names of what you might reccommend.

              1. re: hungry_fox

                Hi hungry_fox,

                Great to hear that you are here for a week! Then we will have a lot more to choose from. Food in EMP and Bouley should not be intimidating at all, so I think they will be good for your dinner. Tia Pol and Degustation have a lot of dishes that are innovative in the cooking / presentation method, and they use a variety of ingredients ranging from shrimps and seafood to sweetbreads or offal meat. So if you are worried that your girlfriend may not like it, you may need to check out their menus first (most of them available on their own websites or menupage).

                Now understanding that you are staying for a week, there are a few places that serve good french food with a prix-fix lunch menu (so you can enjoy good food everyday without breaking the bank). Fleur de Sel, Perry Street, Jojo (I think), all have a 3 course prix-fix lunch (~$25) and the food is always great! It is a good way to sample good food without paying a hefty price (and yes, the dishes are not intimidating at all).

                If you have more specific things / food that you are looking for, you can always list them out and we can suggest accordingly!

                1. re: hungry_fox

                  If steak is what you want to gow ith because its "safe," and you want romance, I'd suggest you take her to Beacon. The wood-fire roasted meats are sublime, and the upstairs rooms can be quite romantic, altho I prefer eating downstairs near the open kitchen. Beacon is at 25 East 56th Street, between 5th and 6th.

                  Or, I'd choose Keens or Gallaghers, both old timey New York steak houses with great steaks and lots of "New York" atmosphere.