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Cozy, Romantic INDIAN Restaurant for First Date

Hi there,

Im taking a special lady to an Indian restaurant for our first date next week. She loves Indian cuisine, but Im new to it - so I definitely need some advice! I was wondering if anyone knows where I can take her for some great authentic Indian - none of this fusion nonsense, just some down-to-earth Indian cooking. I want something cozy, romantic, and memorable. I prefer something in Manhattan - UWS, Chelsea/Flatiron, or Midtown East would be ideal. Queens is great too - Astoria, Forest Hills, anywhere in that vicinity. We can travel to other areas or boroughs, too. Price is not as important as the quality of the meal, but I don't want to spend a week's salary on the dinner! Suggestions, anyone? Thanks in advance!

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  1. Devi serves superb Indian cuisine, some of the best around. Definitely not fusion. In addition to the a la carte menu, there are two tasting menus. Wine pairings are also available. The large space on two levels has unique, elegant decor. For coziness and a touch of romance, request a table in one of the two curtained alcoves at the rear of the main level.

    Hope you and your date have a wonderful time.

    http://www.devinyc.com

    1 Reply
    1. re: RGR

      Although I usually end up in the east village when we have Indian cuisine, I'd have to agree with RGR and several others: Devi has delicious food AND a warm and romantic, atmosphere. Great first (or any other) date place.

    2. I had a meal at Earthen Oven that was great last night. UWS. Northeast corner of Columbus and 72. I had an amazing lamb dish and my dining companion had a spinich dish. Wine was not so good. But, we shared a bottle, two entrees and a Nan for $40 per person. Not bad.

      1. i took a delicious female acquaintance to madhur jaffrey's restaurant in midtown. the decor wasnt impressive, neither was the food but the acquaintance was nonetheless impressed with the steep menu prices and the fact that it was madhur jaffreys dig. the wine selection was sparse too. nonetheless acquaintance made it real easy for us to better much better acquainted that evening. overall it was a yummy evening

        5 Replies
        1. re: naughtyman

          Madhur Jaffrey has a midtown restaurant? This is news to me! Tell more, please.

          1. re: floretbroccoli

            It's Dawat - I've always had good meals there, though there are mixed reviews on the board about it.

            1. re: MMRuth

              Thanks! How on earth did I not know this when I've heard of Dawat and "Spice Kitchen" is like a bible to me?

              1. re: floretbroccoli

                To follow upon Naughtyman's post - I've always found nice, reasonably priced white wines to go with the meal. Yes, the decor is dated, but I've always found the service very good. I think it's better to go with a group, which allows you to try more dishes and probably makes it less expensive, per person. I think I've posted before about dishes I like there - happy to dig up if you like.

                I wouldn't recommend it as a cozy date place though - I think Devi could be quite romantic.

                1. re: MMRuth

                  BTW - I need to write up my report, but we went to Chola on Friday night to try something new, and while the room was pretty, I wasn't too impressed w/ the food, and will go back to Dawat or try somewhere else next time.

        2. I like Vatan. 29th and 3rd? Maybe lex. The food is very good and you can sit in these little private gazebo type dining areas on cushions. You take off your shoes and climb in and can stay for a very long time because they will keep bringing you courses for as long as you want them. I always feel like I am in a Bollywood movie for some reason when I go there. It will be intimate.
          And doesn't break the bank--Last time I went it was around $20 per person. Maybe a little more. I love the food. It is veg but the meaters I have brought have all loved it.

          1. I had a first date at Tamarind and loved it.

            3 Replies
            1. re: bussy26

              tamarind has excellent food, great service; def. somewhat fusion-y but they also have plenty of "traditional" dishes; best to ask your server which of the dishes fall to either side, but I have had wonderful meals there.

              1. re: bigjeff

                I second tamarind. Had a fantastic meal there recently. Extremely flavorful dishes, well executed and very nice atmosphere. Be sure to make a reservation as it was difficult for us to get a table though.

              2. re: bussy26

                I'm one of those people who doesn't really get Tamarind...at all.
                ... which is why I wouldn't think of it as a safe date place unless you know your date likes non-traditional approaches. I know for me, I could handle the lack or red curry in their tandoori, but the lack of spicing altogether made the food really dull. Maybe it could work if you were sure your date was easier going! ha.

              3. Vis-a-vis abud's recommendation of Vatan: I passed by the restaurant recently in a cab. I remember noting that it looked as if it had closed (another victim of rising rents along 3rd Ave?). You may want to confirm that it has a working phone number.

                I recommend Brick Lane Curry House...although it's often crowded, it has intimate-feeling spaces and offers flavorful dishes delivered by friendly servers.

                4 Replies
                1. re: NYCinephile

                  Devi. The food is fantastic, the menu is interesting, and the room is very romantic.

                  1. re: NYCinephile

                    Vatan's closed for renovation right now. Do Chola on E 58th St. or else Banjara on E 6th in East Village.

                    1. re: shivohum

                      vatan re-surfaced as GAAM for a couple weeks (on 30th street, just west of 5th avenue) but is now named VATAN again. same owners apparently, maybe just a temporary name swap. still has the dinner prix fixe of unlimited veg food, course after course after course.

                    2. re: NYCinephile

                      I had a first date at Brick Lane and it was very nice. I think it was on a Sunday and it was not too crowded. Also since it is not as expensive and "big deal" as some of the others listed (though more so than the other 6th street spots) there is less pressure on what can already be a tense (though hopefully very nice) evening.

                    3. Devi is probably the most date-like, but it's a more modern setting.
                      Vatan does a tasting menu for two, which would be nice for a date, providing they didn't change the interior.
                      If you're looking for something a little more 6th street like, Mitali is dark, with some booths, and they have a bar downstairs to mix some goofy drinks, like pina coladas. I used to swear by the food at Mitali, but not so much anymore. It's okay, and good if you're looking for a less upscale date.

                      1. I'm going to put in a vote against Devi. I've been there twice, had the tasting menu both times, and was underwhelmed.

                        The Vegetarian New Yorker: http://vegny.blogspot.com/