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Romantic Downtown Weekend

I need some help planning my stay in NYC early March. Staying at the Grammercy Park Hotel so any tips on that or around that would be great. I am looking at filling up Friday and Saturday with hand holding, eating, and drinking with my hubby. He is from NY but we don't live there now. We don't normally travel that far downtown when we visit, so interested in exploring that area (villages, tribeca, etc). Here is my rough plan, please give me any advice and fill in the blanks. I adore special ideas! Thanks!!

Thurs - possible late night bite or drink depending when he gets off work. nearby bar? or late eats place?

Fri - wander around, brkfst somewhere? then up to Campbell Apartment for romantic cocktail, then down to my fav. of last visit (he's never been) The Spotted Pig for early dinner to avoid wait. back to hotel for a drink (i will make reservations, i'm thinking 10:30??) at the Rose Bar

Sat - brunch somewhere? oysters at Aquagrill raw bar for lunch? walk around the villages, tribeca, etc. window shop, shop shop? back to hotel to change. then need good, romantic italian for dinner... tired lupa and no luck. i'm thinking 9:30. looking at crispo, da umberto, giorgio's of grammercy, Roc? grab drink at angel's share first.

any ideas would be great. we like eating and drinking and doing cooler things than we normally get to do in LA. don't mind walking as long as its not too cold. just excited to be somewhere different! like local, friendly places. sushi, french, american and italian.

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  1. On a Friday night, you have to be at the Spotted Pig by 5:30pm to avoid the mad rush. For romantic Italian, you may want to try Apizz on the LES.

    1. romantic italian - Il Buco. Brunch - Balthazar - there is nothing like these places in LA. Late eats - momofuku ssam bar - look at weds review in the NYT.

      good luck

      1. Romantic Italian in walking distance from your hotel, Novita. Get the bottle of Nickle & Nickle you guys will be on cloud nine.

        1. I would go to Clinton St. baking Co. for breakfast/brunch one day and then walk around the Lower East Side. Lots of casual bites and interesting shops.

          Here's a link to RGR's LES walking tour:

          7 Replies
          1. re: CornflakeGirl

            Note that there are still a number of Orthodox Jewish places in the LES that contribute to the atmosphere (both culinary and general). They will be closed Friday evening and Saturday, so those times would not be the best to visit.

            1. re: bobjbkln

              The stops along the tour are not Orthodox and there really aren't too many left in the area that are worth visiting. The LES is completely hopping on Friday nights and Saturdays (once everyone rolls out of bed).

              1. re: CornflakeGirl

                You are not correct that stops along my tour are not observant. Kossar's and Gus's Pickles are closed on Saturday. If you wanted to substitute The Pickle Guys, not possible because they're closed as well. This is why I suggest it's best not to do the tour on Saturday. Doing the tour on Fridays is fine as long as you get to these places an hour before sundown when they must close.

                1. re: RGR

                  That's only two spots. I wouldn't skip the LES because I couldn't get a pickle especially if they're looking to go to brunch first. Still plenty to see.

                  I find Guss' has jumped the shark at this point and has become a bit of a tourist trap.

                  1. re: CornflakeGirl

                    I was correcting your untrue assertion that *none* of the stops on my tour were observant.

                    My tour is what it is and, in my view, is best not taken on a Saturday. But if someone wants to take the tour on a Saturday and miss these stops, that's perfectly fine with me.

                    And, btw, you and everyone else are certainly free to devise your own tour.

                    1. re: RGR

                      Sorry the "none" should have been "most" but thanks for the correction.

                      I think people have been tweaking the tour. I seem to recall Economy Candy not being on your original tour. Now after many mentions from others it's been added.

                      1. re: CornflakeGirl

                        You're right about Economy Candy. At one point, on another thread a few weeks ago, an out-of-towner asked about the Dumpling House, and I suggested a spot for it during the tour. As I said, I'm in favor of people using it as a guide and tweaking it to suit themselves.

          2. And I'd say avoid sushi - you can get way better sushi in LA.
            Philip Marie for Bruch - they have this cute little private room.
            Le Gigot - french bistro in Greenwich village for dinner
            Palma - italian/mediterranean in Greenwich village for dinner
            Butter in Noho is really good but not much life in surrounding areas
            Sapa in Chelsea/Flatiron is one of my faves for dinner.
            Piccolo Angolo is a family style Italian - no so romantic but you get the local homey feel
            Mermaid Inn - quaint and can be romantic. This is seafood.

            1. You guys are awesome. This is my first post and I really appreciate the help. Looking into the suggestions now!

              1. For late eats on Thursday try Casa Mono or Bar Jamon next door. Walking distance from your hotel. Tapas and/or snacks and great wine.

                1. Do you guys think I should stick with The Spotted Pig? Or try one of the similiar spots, can't remember the names... Also, Rose Bar a good idea? Any fun?

                  1. Save your time and forget Giorgio's and Roc- they are very medicore. Crispo is my favorite on your list of Italian, but I won't consider it as a romantic place. For Thursday night, you may try Degustation - it is a small plate tasting restaurant, and the dishes are perfect for a couple to share. I think this is less common in LA, but I could be wrong.
                    "ronoc " suggested Casa Mono / Bar Jamon for tapa. I like both, but I would also suggest Tia Pol or Alto which also have excellent tapas but more reasonably priced.
                    Not sure if you have been to Bouley on W Broadway (Tribeca)? It is contemporary French fine -dining and I would consider it as romantic dinner/lunch option. They also have a Bouley Upstairs which is of more causal settings and cheaper price. Food, of course, is excellent!

                    I will skip most of the Asian Fusion (e.g. Sapa, Sushi, etc.) as they are much better in LA.

                    4 Replies
                      1. re: kobetobiko

                        I am wondering the same thing. We've had dinner there, and I thought the food was very good. Are there places where the food is far superior? Definitey. But mediocre? No way!

                        1. re: RGR

                          Hi RGR and Sweatshirt Guy,

                          I was at Giorgio's for dinner the other night, and the clam and seafood entree that I ordered was very chewy and bland. The soup was, on the other hand, very salty. My friend had a pork chop entree which she described as ok but not special. I think overall the service and food was ok and if it is in my neigborhood I may go everynow and then. But I wouldn't recommend a out-of-towner to go there for a NY experience. (particularly that LA also has great cuisine).

                          That's just my humble opinion, and I might have gone on an off-night. May be I will give it another try since RGR ad Sweatshirt Guy appear to like it!

                          1. re: kobetobiko

                            Hi kobetobiko, Your experience with the food is definitely quite different from mine. It's been a while since we had dinner there, but I recall having a rack of lamb that was properly prepared and delicious. Can't remember anything else, but if something didn't measure up or was out-and-out bad, I'm sure it would stick in my memory.

                            Having only been there once, I can't speak to the issue of how *consistently* good the food is. Most Hounds who've been to Giorgio's think the food is very good, and it does get recommended fairly often, so you may be right about hitting it on an off-night.

                            (Note: For a long time, it was considered a *hidden* neighborhood gem until people began posting about it on this board.)

                      2. Crispo for Sat night. I do find it romantic. Giorgio's of Gramercy is also romantic, but the food is a level lower, and it is Italian-influenced maybe but not Italian.

                        1. Okay, so figured some more stuff out.
                          Thursday I've got Flute, Flatiron Lounge and Bar Jamon in my back pocket for any late night drinks and/or eats.
                          Friday I'm trying to decide whether to do brkfst at Balthazar or lunch at Aquagrill. And what to do to wander around til 3pm. 3:30ishpm cab it up to Campbell Apartment til 5ish than cab it to The Pig. Perhaps Little Branch after, then have resers at Rose Bar at 10.
                          Saturday- again, deciding whether to do Balthazar here or Aquagrill oysters, then Angel's Share or could do Campbell here instead of Friday, and then Novita.
                          Any thoughts? I think I'm almost set. THANK YOU!

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: HungryLA

                            consider drinks at the king cole bar (st. regis hotel).

                          2. Prune on 1st and 1st for Sunday brunch.

                            1. Definitely do Balthazar on Friday, not Saturday. The scene on Saturday mornings is now quite nuts.

                              I wouldn't give up on Lupa. If you can get there early, a twenty minute wait will usually have you seated.

                              For romantic dinner, I heartily endorse Bouley. Also think of Raoul's on Prince St, although the food doesn't pretend to be haute cuisine. It is romantic.

                              You seem to making quite a schlep for the Campbell Apt. It's fine if you're in the 'hood, but I don't think it's anything to write home about, and they know how to charge for basic cocktails. If you want the real NY thing, and you are happy to travel, why not stay vaguely on the west side and go to the Algonquin for a cocktail? Besides, there are some great romantic cocktail places downtown that will fill the bill nicely. But that's for another post, I guess.

                              Have fun.

                              - Sean

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Sean Dell

                                I'll make one suggestion for a romantic bar that knocks the Campbell Apt into the Gowanus Canal. And it is more in your 'hood.

                                Temple Bar on Lafayette St (just north of Houston), is one of the best in the city. Just great.

                                - Sean

                              2. If you're a afficionado of superb brandies/cognacs/armagnacs, etc., I'd highly recommend an after-dinner visit to the Brandy Library on North Moore Street. The BL's collection of armagnacs, for example, is simply astonishing . . . I recently spent an evening sampling tastes of several Folle Blanche vintages (back to a particularly fine 1973) in front of the fireplace (there are two of them in the room). Delightful. Recommend earlier arrival on week-end nights, however, since the place does tend to fill up.

                                For pre-dinner cocktails, I recommend the Flatiron Lounge on West 19th Street (between 6th and 5th). One of the best Manhattans in town. There's also the lounge at the Four Seasons Hotel on 57th Street . . . a really beautiful room and well-prepared drinks. Although it's neither of these places is really "downtown" (or, at least, not as "downtown" as you've indicated you'd like to be), they're relatively quick cab rides away.