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First Date Spots?

Hey 'hounders,
Where would be a great place for a first date? Something romantic but slightly casual, not too loud since there's going to be the "get to know you" conversations, and obviously the food has to be great and good drinks would be a plus. Budget range would be moderate about $30 - $40 pp. Locations doesn't really matter, as long it's accessible to the subways. Thanks in advance!

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  1. One of my favorite first date spots is chumleys (86 bedford street, in the village). The crowd can get a little B&T, but its a nice combination of casual and delicious (sweet burgers). And the whole "underground literary speakeasy" thing gives you something to talk about.

    1. never thought of chumley's as romantic, but that said depends what you mean. not far down from there is moustache (good, inexpensive middle eastern, pitzas are great) and little owl -- could eat there and pop over to chumleys for a drink before/after.

      1. Here's a few options, depending on what kind of food you're into: 1) Valdino West - great Italian food, dark but not overly so, relaxed neighborhood place in the W Village; 2) Sala - tapas either at the 19th St location or the one on the Bowery; 3) Bar Six - good french bistro on 6th Ave around 13th (or thereabouts) or 4) Cafe Asean on 10th St near 6th Ave - mix of southeast asian like malaysian, thai, etc.

        Good luck!

        2 Replies
          1. re: pellegrino31

            Cafe Asean has been a good first date spot for me, when I still had first dates. I never took a woman there who did not really like it. Tables are a bit close together, and the drinks are beer and wine only, I think. Good food, reasonable, slightly romantic.

            I like Madeline (sp?) which is one 43rd or 44th as a first date spot, when I went on a week night after 8. The theater crowd cleared out, and we had the place to ourself. Good food, not bad in price. Worked well.

            Pipa worked well enough in 2004 that we are still together. Tapas is a good date.

            La Gioconda (53rd btw. 2nd and 3rd) was also a good repeat spot for first dates that worked for me more than once.

            When I had a date coming into or out of Grand Central for work, I went to the Oyster Bar. I commuted for a while and met some commuters and reverse commuters.

            And, although the food is not awesome, I loved taking women to Trattoria Pesce & Pasta on Bleeker, and from there going for coffee, etc. at Bruno or Rocco's closer to 6th Ave. Worked many times.

          2. I second Cornelia Street Cafe.

            1. Are there any spots near Midtown that are good date spots that serves French?

              1. I suggest a pre-dinner drink at Angel's Share in the EV - very intimate and romantic. If all goes well, Go to Danal, on 10th st.

                2 Replies
                  1. re: roze

                    Somebody else asked that recently. I just called their number and they're open.

                1. I think tapas makes a nice date; if you are feeling shy at first you can just talk about the tapas for a while until the sangria kicks in. Here's a nice tapas rundown:
                  http://www.chowhound.com/topics/233991

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: melon

                    I agree with the tapas rec. Check out Alta on 10th St off 6th Ave. Sangria packs a punch!

                    1. re: a_and_w

                      I think that tapas makes a nice date, just not a nice first date. When I was dating, I wouldn't really have been into sharing food with someone that I barely knew. I think it's a little awkward.

                  2. I would add 'ino to the list. It's on Bedford in the W. village. Tiny, cozy, romantic - the menu is limited - paninos, bruschetta and cheese - and an all italian wine list. get the Truffled egg toast. Your date will swoon.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: evoo

                      Not so fast.. When you get down to, em, business, you don't want four other people listening in, which is the biggest problem with 'Ino.

                      I agree with the small plates and wine idea. What about Inoteca, Ino's first cousin.

                      - Sean

                      1. re: Sean Dell

                        For $30 - $40 budget Inoteca sounds like a great idea. The dining room upstairs gets very noisy on Friday and Saturday nights though.

                    2. I always thought that Cha'an is a great first date spot for the people who appreciate fine desserts and Japanese food. I haven't been there for a while but the bento I had a year ago or so was almost as good as their pastries.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: maya_s

                        I haven't been to Cha'an, but speaking of Japanese restaurants, how about Soba Koh as a first date place? The atmosphere is quiet and civilized, they play excellent jazz on their sound system, the food is delicious and subtle, the service is gracious, and the room is elegant.

                        1. re: Pan

                          I went to Soba Koh last fall for the first time and I remember having nice meal. I liked the space too though I remember the tables were kind of close together? BTW, I passed by Cha'an last night and checked the menu, and found that they didn't have bento anymore...Please disregard my previous post.

                        2. re: maya_s

                          Gotta second Cha'an. But after dinner.

                          Here's a review of Cha'an I put up: http://foodabee.blogspot.com/2007/02/...

                        3. I think La Lunchonette, in Chelsea, is a great first date place. Very romantic; in an industrial section of Chelsea, but when you walk through the door you feel like you're walking into a farmhouse in the French countryside. Very good, if unadventurous, French bistro fare. Very well priced. Impresses your date since it's one of those "how'd you know about this place?" kinda place.

                          1. I recommend Garden Cafe in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. Very tiny... seats about maybe 20 people. Quiet, intimate, and sophisticated without being pretentious. I think the menu changes daily, and generally only has about 5 entrees to choose from. (I recall when I ate there one of the entrees was boar, so cuisine is somewhat inventive.) Run by a husband and wife team for about 15 years. He cooks, she serves. Along with Peter Luger's restaurant, Garden Cafe gets the highest food rating of any Brooklyn restaurant (28 out of a possible 30).

                            1. Check out Goblin Market for an amazing first date place that's a little loud (but definitely not too loud for a first date), great food, romantic and awesome!

                              Another review: http://foodabee.blogspot.com/2007/02/...