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First Wedding Anniversary Dinner - visiting from DC

We'll be in NYC for our 1 year anniversary over Memorial Day weekend and want to go somewhere special. I've asked some friends who have recommended DavidBourke&Donatella, Jean Georges, and Le Cirque (we've been to the one in Vegas). Just wanted to see if any Manhattan ChowHounds had other suggestions/comments. We like good food, are willing to spend some moeny, and want a romantic atmosphere, but don't want a place with a $250 pp 9+ course tasting menu.
Thank you in advance for your suggestions.

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  1. I love davidburke & donatella. They have an amazing shortrib dish & I've had excellent meals everytime. If you go there, be sure to request a perimeter table (better yet the 1/2 circle booths for 2 which is romantic) because the middle tables are close together and not so intimate.

    I also love Union Square Cafe & Cafe Gray.

    3 Replies
    1. re: downtownstefanie

      Thanks. Going to Cafe Gray when I'm up there in a few weeks. And my folks are treating--even better!

      1. re: KWynn

        At Cafe Gray, ask for a table by the mirrors, so you can get a little bit of a view of Central Park, as well as seeing the cooks prep.

      2. oh the only thing i was disappointed with at db&d was my apple tart dessert. It was nothing special.

        1. I must say that after hearing incredible things abotu David Burke, I went there and was disappointed. The service was below average and I felt like the tables in the dining room were on top of one another. The food was good, but based on what I had heard, I expected better. For your anniversary, I think that Jean Georges, Le Bernardin, or Daniel would all be outstanding choices. I am sure you can see their menus on www.menupages.com if you are interested. What do others think of those three suggestions?

          2 Replies
          1. re: jrazzle

            The three restaurants you suggested are worlds better than DB&D.

            DB has lost a lot of credibility since he came out with these:

            Worse than doing an Applebee's commercial.

            He's well on his way to becoming the next Rocco.

            1. re: CornflakeGirl

              Although I'm a DB fan, that is hysterical, Cornflake!!! Those sprays are HEINOUS!

          2. Someone just recommended Little Owl to us as well. Anyone have any comments on that place? Thanks.

            2 Replies
            1. re: KWynn

              It's a bit more casual than Jean Georges and Le Cirque. Totally different from the restaurants you have listed.

              1. re: KWynn

                I really like Little Owl--great food and good service. Some might consider it romantic because it is cozy and dimly lit, but it is also very casual and very cramped.

              2. If you're looking for something uber romantic AND in the most charmingly romantic nabe in town, check out: One if by Land, Two if by Sea. The food is good here, but it's really all about the location, service and atmosphere.

                2 Replies
                1. re: LFeinberg

                  It's old romance and charming, but the food isn't that good, especially for the price. in my opinion, there are MUCH better restaurants for food, value and romance. I think many people on here have found it to be subpar..

                  1. re: LFeinberg

                    The food at OIBLTIBS isn't very good and to add insult the prices are high. Avoid.

                    If you want to experience the atmosphere stop by to have a drink at the bar.

                    1. Congratulations first of all! My suggestion can only be one place. My husband and I go for our anniversary EVERY year! Daniel. It's not inexpensive, but the service is perfect, the food is delicious, and we always feel special when we leave. If they know it's your anniversary they will give you champagne as well (don't know if you'd rather be incognito!). I will give you a brief example of the service.. my husband forgot his glasses to read the wine list (more like a wine book) and a passing waiter heard him and unbeknownst to us sent over the maitre'd with a lovely box with every magnitude of reading glasses. We were shocked anyone even heard us let alone did something to assist. We love that place!

                      1. If you get a drink at One if By Land Two if By Seas on Barrow Street then the perfect romantic dinner is just a few doors down. Try Annisa and you won't be disappointed. Simplicity of decor meets great food meets stellar service. Check out this post for a full review - http://www.eddybles.com/annisa-restau...

                        1. Little Owl is a bit too casual and loud for an anniversary dinner and the wine choices are sort of limited. Don't get me wrong, it is a great place, just not right for a romantic atmosphere. What is the best dinner you've had in DC - your wife's favorite restaurant? I lived in DC for a while and ate pretty well, so I might be able to make a more detailed suggestion.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Westrite

                            First off, I'm the wife. :)
                            We've lived in DC almost 3 years now but haven't been to too many "special occasion" restaurants around here. We got engaged at Keswick Hall (right outside Charlottesville, VA) and had an amazing meal at the Inn to celebrate. Also enjoyed our many meals on our honeymoon at the One & Only Palmilla in Los Cabos, Mexico.
                            We haven't had any phenomenal (i.e. Top 5) meals in DC, but some of our favorite restaurants here include the usual suspects: Ten Penh, DC Coast, Kinkead's, Zengo. Also had a great experience at Galileo for lunch during restaurant week, amazingly enough. Still want to try Minibar (at Cafe Atlantico), CityZen, Citronnelle, and 2941.
                            Oh, and several years ago my husband went to the Inn at Little Washington, but says it wasn't worth the hype.

                            1. re: KWynn

                              Oh, my apologies! I thought that was the husband talking!

                              You know another place you might want to add to your list in DC is Palena in Cleveland Park. I actually recall having some of the best meals in the last ten years at that restaurant. I loved everything about it. Elegant service and just thoughtful flavor combinations. It's location next to a gas station requires you to have some selective vision, but I promise you it is very good.

                              It's been said before, but worth repeating again, 11 Madison Park really is a beautiful spot. We just had a big birthday dinner there and everything about it was simply elegant. We ended up spending about $350 with the 3-course meal and a wonderful, thoughtfully chosen bottle of wine. We had the muscovy duck and I thought it was perfect. Some people think it feels a little corporate, but really, I disagree. And sure there are some power tables at 11 Madison, but when you are tucked in the corner the place feels really intimate. You just can't go wrong.

                              Maybe another suggestion - Wallse? Annisa I think is also a lovely spot, and Daniel, too. I'd think about The Modern, in MOMA, too. Very elegant, wonderful wine list. For me, Le Cirque and JGV and David Burke are all really nice places, but if you've already been to Le Cirque then why go again? And David Burke is in sort of a blah area of town on the UES and is a great place to go with in-laws but not a first anniversary spot, in my opinion. If my hand was to the fire and I had to choose one of those I'd happily go with JGV. But give a good look to Daniel, 11 Madison, The Modern, Annisa and Wallse. And Happy Anniversary!

                          2. Hi KWynn,

                            I agree with LFeinberg on The River Cafe. Since you are coming over Memorial Day weekend the weather should be nice enough so that you can sit outside, overlooking brooklyn bright and the river for the dinner. Can't really get much more romantic than this!

                            Another place that I like is Eleven Madison Park. There are seats inside (not in the main dinning area) where couples can sit quietly and talk intimately.

                            Lastly Bouley is always a great place for celebration. there are almost always someone / some couples celebrating anniversary there!

                            Regardless of your final choice, make sure you tell the restaurant that you are there for anniversary celebration. You will never know what surprise you will get!

                            1. I thought Gascoyne was lovely and romantic... the courtyard was fantastic lit with candles... it was so romantic that hubby proposed there. the food was wonderful, staff were great.