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PLEASE HELP! Looking for most romantic NYC restaurant...

Hey Chow hounds!

My boyfriend's birthday is coming up, and I am looking for a "WOW" effect... Most people seem to vote One if by land two if by sea as most romantic, but i am looking for something not so traditional. Im envisioning dim candle lit, awe-inspiring decor... Intimate outdoor garden would be amazing, but not neccesary. Something not TOO stuffy, as we are both in our early to mid twenties... More on the hip side. The attribute could be anything from the architecture, to the view, to the overall experience, anything that is fun and memorable.
-Price isnt really an issue, Im willing to spend money for the perfect ambiance, And I am open to different cuisine, excluding sushi as he isnt a fan. SUGGESTIONS PLEASE!!

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  1. dude...go a few doors down from that craphole one if by land...


    2 Replies
    1. re: sam1

      I would also suggest Annisa.

      1. re: sam1

        YES! I went to Annisa last year with my mother and future sister-in-law (not a romantic group exactly I must say) and I thought the ambiance and the food was incredible. Everything has a nice, candlelight glow to it. The restaurant has soft colors and its very intimate. And the food is really delicious. I think this is exactly what you are looking for.

        If you go make sure to get the soup dumpling appetizer. I still dream about them!!

      2. My favourite is Danube on Hudson Street. Its very romantic but not too 'hip'. If memory serves me right, I think the ceilings were covered in Venetian stucco, the walls were covered by impressive paintings and the tall arched windows were elegently draped. A real candle adorned every table too!. I had a 5 or 6?! course tasting menu when I last visited and thoroughly enjoyed it. For a Michelin 2 stars, it was very reasonably priced too!
        Annisa per sam1's recommendation was pretty good too. However, I found the contemporary decor just a little bit bland.
        You might also like to check out March and JoJo.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Charles Yu

          March no longer exists. Chef Wayne Nish closed it, revamped the menu into something less upscale, and re-opened it as the eponymously re-named Nish.

          1. re: RGR

            Their lovely, romantic garden still exists, however, and the food is just as good as ever, just not so pricy!

            The garden at Gascogne on 8th Ave at 18th street is really lovely this time of year, and also the garden at Provence on MacDougal Street... and the food's good, too!

        2. The outdoor seating at L'Imperio cannot be beat. The indoor seating is also beautiful. They just had a kitchen change and the food is just as fabulous as it always was. Maybe stop by and make the reservation so you can choose between the indoor or outdoor.

          1 Reply
          1. re: debraksolomon

            I thought of L'Impero, but since the departure of Chef Scott Conant, I've been hesitant about recommending it until I've had a chance to go there again. So, it's good to hear that the food remains excellent. It will be interesting to see how things develop after incoming Chef Michael White installs his own menu, though I'm not sure when that will happen.

            I agree that the ambiance both indoors and on the small, charming terrace is romantic. As regards reservations, when we were there, we were told that they do not accept them for the terrace.

          2. If you're going for view, the River Cafe in Brooklyn Heights / DUMBO is hard to beat. Request a window table and you're sitting over the water, right under the Brooklyn Bridge. It's about as "Wow Effect" as you'll find in this city. Try to time your reservation so sunset will occur during dinner, then you get the twinkling lights of Manhattan as evening sets in... that's about as ideal as it gets. You'll feel like you're in a Woody Allen film.

            As to the rest, the food ain't half bad - it was very, very good in fact the last time I was there (about six months ago) - but it's not, say, Le Bernadin or anything.

            OIBL is a bit overrated, I think. And definitely NOT hip.

            One other suggestion, if price really IS not an issue.... MASA. Get a seat at the bar and let Chef Masa do his thing for you. You want awe-inspiring? You won't be able to take your eyes off the meal to even bother looking at the decor...

            1 Reply
            1. re: sgordon

              Went to River Cafe recently. Agree with sgordon and kobetobiko comments re: food (very, very good but not on the "bleeding edge"). Service was flawless, we had a table by the window. When you walk in the aroma of fresh flowers greets you. Very romantic, quiet. Piano music . . .As a reminder, jackets are required!

            2. I agree with sgordon about River Cafe. It is really hard to beat the view of Brooklyn Bridge all lighted up across the river. Wouldn't consider the food as mind blowing but it is certainly great and consistent (My latest trip there was about 3 months ago). Service was impeccable.

              Within Manhattan, I often suggest Bouely for romantic occasions. Not as stuffy as Per Se or Le Bernerdain, but definitely a fine-dining experience with more "refined" service. Annisa, IMO, has romantic decor, but the food is definitely a notch lower than Bouley.

              6 Replies
              1. re: kobetobiko

                Thanks for all the suggestions... Annisa doesnt seem too exciting to me, I checked out the ONE picture they have on the site and the decor seems a bit boring... Has anyone been to the restaurant on the top floor of the Mandarin Oriental (the name escapes me) but I remember the views are supposed to be spectacular. Any Input ??

                Also, For my birthday a couple years ago I was taken to Casa Le Femme... The private candle lit tent was great, -Something with this feel would be cool too...

                1. re: ChristineG

                  That would be Asiate in the Mandarin Oriental; not the top floor (as I also thought), but around the 35th (where the main lobby and spa are). We were there just last month: yes, wonderful views, but I'd have to agree with Amanda Hesser's controversial one-star NYT rating. Others in our party fared better than I did and ranked it quite a bit higher; I can go into more detail if you decide to go.

                  1. re: Andy T.

                    Yes that seems too be the consensus, Great views... sub par food...

                    Im now leaning towards the River Cafe... What do you guys think?

                    1. re: ChristineG

                      I'd definitely recommend River Cafe. The view is not to be missed. Granted, I was only there for brunch, but I really enjoyed the food.

                      1. re: ChristineG

                        Well if you are going for romance I hear this is the spot! This is where my brother and his fiancee celebrated their engagement. It has some of the best views in the city and from what I hear the food also holds up.

                    2. re: ChristineG

                      the website doesnt convey it well but its a beautiful intimate room...the tables for two, you sit next to each other and while its weird at first, you face the other diners opposite you. but you look at eat other and enjoy the food.

                      i thought the place ruled...the service was perfect...very informative and friendly but not overbearing or stuffy...kind of like veritas. the tasting menu was delicious...foie gras with soup dumplings...

                  2. river cafe in brooklyn, right on the water. just under the brooklyn br.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: adrouault

                      This is what we had:

                      *champagne toast
                      *Forgot what the amuse was . . .
                      *sauteed hudson valley foie gras caramelized ruby red grapefruit, brioche French toast, sicilian pistachios & Banylus wine reduction
                      *Crispy Pacific oysters wrapped with smoked salmon, oestra caviar, sorrel, fine herb remoulade
                      *Scottish salmon crushed pumpkin seed crust, creamy lentils with Black Forest Bacon roasted parsnips and violet mustard sauce
                      *Black sea bass, poached artichokes preserved lemon vinaigrette, artichoke raviolini, marinated oven dried tomatoes
                      *Apple upside down cake almond crumble, granny smith sorbet (loved this!), dulce de leche ice cream, basil syrup
                      *chocolate sticky toffee cake pistachio ice cream sandwiched between dark chocolate cookies, butterscotch sauce, whipped cream

                      A bottle of Muga rioja 2001

                      Enjoy if this is where you decide to go!

                    2. The View is a restaurant at the top of the Marriott in Times Square. It is a revolving restaurant that takes a little over an hour to complete the 360.

                      The food was not bad but nothing to write home about. However, the atmosphere (very romantic) and the view is pretty impressive.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: kelea

                        Agree DO NOT eat at The View restaurant. The top of the Marriott has a good bar area for drinks or coffee (it revolves). They used to have a value buffet that was a great deal. And you don't even want to go near the place on weekends.

                      2. Town
                        Buddakan(The Grand Hall)
                        The Modern
                        Eleven Madison Park

                        1. I was doing this same sort of search a few months back but for an anniversary. One if by land a lot of people suggested but I just don't see how it's romantic, you're looking for basically the same sort of thing I was looking for. Despite a few negative reviews I went to two places that turned out to be absolutely wonderful and a bit cheaper than most of the places that're raved about on here.

                          I Coppi:
                          Amazing food- I highly reccommend the boar, great service, good prices. The restaurant is definitly romantic and they do have an outside garden in the back that is beautiful. I definitly think this is a good place to go for what you're looking for. http://www.icoppinyc.com/html/index2.htm

                          The Place:
                          Good food, good service, and good prices. It doesn't have a garden or terrace or anything, and a tiny bit more stuffy than I Coppi, but it definitly has more of the dim candle lit romance effect. http://www.menupages.com/restaurantde...

                          Chances are my girlfriend and I are younger than you and we didn't find either of these places too stuffy at all. For a romantic dinner these places are perfect because they're small, they're not massive restaurants that everyone knows about, they quiet, personalized intimate restaurants where you can actually enjoy the company of your date and not the company of your date as well as everyone else's. Good luck with your search.

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: hungry_fox

                            I wanted to take my boyfriend on a romantic, delicious dinner around the holidays this past year when we were in NYC for vacation and my brother---and few other people---suggested The Place.

                            I was very excited and thought it would be a nice gift. I was exstremly disappointing. It was quite romantic---very quaint, especially in the winter time with the multiple fire places etc and we loved its location to walk around afterwards. But I thought the food was very, very disappointing. It wasn't terrible but it also wasn't cheap so I was expecting a lot more from the reviews I had read. I can't remember exactly what we had but neither of our courses blew us away. And I left a little upset for paying over $100 for a dinner that was just ok.

                            I wouldn't recommend it for what you are looking for. There are other suggestions on this board (Town, Anissa, River Cafe) that are much better and exactly what you are looking for.

                            1. re: hungry_fox

                              I Coppi is romantic, even though it's not really a WOW place.
                              I have only been to I Coppi for brunch (a great value at $15 and in that lovely garden!) until recently. Pylos had a 1 hour wait (without reservations) so we wandered around and decided on I Coppi. No availability in the garden so we ate in the lovely front room by the windows. Service is relaxed, more European (so if you are in a hurry this might not be the place for you). For app. we had the grilled Tuscan bread w/melted Taleggio cheese & figs served with baby arugula salad. Please note, their bread basket is nothing special (but is served with a decent olive oil). Entrees were ravioli stuffed w/gorgonzola & ears in a creamy mushroom sauce and Livornese style shell fish stew served with garlic bread. We finished w/espresso and fig gelati. Everything was delicious.