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Which Restaurant is Best for a Romantic Celebration?

I've posted previously about coming from Philadelphia to stay in NYC for two days in February (15th and 16th). This is a celebration of many things, including 5 years of remission from cancer. Anyhow, I have taken some recommendations and done a lot of research from my Michelin NYC book and decided to go all out for dinner. I have narrowed it down to these 5 restaurants and would like opinions on which would be THE best place to go:

Annisa
Aureole
Bouley
Cru
Gotham Bar & Grill

They all get one star from Michelin with the exception of Bouley, which gets two. They all seem to be "relatively" the same price and all have price fixe and/or tasting menu's, with the exception of Gotham, which seems to be a la carte only. They all look beautiful, perhaps Bouley and Aureole the prettiest. I don't want stuffy and/or pretentious. I want a romantic dinner with fantastic food in a lovely setting that will compliment the beauty of my wife. I am leaning toward Bouley, then Aureole, then Gotham but am wide open to suggestions from people who have been to them. Thank you very much AGAIN for helping make this a very special trip. And yes, I will be calling on the 16th (a month in advance) to make a reservation somewhere.

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    1. I don't think Aureole is romantic at all....am I missing something? Food was pretty good, but it is bright and kind of old-school in not a pretty way. Felt like I was in the early 90's there.

      Cru was my favorite. I like that its downtown, so none of that upper-east stuffiness.

      Also had a great meal at Veritas recently, love that place. Also I agree with intrepid on Asiate, great views and very romantic.

      1. I will have to throw my vote to Bouley. The lighting, the decor, just the whole vibe has always said romantic to me, GF seems to think so as well.

        7 Replies
        1. re: Spiritchaser

          Keep the opinions comin'! And remember, where will we get the most memorable FOOD and where the atmosphere is romantic as well. A quick review of Asiate on other websites reveals many who feel the food is mediocre (gorgeous view yes). If I am going to spend this much money the food needs to be fantastic. Thanks again.

          1. re: Schpsychman

            I'm a big fan of Annisa, but it is romantic in a very modern, minimalist sort of way. And while I find the food memorable, others have not. Was a bit "eh" on Aureole, and haven't been to the others. The room at Gotham is beautiful, but it's been too long since I've been there to opine on the food.

            And, I'm not a fan of the Michelin guide generally.

            Edit - I just realized this sounds kind of negative - not meant to be, but to help you rule places out!

            1. re: MMRuth

              I have not been to Annisa but we walked by recently. My feelings are a bit stronger than MMRuth's - I did not find it romantic at all. The atmosphere is sophisticated and modern. I have been to Bouley and Aureole but too long ago to be helpful. That said, we returned to Bouley again but not Aureole. We went to Danube and the room is stunning, very romantic, plush. It's not top for food, IMO though other hounds may have different opinions. I would go back to Danube for cocktails or dessert. What about Degustation? It's not in the same league as Bouley. It's very good, 16 seats (bar seating), dark and intimate with an open kitchen. Chef was just in Food & Wine. I found it romantic. The service is attentive and formal (not like a Bouley, Aureole, Danube) but doesn't feel stuffy or pretentious.

              1. re: financialdistrictresident

                I guess I'm not so into the "romance aspect" generally - appreciate your POV - to me, just being w/ my husband is romantic, so I tend to not have a good take on those things. I agree about Danube's atmosphere though.

                1. re: MMRuth

                  MMRuth, I enjoy your posts and agree the WHO is always more important than the WHERE when it comes to romance. And as OP has reminded us all, without our health we can't enjoy all this delicious food!

                  Your take on Annisa is interesting. Like Cru, it's on my go to list. Maybe a reservation at Annisa will be easier to make. I've given up trying to make reservations at Lupa (have gift certificate) and L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon. Just realized Robuchon might also be another option for OP.

                  1. re: financialdistrictresident

                    Thanks! In terms of Lupa - the only times we've gone is on the weekend for lunch - making a last minute reservation the morning of, FWIW. I've always enjoyed my food there, though I think sometimes the service is a bit short of friendly. The Amatriciana (sp?) is amazing.

            2. re: Schpsychman

              The trappings at Bouley are romantic but it's the food you'll fall in love with...

          2. Gotham Bar & Grill gets my vote with Bouley close behind.

            4 Replies
            1. re: idia

              One if by land is VERY over rated , it's touted to be romantic, but it' was nothing special. In my opinion, I found it to not to be at all.

                1. re: GoddessofFood

                  It will be interesting in the next few months though... I thought I just read something about them getting a new chef, revamping their menu, etc. Though apparently the beef wellington will stay.

              1. re: idia

                Gotham Bar & Grill is much better in my opinion, and the service is tops by far

              2. You've picked two of my favorite restaurants: Aureole and Bouley. Both are wonderful and will meet all of your requirements. Congratulations on your 5 years of remission!