HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >


Proposing in NYC!

  • d

Hi All

I am taking my girlfriend to NYC for St Patrick's day and Easter and plan to propose!
I have the ring all sorted but need some help picking a nice restaurant...

I have some family coming from NC to meet with us but they will only be in NY for 2 days and would be annoyed if I didn't do it while they were there to celebrate with us, so at the minute the plan is dinner for 6 on sat 15th - probably Italian.

I am after a nice place with good food that's not too expensive, not too busy or noisy where we can really enjoy the meal and the moment. I was thinking of having the waitress/waiter bring the ring out with the desserts so it needs to be somewhere where I could arrange something like this! I have read a few reviews on line and Lupa and River Cafe sound nice but maybe a little pricy after drinks are added in.

All ideas welcome
Alternative proposal ideas also very much appreciated!! :-)


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Honestly I think Giorgio's may fit the bill if you want someplace nice but not pricey with excellent food. and a romantic decor.


    1. I like Lupa a whole lot, but it's fairly noisy and usually busy and the table ar emore or less on top of each other.

      How about Perry Street? They have a 3 course lunch that's $24 with wines by the glass for $5, and a couple of bottles that are $20 each. So with the Euro on your side, that's like practically free! It's on the Hudson River. The table are fairly well spaced and the space is lovely in a minimalist kind of way. The food is fantastic. There's loads of posts on this board. Congrats and best of luck!

      1 Reply
      1. re: jasmurph

        Yeah euro to dollar is great at the minute!

      2. I want to add a vote to this idea - I don't think proposing in front of the parents is a great idea. It's one of the most personal moments you guys are going to share, and I'm sure she'll want to prepare herself to tell her parents anyway.

        As for Italian, where are you staying? There are a lot of great options depending on the neighborhood. Off-hand I'll recommend Il Buco (in NoHo), one of my favorites and very, very romantic, but a bit on the expensive side. In Midtown, how about Insieme?

        2 Replies
        1. re: cjd260

          Sorry, but I have to disagree. My DH proposed in front of my teenagers- he put the ring in a mussel. Now everytime I eat mussels, I look for the matching earrings. I vote family.
          Whatever restaurant you pick should be one that you can see yourself coming back to time and time again.
          The place my DH picked was not fancy. But it certainly was memorable.

          1. re: carfreeinla

            I have to say, as soon as I posted the above, my fiancee told me she disagreed with me as well. So, I stand corrected.

            But I still stand behind Il Buco!

        2. Folks - please do post with restaurant suggestions, but discussions about whether or not to propose in a restaurant are off topic for this board. There's been a recent lengthy discussion of that subject on the NAF board, for those who wish to discuss it.

          Thanks for helping us keep this board the focused resource that it is!

          1. Wooow thanks guys, wasnt expecting so many replies so soon!
            We are staying in Astoria with friends but the visiting family are staying east side so we will likely dine in the city! I'll check out some of these suggestions on line!

            Many thanks

            3 Replies
            1. re: Dec

              I love Lupa! Who would'nt? I say do it there...Mario Batali will be around forever (I think anyway), so let her remember what an amzaing meal as well! It can get pricey, but so what..we are the dollar, and you fortunately are on the euro..so this will be a "peasant meal" for you!! haa haa just kidding! Lupa is close together, but the food is fabulous!


              1. re: Angelina

                Lupa is one of my all-time favorites, but is extremely noisy, hectic, and cramped, not what this poster is looking for. Giorgio's probably fits the bill best. Insieme is great, but much more expensive than Lupa, which is nearly out of price range for the OP. Il Buco would be nice, but again, when I've been there the bill really adds up fast.

                1. re: ABT

                  I love Lupa too - but I also wouldn't want to be proposed to there.

            2. Po (West Village) or Crispo (Chelsea)

              1 Reply
              1. re: jthefoodie

                I second these suggestions. Also check out Malatesta, Da Andrea, and Piadina on the west side (all on the lower west side).

              2. Hey, Dec,

                As Angelina has pointed out, with the dollar to euro currently at $1.54!!!, anyplace you go in NYC will be an absolute *bargain* for you. With that in mind, I would highly recommend you consider L'Impero, on Tudor City Pl., b/t 42nd & 43rd Sts. (Note: That's the far Eastside, so *very* accessible from Astoria.) The contemporary Italian cuisine is delicious; there's an excellent wine list; service is friendly and capable; and the space has understated elegant decor and romantic ambiance. Ask that your party be seated on the upper level. In my view, L'Impero is a lovely place to celebrate a special occasion.


                I wish you and your intended fiancee a wonderful future together and Buon Apetito!

                2 Replies
                1. re: RGR

                  Thank you, a friend and newyorker also suggested L'Impero, the decor and atmosphere look nice but other reviews I've read online say it can be hit and miss unless you are a regular?

                  1. re: Dec


                    We've been to L'Impero a sum total of three times, so that hardly makes us regulars. The two most recent took place in August and October, which was after Chef Michael White took over the kitchen from Scott Conant. While the meal we had while Conant was there was excellent, I think Chef White's food is even better. In a word: Superb! As far as service is concerned, it was first-rate each time. So, if you choose it, I don't think you need worry about being a first-timer, especially if you alert them to the fact that this will be a *very* special occasion.

                    I see you are considering Giorgio's. It does have nice ambiance, and the food's very good though, in my view, not at L'Impero's level.

                2. I'm having a hard time believing that no one here has suggested Once if By Land yet. I know the food used to be not that great, but the new chef has supposedly turned the kitchen around a bit. It's still considered by many to be the most romantic restaurant in NYC.

                  L'Impero is also nice, but it may be a little too quiet. Personally, I'd rather not have the entire restaurant hear me pop the question.

                  How about somewhere more like Il Buco? Declan, there are so many choices that would work, and with the weak dollar you can get a lot more meal for your money. I almost feel like Lupa and Malatesta aren't quite special enough for a proposal.

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: egit

                    I second Giorgio's of Gramercy. Wherever you go, make sure to call ahead and let them know your plan and that you want the coziest table in the house, etc. I'm sure any place would be delighted to accomodate. Congrats!

                    I'd also go for Babbo, but you have to call a month ahead to the day. And it's not cheap, but you can eat for not TOO $$.

                    I heard that One If By Land has gone way downhill.

                    1. re: Jel212

                      My newyorker friend has also told me that One if by Land has several proposals per night and I don't want ours to be just another one!

                      Giorgio's are in the running, it looks nice and wont break the bank! Thx

                    2. re: egit


                      We have been to L'Impero several times, and it is very far from tomb-like.

                      As for OIBL, first off, Dec is looking for Italian, and OIBL is French/American. Second, with regard to the food's quality, posts on this board from those who have been there since the new chef arrived indicate that while it has changed somewhat for the better, there is still a good deal of room for improvement.

                      1. re: RGR

                        I agree completely. L'Impero is a great choice for food and ambience, and OIBL is still an uncertainty.

                        1. re: RGR

                          I stand corrected. I didn't read the OP carefully enough about the Italian preference. Also, I hadn't noticed anyone on CH talking about OIBL and the food quality. Thank you for the information on the less-than-glowing food reports.

                          I don't think L'Impero is sepulchural, by any means. I've been there twice, both times early in the week, and maybe they were just slow/quiet nights. Then again, maybe I'm going deaf, because I think the sound volume at A Voce is fine.

                          1. re: egit

                            LOL! Seems that you are aware from my previous comments that the reason we've not gone back to A Voce after our first dinner there is that we found the sound level to be insanely high. So if you aren't deaf when you arrive, that's certainly a hazard by the time you leave. :-))

                            As for L'Impero, our last visit there was midweek. It was quite busy, and there was a fair buzz though not an uncomfortable one for us since we were seated along the back wall on the upper level.

                            Re: OIBL. Here are two threads you might want to look at:


                          2. re: RGR

                            to quote: "all ideas welcome."

                          3. re: egit

                            When we dated, my husband, then boyfriend, took me to One If By Land... and while it was a fun place, I was relieved he did not propose there, I felt it would have been way too predictable... Just a personal preference, I guess, but I would rather be proposed to in a (really good) restaurant, that is not known as the "place to pop the question"

                          4. I also think Giorgio's of Gramercy would be a good place and agree with the others that Lupa isn't the right mood. Crispo may be an option and my parents loved it, but they did think it was a little loud.

                            1. Declan,

                              2 others to consider are Vice Versa, on West 51st, and Olana, on Madison and 28th. Both are elegant, comfortable and not noisy. Main courses at both are in the $25 range. Vice Versa is Italian, while Olana is more a mixture of contemporary American and Italian. Both have excellent food, and particularly good desserts.

                              1. How about the patio at i Coppi in the East Village? See the photos under the "Who We Are" link: http://www.icoppinyc.com/index2.htm

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: Dave Feldman

                                  Everyone - thanks for your opinions and suggestions, it has been a great help so far in narrowing down a short list of possibilities....

                                  L'Impero, Giorgio's, il Buco, PO, Vice Versa and Maltesta

                                  They look to most suitable in respect to the setting, ambience, menu and price! I would love to say I've been to Lupa but think maybe its just not right for this occassion so maybe another time!

                                  Has anyone been to il Cantinori, The Little Owl or Allen&Delancey?
                                  My friend has also recommended these!

                                  You are obviously all very passionate about your food, which is great, I am new to this site and signed up on the off chance I might get a few replies but the response has been great, I'd like to compliment you all on such a friendly and informative site!


                                  1. re: Dec

                                    Allen & Delancy is probably too much of a "scene." I love Malatesta, but please don't choose that as a place to propose. It's very informal. It's a cute place, but it's really more of a neighborhood spot or a place you'd go for a birthday if everyone's watching their budget, pre/post theater, etc. Hopefully you'll be here for a few days and can go there for dinner one night. But as a place to propose I would choose one of the others on your list. I would lean towards Il Buco or L'Impero. I've never been to Giorgio's, so I can't comment on that.

                                    1. re: Dec

                                      Little Owl and Allen & Delancey both have great food, but LO is too small and cramped, and A & D is noisy and I find the chairs a bit uncomfortable. Save these for another occasion. Il Cantinori gets very mixed reviews, with some saying it has gone downhill, but I have never been there so I can't say who is right.

                                  2. There is a place called Pilipe Marie that has a private room for 2 near the wine cellar. It is supposed to mucho romantico

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: jp62

                                      Acc. to Dec's original post, there will be 6 people at this proposal dinner, so a private room for two is out. Furthermore, we ate at Philip Marie once, and the food was nothing special.

                                      1. re: RGR

                                        Food-wise I adore Po but it's a really crowded together space-- and will seem even more so to non New Yorkers. . While in the evening it is certainly romantic enough for a date, it's really not a "proposal" type place. Also- getting a table for six there could be difficult.

                                        Congratulations. on the proposal!

                                    2. Just thought I'd drop by and update everyone on how the proposal went!

                                      I booked Giorgio's in Gramercy and I have to say it was a great choice, I got in touch with the owner Sascha via their web site, he and all the staff were fabulous. I told them what I had planned and they were only too happy to assist, I think they were just as excited as I was. The restaurant had a nice intimate and friendly atmosphere, not too busy or noisy, we had a nice round table towards the rear. I arranged with Sascha to have my proposal typed up in the style of their dessert menu and he was more than happy to do so, infact he even did it in irish on the left and english on the right, it was presented in the leather wallet that the menu would normally be in which we were allowed to keep as a momento.

                                      As Deirdre read the menu and seen her name at the top, she turned with a puzzled look on her face wondering what was going on at which point I got down on my knee and asked the big question... she said yes of course! There was a round of applause from the rest of the dinners and many came to congratulate us including some nice ladies who were visiting from Scotland!

                                      As for the food it was beautiful and very reasonably priced, the macarroni cheese and lamb shank were fab and the porterhouse was just huge and very tasty! Regretably, we were all too caught up with the excitement to order desserts, really wish we had but they brought us some chocolate coated strawberries with the complimentary champagne! There was also a couple celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary who the waitress invited over to have a toast with us!

                                      It was a very special night and everything went just how I had planned and imagined. Everyone at Giorgio's were great, I cant thank them enough, I would high recommend Girgio's for a special occassion and will definately revisit it next time we are in NYC to relive the memory!

                                      Thanks everyone for your comments and reccomendations!

                                      6 Replies
                                      1. re: Dec

                                        Thanks for reporting back. I'm glad the recommendation worked out. And, Congratulations!

                                        1. re: Dec

                                          That is a wondeful story.

                                          1. re: Dec


                                            Thanks for reporting back. I'm very glad to hear that it worked out so perfectly!

                                            Best wishes to both of you. :-)

                                            1. re: Dec

                                              How fantastic! Thanks for sharing your beautiful story : )

                                              1. re: Dec

                                                What a sweet story!
                                                I really recommend Giorgio's for special occasions too. Was there the first time for a 20+ people surprise birthday dinner and service was really attentive and super accomodating, which is way more than you can say for a lot of places.

                                                1. re: Dec

                                                  Thanks for sharing your story! Congratulations! Wishing you and your bride many happy years together!

                                                2. Il Giglio in Tribeca...a little pricey, but romantic and wonderful, and the staff will surely be supportive