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Unique and Romantic B-day dinner for native New Yorker

OK, I want to take my BF out for a special dinner for his birthday this week, something that will wow him and thats not the norm and on the upscale side. However, he has lived in NY his whole life (he's 34) and has been to a lot of cool places. Plus, I'm trying not to break the bank since I'm a student.

I don't really have any boundaries in terms of food type...I'm open to any suggestions, he particularly likes anything spicy . As to neighborhood, would like to keep it downtown, but also open to going anywhere for the right place. Sorry for the non-specificness.

The only place I had in mind was Apizz...since I've read so many good things on this board...but anything else come to mind chowhounders???

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  1. Blaue Gans (Austrian food in tribeca) or Annisa

    BG is quaint and warm with great food and service.

    Annisa is great too, but will be a price point higher. People either groove to or just don't get their menu.

    If it were ME, BG would be a nice suprise and change from all the gimicky uniqueness and "sceney" stuff out there right now.

    1. Apizz is definitely romantically-lit and serves good food, arguably the best gnocchi dish in NYC (with wild boar ragu). You could definitely have a memorable meal there without breaking the bank. Also on the LES, I recommend The Orchard, another comfortably upscale restaurant by the same owners. Finally, you might want to look into Hearth, in the East Village: very romantic, rustic, and relaxed with friendly service and creative food and drinks.

        1. Blaue Gans has very good food but lately the prices have been raised to the point that it is way overpriced, IMO. It is also NOT romantic. Annisa is a good possibility. I would suggest Allen and Delancey but I doubt you will be able to get a res this week. Do a google search on Olana and see if it fits your budget. The food is wonderful. L'Impero is another possibility.

          2 Replies
          1. re: rrems

            rrems.....you're right about the BG not being so romantic. Now that I think about it I was more focused on an often overlooked option.

            1. re: thegreekone

              Wallse might be a nice option along the Blaue Gans line - more formal room etc.

          2. I think Degustation would be nice. It's Spanish inspired small plates restaurant. Decor is nice, dark, cozy and romantic. There's only bar seating -- but makes it seem more intimate. And the kitchen is in front of the bar so you can watch them prepare and assemble your meal right in front of you. It really makes you appreciate all the work that goes into the food.

            1 Reply
            1. Have you looked at Tabla? It's fusion Indian, but actually done well, unlike a lot of that genre. It's dark enough to be romantic and upscale, but wont' break the bank. (The three course tasting menu is $64.) Service has always been very pleasant when I've been. Tabla is on Madison Square Park.

              I'd also look into Spiga. It's not your normal Italian restaurant in that the chef is quite a lot more experimental than your average Giuseppe. Instead of the classic melon and prosciutto appetizer, for instance, he'll serve prosciutto with cantaloupe sorbet. The space is dark, cozy, and romantic, though not extremely fancy. Service is wonderful (if a little bit too chipper at times). Everything on the menu is good except for the fish, IMHO. It's small and neighborhoody enough that even someone who has dined at all the well known restaurants in NYC may not have dined, there. Spiga is on the UWS, in the 70s, near the 1 train.

              1 Reply
              1. re: cimui

                I'm definitely considering Tabla, I've been to the Bread Bar before, but it seems like the main dining room might be cozier. Plus the food is definitely unique.

                Allen and Delancy and Il Buco also look interesting. Thanks for all your suggestions...its really tough trying to impress someone who's seen it all!