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Eloping. Where's the perfect place for dinner to follow?

My fiance and I will be married in downtown Manhattan on a Friday afternoon in August, just us, an officiant & a witness. We are looking for the perfect place for dinner to celebrate afterwards. It could be fancy, whimsical, lowbrow, in or out of the city - just interested to hear, where would you go if you were us?

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  1. Daniel is a great special occassion place. I also LOVE Chanterelle. Had the best meal of my life there. It's small and intimate, the service is great, and it definitely feels like a little jewel in this great city. Congrats on the marriage and have fun!

    1 Reply
    1. re: jenhen2

      Wonderful ideas - I've never been to either one but will check them out. Thanks!

    2. i'd go somewhere with longevity -- so you can go back to celebrate your anniversaries.

      you really have no cuisine preferences whatsoever?

      2 Replies
      1. re: cimui

        We love local/seasonal foods so were considering Blue Hill - but the one here in NYC feels too small/crowded, and Stone Barns is a bit of a trek. My fiance likes a little bit of kick - Southwestern/Mexican are his faves.

        1. re: lindsay10

          EMP and Per Se are very good restaurants with the potential for longevity, but they'are also sort of predictable as special occasion places. (Of the two, I personally find EMP more romantic.) Are you looking for something a little more off the beaten path?

          WD 50 is quirky and memorable, but some people hate the food. The tasting menu with wine pairing is a lot of fun (in my book).

          I think heading out to Stone Barns would feel special -- in part because of the trek.

          If you two met in nyc, consider going back to the restaurant where you had your first date. I would personally find a sentimental / symbolic hook and proceed from there.

      2. Best wishes to you! I'd go to Aureole, Bouley or Eleven Madison Park. All have wonderful food, service and decor. You will have a very special dinner.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ellenost

          I second Eleven Madison Park - my boyfriend and I recently celebrated an anniversary there, and the staff took such amazing care of us; it was an incredibly memorable and special meal - the setting, service, and food are all exceptional, in my inexperienced opinion.

        2. The modern in the MOMA is pretty special. You could have dinner in the formal dining room with a view of the sculpture garden. The service and the food are impeccable. If you mention that you just got married, you will probably get the best service ever!

          1 Reply
          1. re: cricri7

            I'm going to echo Eleven Madison Park (duck for 2) and The Modern. But I think I would almost go for a posh hotel with a view, a great bottle of Champagne from Sherry-Lehmann (vintage year you met?) and room service. And a huge cake. The champagne and cake you can repeat in future years to carry on a tradition. Have a great day!

          2. I have celebrated many special occasions with fabulous Manhattan dinners at Per Se, Daniel, Jean Georges, Gotham, Babbo, Le Berdanin and many others. For a very special occasion, I think Daniel does far and away the best job. A beautiful, serene setting with very kind service and absolutely amazing food.

            It has been about 5 years since I have been there, but I would recommend the table we sat at (I think they have a few that are similar), if they still have the room set up the the same way: we had a corner tables that had a tent-type structure arond it - it felt very private and lovely. Congratulations on your upcoming marriage!

            1 Reply
            1. re: jenny444

              Though the food at Daniel is superb, in no way would I describe the setting and ambiance as "serene." The decor is very fancy/schmancy, and when the dining room is full, there is a surprising amount of energy. On your list, Per Se and Jean Georges more closely fit that description, i.e., very low key elegance in both cases.

              As for service at Daniel, when we were there in October, there were several serious service faults. Though we have had excellent service previously, the fact that these problems did occur makes me hesitate recommending going there when the occasion is as special as this one.

            2. I'd go for Chanterelle. It's so elegant and serene, and so convenient to City Hall. Or is it the Municipal Building?

              1. If you're in the mood for steaks, Quality Meats would be fun. It's romantic and celebratory, but not over the top.

                Congrats on your marriage... I'm sure it will be a really fun day!

                1. Fun question...

                  -- if i wanted an elegant, nearby Italian meal, i'd go to Il Giglio.

                  -- if it was early enough in the afternoon, i might want to celebrate w/ oysters and wine at Balthazar, then go somewhere else afterward.

                  1. etas unis
                    the carriage house

                      1. I would take the "trek" to Blue Hll at Stone Barns. Its really an easy trip and a memorable meal and location.

                        1. One If By Land ... http://www.oneifbyland.com/ Dosen't get more romantic. Congrats!

                          7 Replies
                          1. re: chezfredo

                            so fun! Congratulations!! Being at City Hall with all the couples getting married is the cutest thing ever. Some people bring their own photographers just for the hour or so, which I think is a great idea, and probably affordable since its only for an hour.. just a thought...
                            Anyway, despite never actually eaten there, my instinct tells me to second Il Buco. It looks so intimate, and its supposed to be a chef favorite (read: really good food). Its local, Italian, and has good chese and wine lists... need more?

                            1. re: chezfredo

                              Acc. to reports, despite a change of chefs, OIBL's food has not significantly improved from its mediocre status. While it's nice to have a romantic setting, I think lindsay and her soon-to-husband should also have a memorable meal for this very special occasion. That combination can be achieved at many other restaurants.

                              1. re: chezfredo

                                I disagree. I think La Grenouille trumps OIBL and then some for romantic, plus the food is fabulous! That's where I would go. La Grenouille. ;>D

                                and Mazel Tov!

                                1. re: ChefJune

                                  Indeed. But - they are closed from Aug. 3 through after Labor Day.

                                  1. re: MMRuth

                                    Too bad!

                                    In that case, I would choose Tocqueville or the charming Gascogne.

                                    1. re: ChefJune

                                      As much as I like Gascogne, I would not choose it to celebrate such a major event. Not special enough, at least to me.

                              2. There have been some great reco's already I just wanted to add a congrats on the upcoming marriage.

                                1. Personally, I would go to PETER LUGER'S STEAK HOUSE in Brooklyn!!!

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: chicken kabob

                                    If they wanted Luger's they should have made reservations when he proposed!

                                    1. re: dnm3k

                                      No one mentioned the Rive cafe...it is supposed to be really romantic with the view of Manhattan. Never been there myself so I can't speak for the food.

                                      1. re: cricri7

                                        I've been to River Cafe and it is nice, but the food's not outstanding. My vote is still for Chanterelle.

                                  2. I would say first split an ice cream soda at The Soda Pop Shop on Chambers st. and get some candy, have a little fun be whimsical, maybe even a little "naughty'. Then get ready for a really romantic diner at River Cafe, One if By Land, or Water's Edge. I think on a day like this you'll be so happy even McDonald's would taste great. Have fun and enjoy

                                    1. Even though I've heard a couple of isolated reports about the service, I would say Bouley. It's intimate, romantic and near the courts. And the food is excellent as well.

                                      A lot of the other suggestions other posters have made are good as well. It all depends on what you're looking for.

                                      EMP -- wonderful food; would describe the atmosphere as being more grand as opposed to intimate
                                      Per Se -- one of the best restaurants in NYC; atmosphere is a bit more serene
                                      Daniel -- very nice decor as well; imagine being in a velvet-draped jewelry box
                                      Jean-Georges -- modern decor; not as intimate

                                      One thing I would NOT do is Le Bernardin. While I love the food there, I don't think the atmosphere is appropriate for a post-wedding celebration.


                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: Miss Needle

                                        Daniel -- Imagine being in the middle of the Acropolis with draperies.

                                        Jean Georges does have two tables for two set into small alcoves on either side of the dining room which are cozy and intimate. We were lucky to be seated in one of those, and it was quite romantic.

                                        I did not love the food at Le Bernardin. However, I agree 100% about the atmospherics. No matter how much they try to camouflage it, there's no getting away from the fact that you are dining in the lobby of an office building. Indeed, the antithesis of romatic!

                                        Agree with your descriptions of EMP and per se.

                                        1. re: RGR

                                          Acropolis? Actually, I can see your point. : )

                                      2. I'd go with Scallin Fedeli. Brilliant food, fabulous service- and enough distance from your neighbor to be romantic.

                                        1. The River Cafe for an unforgettable view and expereince or Blue Hill at Stone Barns in Westchester because it's flawless in all the right ways...

                                          1. Well, I'm certainly not a New Yorker, but being an aged foodie, I can't think of more than one or two NYC restaurants that have been there since I was in my twenties. And then you don't always know what the future will bring. You could be richer than Croesus in twenty years, or poorer than the proverbial church mice. I am a "veteran" of one elopement, and I know that the joy of the moment will make anywhere you go shine... Soooo, with an eye to the future joy of recapturing the moment in mind, are there any hot dog carts on street courners near the court house? Champagne and hot dogs on the courthouse steps has an effervescent romantic twist to it for me. Whatever you decide, happy wedding, happy life!

                                            1. easy. homestead inn in greenwich, connecticut.
                                              thomas henkelmann's food is outstanding. figure maybe 30-35 minutes by car (yours), metro north or limo. you might consider the limo given that you just got married and all.
                                              consider spending the night. not cheap but think of all the money you saved by eloping.


                                              much better than stone barns.

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: steve h.

                                                lindsay here. so this was my first-ever post to Chowhound - and just want to thank everyone for the fabulous suggestions! i am knocked over by all the kind congratulations and well-informed perspectives on special New York restaurants. thanks, and keep the ideas coming! ...

                                                1. re: lindsay10

                                                  Hi Lindsay -- Please let us know where you choose! I'm sure wherever you you, you'll have a great time.

                                              2. Lindsay10,
                                                I got married last friday in city hall and we went to Blue Hill for dinner that evening. It was the perfect end to a perfect day. The meal was superb, flawless, the location quiet and intimate. I am almost crying just thinking about it. Enjoy.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: abud

                                                  What about the upstairs at 21? It's an old style NYC place, will be there forever and it can feel very special and romantic. The service is great too

                                                  1. re: abud

                                                    abud, congratulations to you! so happy to your big day was so memorable. thanks for the note.

                                                  2. My husband and I eloped to City Hall exactly 6 years ago yesterday -- we went to Bouley afterwards and it was perfect. Enjoy!

                                                    1. Lindsay, where did you end up celebrating? Congratulations!

                                                      1 Reply
                                                      1. re: arugala

                                                        Sorry for the delay! Nick and I ultimately went to Eleven Madison Park and it was the best night of our lives. A gorgeous night in early August, and EMP treated us like royalty. Delicious champagne, perfect amuses-bouches between courses, perfectly cooked skate wing and lamb, excellent wine service - in fact, some of the best service I've ever had. Every member of the front-of-house staff stopped by at some point during our dinner to wish us congratulations, and said they were personally thrilled we'd chosen to celebrate there. What an experience! Thank you for all the suggestions, everyone.