Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >
Aug 19, 2008 08:54 AM

Foodie GF B-Day Coming Up

Hey all, my girlfriends Birthday is coming up and I would like to find the perfect place for dinner. She is kind of a foodie where I am not. I am looking for someplace that will cozy and romantic but definitely not a "scene". Maybe someplace with a tasting menu or tapas. Money isn't a huge concern but we are not talking about a LeBernadin or Per Se type of budget, a wine list that won't kill my wallet would be nice. It is really all about the food. Preferably something in the East or West Village with great service. The type of cuisine doesn't really matter.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Alta is a great, cozy tapas place that I love and think is good for dates. I also really enjoy Cacio e Vino, on 2nd ave beteween 4th and 5th - it's one of my favorite Italian in the city and I think it's underrated - whole kitchen staff is Sicilian, everyone speaks Italian and its a cozy little authentic place. I went to The Orchard for my birthday which is a little more upscale but still not too expensive and also thought it was delicious and had a great ambience.

    2 Replies
    1. re: faithiepie

      i'm delighted to see someone besides me recommending Cacio e Vino...i haven't been there in a while because i've been out of town, but i had several lovely meals there last year...i agree that it's very underrated and often overlooked, and i think the Sicilian dishes really set it apart from the other Italian places in the a bday dinner option for the OP, it may be slightly on casual side, but with a cozy table and a great bottle of wine (they have an interesting list and give great recs) it could do the trick...

      Another option is Il Giglio (my other Italian fav that's often neglected here)'s elegant old-school Italian...the food is not as intriguing as Cacio e Vino, as it's more standards like shrimp fra diavolo, etc, but it's a great place for a bday dinner, the gratis antipasti are yummy, and the wine list is excellent) Tribeca...

      1. re: faithiepie

        yep, Alta popped into my mind immediately. i have had a lot of fun, romantic dinners there w/my hubby and also in groups. tons of great tapas. it is lovely and definitely a great date place. also check out Peasant on lower eastside. both take reservations. also agree with Faithiepie abt Cacio e Vino and The Orchard, though it is not as much fun as the others imho.

      2. I think Degustation would be perfect. 5 or 10 course tasting or order small plates a la carte. Great wine list. Do a search on this board, there are many posts about it.

        10 Replies
        1. re: rrems

          Agree an awesome suggestion but have been there already. Anything similiar you could recommend?

          1. re: nychokie

            I have not personally been there, but Allen & Delancey sounds to me like it might fit what you're looking for. Supposed to be very romantic inside, pedigreed chef, overall has gotten positive press. It is definitely on my radar screen for an occasion like you're talking about. If anyone else reading this post has actually been there, I'd be curious to hear what you think.

            1. re: jonasblank

              I'm going through the same thing - (just put up a post actually) - debating between Allen & Delancey and Dell'anima. Leaning toward A&D, I think.

              1. re: AlwaysUpperWest

                Hi AlwaysUpperWest,

                I saw your post and I think for your case, A&D is more appropriate as I won't really consider the vibe of Dell'anima romantic on its own. It is small and cozy but can get really crowded and noisy at peak hours. Though if you like to watch the chef preparing your food at the counter and focus mainly on your date and the food (and ignore the rest of the world), then it can be romantic (both of you sort of need to create it...)

                nychokie, I think A&D is great for romantic dinner, though my question to you is whether you are adventurous in your dining. A lot of the dishes that A&D excel involve offals or meat. Simpler dishes like fish are their strong area. Since you mentioned that you are not a foodie, will that work for you?

                1. re: kobetobiko

                  Don't confuse my not being a foodie with me not willing to eat everything and anything :)

                2. re: AlwaysUpperWest

                  Dell'anima is always so packed and cramped. I wanted by last night at 10:30--sardines!

            2. re: rrems

              I agree. It's a really nice bargain for the quality of food you get.

              1. re: erin07nyc

                Any suggestions similar to Degustation in which they serve a tasting menu and allow you to watch the food being prepared?

                1. re: nychokie

                  You can do this at Momofuku Ko and L'Atelier Robuchon. I haven't been to either. There's also a chef's table at Hearth where you can watch the action.

                  1. re: Lucia

                    Hearth does not have a chef's table. Rather, it's 4 seats at The Pass, a small counter directly in front of the kitchen area. I'm not sure if they take reservations for those seats.

                    It's not a full meal, but ChikaLicious has seating at a counter where you can watch Chika and her assistant prepare your dessert tasting.