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Jan 28, 2009 08:31 AM

Trendy/Cozy Date for 25 year olds - newly dating!

Hi everyone!

Sooo, I really need some help. I'm newly divorced (yup, at 25!) and started dating another 25 y/o divorcee. Its my turn to plan date night and I know NOTHING!

I want to take him to a trendy but comfortable place with a great atmosphere. The food should be really good too, but I'm a little more concerned with the decor, etc. Just want a nice, fun, good dinner spot where we can enjoy some wine and great food. not too much to ask for right? haha

Any recommendations for a cool restaurant in Manhattan (preferable not upper west side, its impossible to get to) to take my boy to??

We like all kinds of food and are exploring different kinds of wine. aaaaah, please help!


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  1. well....your request is a little broad, so I'll just focus on the LES - it's young, fun, too trendy, and there is great food to be had.

    Bondi Road - seafood shack style menu but cool decor. no reservations
    Macondo - by the same people who did rayuela. snag the bar stools in the front window for sidewalk people watching.
    apizz - has great food and is quite romantic
    'inoteca - italian, good food, good wine, reasonable prices
    momofuku ssam - ok, ok, a little north to be considered true LES but great food and david chang is certainly trendy, and deservedly so; be sure to head through the back afterwards into the newish momofuku milk bar for dessert. no reservations here so be prepared to wait.

    hope this helps!

    3 Replies
    1. re: EBT

      For the sound of this request, i'd go with 'inoteca. Straight-forward, good atmosphere, excellent fare and prices.

      1. re: silencespeak

        Third 'inoteca. And freedom82, don't worry about not understanding the menu. I've always had excellent service there. By the way, though they do have other stuff, their panini are excellent.

        Off-topic, but kudos for taking charge and planning a date!

        1. re: silencespeak

          I agree. The basement is more cozy romantic, but they might stick you at a long table with other couples. Not a lot of privacy. Just a warning in case they offer to seat you there. Prices are very reasonable and after you can go somewhere else for a dessert or a nightcap.

          Edit: You can probably walk into Inoteca, and expect a little wait. It's nowhere I'd worry about reservations. Maybe try earlier in the evening. That said, it really is mostly paninis, and at that, really just fancier grilled cheeses. So you're probably right to lean towards something more entree like.

        1. re: eameyer

          thanks guys, i really appreciate your help! i know my request was broad, i'm just so clueless when it comes to restaurants in nyc! :) i'm looking forward to exploring new ones now!
          thanks again!

          1. re: freedom82

            can anyone actually tell me what they serve at inoteca? is it just panini, or can you get actual dishes of food? sorry, i dont want to seem ignorant, but i dont know any italian and the menu has no english on it. i'm not looking for a translation of the menu, but maybe an example or two or something you've had there thats really great. thanks!

            1. re: freedom82

              Not sure if you've already perused the menu, but if not...


              If there are unfamiliar terms on the menu, your server will be happy to translate. The staff there is very nice. I love the lasagnette di melanzane (eggplant sort-of lasagna), the truffle egg toast, the tramezzino with tonna & ceci & peperoncino spread (triangular tuna & chickpea sandwich), and the insalata calamari grigliata, fennel, capers, pomodoro gremolata (grilled squid salad).

              Sorry if I'm treating you like you don't know any words - I mean no disrespect.

              1. re: small h

                uh ohhhh...I can't get into apizz or inoteca and i just found out he's been to buddakan recently.....
                you guys are so nice...any other suggestions for similar kinds of places?

                1. re: freedom82

                  How about Peasant on Elizabeth St? Same chef/owner as Apizz.

                2. re: small h

                  also, I think i might want to go the route of legit entree type things, instead of small tapas, etc.

                  1. re: freedom82

                    Can you give us more of an idea of what kind of food you (and, if possible, he) like?

                    1. re: Pan

                      I really like everything. He does too. The one thing he does NOT eat is sushi.

                      We are actually planning a trip to Spain, so maybe something spanish? Or new american.

                        1. re: xigua

                          If you want to stick to LES/ East Village, Degustation is pretty good. I went for my birthday a week or two ago, and wound up with a 14 courses or so (went a little overboard). Walked out full and extremely happy with our experience, good interaction with the chefs, and mostly enjoyed the room, except the occasional drafts from the door.
                          I'd also recommend momofuku Ssam bar, The orchard (haven't been in a year or two, but was very cozy last time I was there), Stanton Social (more for the atmosphere, while there are a few good things on the menu), Prune. I like Hearth as well, but it's not really cozy, but perhaps Terroir next door, and get a bunch of small plates.

                          1. re: UWSEater

                            I was taken out for my birthday recently to Degustation and have to say I wasn't that into the menu but went anyway. Ordered the tasting 14 course menu and loved it, very interesting. I havne't been back yet bc I had such a good meal, I don't want to ruin my experience by going back too soon. Service was really good and our server knew what she was talking about..

                            In that area, what about...Lavagna? I always enjoy wine selection they have..different area - I love basta Pasta - Japanese take on Italian...(no sushi)

                        2. re: freedom82

                          Go to Cripso on 14th and 8th. It's amazing Italian, great atmosphere and good prices. That's one of my go-to spots. And for dessert after, walk over to Donut Pub and get a black and white cookie to share. they're great!

                            1. re: freedom82

                              Well, neither of those, but what about Sicilian food at Cacio e Vino? I think it's a pretty good date place - a little dark but not overly so, candles on the tables, wood oven, good wine list, staff knowledgeable about food and wine. They have good appetizers and pizza-type things, in particular (I like their schiacciati - two slices of very flat bread with stuff in the middle - even more than their pizze).

                              I also like Lupa very much (and much more than Cacio e Vino, though it's at a different price point), but it seems impossible to get reservations except for really late at night, and you probably wouldn't want to risk walking in (though I usually have success that way, on weekdays).

                3. Ok, so Im in the same spot as you and just went to Grape and Grain the other night. Tapas style so the sharing was nice. Atmosphere was great and not too expensive at all.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: carijo3

                    Boqueria is fantastic. The closest thing in town to the kind of haute tapas you find everywhere in Spain (the most authentic greasy bar tapas being at Xunta)., and a great date.

                    Don't order paella.

                    1. re: daiquiri ice

                      you want trendy , good food and nice atmosphere. I recommend Kittichai which is beautiful very trendy good food and its in same location at Thompson hotel bar which is awesome. Next Trendy cozy would be Macao,its new and good and tough reservation. Buddakan is trendy but maybe a little noisy. Acqua Grill is in Soho its not "trendy" but its cozy and the fish is good. Mark Joseph is at South Street seaport, cozy good steaks, Nobu even though its not my favorite is good trendy place to get jalapeno yellowtail. Chanterelle is in tribeca and more chic than trendy but cozy and good food. Butter is an interesting place and still trendy and nice. Indochine is good upscale vietnamese and good for a date, its nice comfortable place and models and movie stars still go there. Babbo is popular or Del posto has nice atmosphere. I hope that helped,, Simple place would be Tribeca Grill which is comfortable , tell her Robert DeNiro owns it.

                      1. re: foodwhisperer

                        The places foodwhisperer is recommending are mostly really expensive. How much do you want to pay? (By the way, it's Aquagrill, one word, in case you want to look the place up. I haven't been there, so I have nothing first-hand to say about it.)

                  2. Bar Jules, Cafe Mogador, Gnocco, Franks.... all time tested moderately priced date spots in the East Village.