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Jan 31, 2009 11:47 AM

romantic but cheap for anniversary

Hi. I am planning a weekend trip to Manhattan for my 5 year anniversary. We will be in town October 8-12th. I am looking for a romantic restaurant to have our anniversary dinner. I would like to spend less than $100 for the entire meal, including a moderately priced bottle of wine, not including tip. French/Italian preferred but really any cuisine will do if the atmosphere is romantic and the food is delicious. Preferrably Uptown as we will be visiting the Met, Guggenheim and Central Park that day but I guess the neighborhood doesn't concern me that much as we won't be going to a show or anything that night.

I would really like some feedback from locals on this one. Also any suggestion for places to go for drinks that have live jazz would be cool. Thanks so much for your help!

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  1. Where are you from? Is this your first trip? What neighborhood are you staying in? This is unbelievably difficult but we love a challenge. To start --- you will do better downtown, but the cab fare alone may take you over budget. Also --- consider some BYO places, even with a $20 corkage fee. For $100 bucks, I think you have very limited choices --- Chinatown, where there is not much by way of romance but you will eat well. Otherwise, think Italian, limiting your choices to pasta and salad. Take a look at I Coppi in the East Village. But for what you want, especially in Manhattan, you may need to rethink.

    3 Replies
    1. re: susan robin

      You say cab fare would take them over budget, but if they don't mind taking a bus or subway, that's not a problem.

      I think it might be possible to keep it under $100 at Lupa, but the bottle of wine, rather than a quartino or two, makes it very hard.

      I'm almost positive you could keep the bill under $100, including a bottle of wine, at Cacio e Vino: - food menu, but the wine list doesn't seem to be posted yet

      I like the place and do find it somewhat romantic, but it's at least a couple of levels below Lupa in deliciousness.

      1. re: Pan

        Along the same lines might be Tre on LES, very small but the food is quite good. We did bring our own wine there a few weeks ago, charged us $20 corkage which we thought was fine. But these are all a bit of a hike from uptown regardless of mode of transportation!

        1. re: Pan

          I just had dinner at Cacio e Vino on Friday night. I believe the cheapest bottle of wine was $32. The individual pizzas (about $14) are enough for two to share, as are the salads (about $8). Throw in an appetizer and dessert, and you're still under budget. That said, it was loud and crowded, so not really that romantic. But it's dark, and there are candles.

          I think the food's quite a bit better at Perbacco, and with careful ordering I think it's possible to get out of there for under $100. I had wine by the glass there, so I don't know the bottle prices.

      2. HeyLIttleGirl,

        Finding what you want on the UES near Museum Row is next to impossible, so you are going to have to go to a less tony neighborhood. Even then, your budgetary constraints pose a challenge. That said....

        You might want to consider Sonia Rose, on the LES, where the dinner menu is a 3-course prix-fixe for $27.50. This is a reincarnation by the chef/owner of his restaurant with the same name which was, for a number of years, located further uptown. While we've not been to this revived Sonia Rose, we did go to the old one. The food was very good, and the ambiance was lovely. From what I've read, the food now is just as good. OpenTable has a photo, and the ambiance looks romantic. I'm not sure, but I think it's a BYO.

        With regard to drinks and jazz, I'd suggest Jazz Standard. And if hunger happens to strike, the menu from Blue Smoke upstairs is served downstairs at J.S.

        1 Reply
        1. re: RGR

          I was going to recommend Jazz Standard too - great atmosphere.

          For the OP - these are both out of your original neighborhood preferences but I'll throw them out there to since price is a priority - first is Po in the West Village, which has terrific Italian food and recently my fiance and I had dinner there for $75 all in - though my caveat is that we just ordered one pasta, one entree, split a dessert and had a glass of wine for each of us. It was definitely plenty of food - actually I was quite surprised at how large the pasta serving was. The restaurant is tight and dimly lit, and I found it to be romantic but then again my fiance and I are one of those kinds of couples that doesn't really gravitate towards settings that trip over themselves too much to be romantic.

          The other place is Kuma Inn on the Lower East Side - it's not French/Italian but they serve really delicious Asian small plates and it's BYO with a very low corkage fee. You mentioned you were open to other options so I put it out there just in case. Again I realize it might not be everyone's idea of romantic, but it's small and dimly lit and I think it's a great inexpensive restaurant.

        2. If you split a pizza (which is quite large) and get 2 entrees and wine, it's definitely possible to stay under $100 at Peasant, which is one of my favorite Italian restaurants but its down in NoLiTa.

          Uptown, you can try Accademia di Vino for Italian.

          1 Reply
          1. re: stephaniec25

            Enoteca Barbone (Ave. B between 11th & 12th). The food is amazing. You can even do a tasting menu for $35/pp plus they have many bottles of wine in the $30 price range. It will be a bit far for you to get to, but there is public transportation that goes near by.

          2. Sit downstairs at Bacaro.

            1. You'll be hard pressed to find something affordable, yet romantic and cozy on the Upper East Side. I'd recommend Apizz in the Lower East Side for very good food and a romantic atmosphere. I think you could easily have a very nice meal for $100. Their entrees are about $25 and quite filling and they have some very reasonably priced wines in the $30-$40 range. In general unless you both have huge appetites and need your own appetizer, entree and dessert it is rather easy to find a quality meal in the city for $100.

              For the serious jazz lover I'd recommend the Village Vanguard in the West Village. It's a bit pricey but it's a very intimate atmosphere with quality acts.