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romantic but cheap for anniversary

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HeyLittleGirl Jan 31, 2009 11:47 AM

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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    susan robin RE: HeyLittleGirl Jan 31, 2009 05:15 PM

    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
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      Pan RE: susan robin Jan 31, 2009 06:33 PM

      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.

      http://www.luparestaurant.com/

      I'm almost positive you could keep the bill under $100, including a bottle of wine, at Cacio e Vino:

      http://www.cacioevino.com/main.php - 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
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        susan robin RE: Pan Feb 1, 2009 04:03 AM

        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
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          small h RE: Pan Feb 1, 2009 07:59 AM

          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.

          http://www.menupages.com/restaurantde...

          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.

          http://www.menupages.com/restaurantde...

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        RGR RE: HeyLittleGirl Feb 1, 2009 07:08 AM

        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.

        http://www.soniarosenyc.com
        http://www.opentable.com/rest_profile...

        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.

        http://www.jazzstandard.com

        1 Reply
        1. re: RGR
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          pellegrino31 RE: RGR Mar 16, 2009 01:32 PM

          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.

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          stephaniec25 RE: HeyLittleGirl Feb 1, 2009 12:18 PM

          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
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            foodlovernyc RE: stephaniec25 Feb 2, 2009 09:15 AM

            Enoteca Barbone http://www.barbonenyc.com/ (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. D...DF RE: HeyLittleGirl Feb 2, 2009 10:06 AM

            Sit downstairs at Bacaro.

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              ukitali RE: HeyLittleGirl Feb 4, 2009 08:41 AM

              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.

              1. Little Cupcake RE: HeyLittleGirl Feb 4, 2009 09:41 AM

                Le Refuge is a cozy place in the UES (166 E 82nd near Lex). It feels more like a restaurant in France than one in NYC. They have a Prix Fixe for $31.50. My DH ordered the Prix Fixe & I just ordered an entree. I don't remember how much they charge for their wines.

                www.lerefugenyc.com

                1. MMRuth RE: HeyLittleGirl Feb 4, 2009 09:50 AM

                  Square Meal is sweet looking, though I don't know how romantic it is. You can bring your own wine - including a moderate bottle - and you could do it for under that price.

                  -----
                  Square Meal
                  30 E 92nd St, New York, NY 10128

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                    blacklion RE: HeyLittleGirl Mar 16, 2009 10:13 AM

                    Try Ricardo's Steakhouse in Spanish Harlem. It is not too far from Met, Central Park and Guggenheim. A taxi from Museum Mile to the steak house will probably run you around $10 max and no more than 15 minutes of your time. Any more than that and the cabby is trying to scam you. You could take the train and bus but it is a bit of a walk and somewhat complicated. Plus the neighborhood is not what you'd call picturesque (did I spell that right?). It would be a romantic buzzkill to go that route.

                    Check out restaurants.com to buy gift certificates on the cheap for the place. I got a $50 off $100 cert for about 15 dollars once. I just never got around to confirming the certificate. Just confirm with Ricardo's before you buy that they accept them. I had some problems with other places not accepting the certs before. I'm planning the same thing for my anniversary this upcoming weekend. Hopefully everything goes well for you. The prices and times I'm telling you should be accurate since I live in the area near Ricardo's and my kids go to school on the same block as Guggenheim. I take a taxi nearly every morning to get them there on time.

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                      hungrycomposer RE: HeyLittleGirl Mar 16, 2009 10:23 AM

                      It sounds like your itinerary is set, but if you're flexible, consider one of the great prix fixe lunch deals. Perry St. has a wonderful lunch, and great wine for $6 a glass. I don't think Jean Georges has their lunch deal on the weekend, but I believe Nougatine does. I've spent under $100 on a stellar lunch for two at both Jean George and Perry St.

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