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Romantic(ish) restaurant for a special occasion - GV/UWS

d
dw57 Apr 3, 2010 12:03 AM

I'm hoping to get some advice on planning a big day with my g/f. Off to NY for my first time, and am looking to propose to my g/f during the weekend here, and am looking for a few places for the special day. My general taste would be some places with character that would generally be romantic (maybe with live music), but we're a young couple, and certainly don't want something too stuffy, or with too strict of a dress-code (as we'll be walking around all day).

As far as food goes we arn't that picky in terms of style, but quality matters some. French, italian, fusion-asian, seafood, american, spanish, etc, would all seem good. Ideally a sampling menu would be enjoyable, but it certainly doesnt need to be.

I'm staying at 51st-7ave, (theater district) just a few blocks north of time square. Im not letting that restrict my search too much, the whole of mid/south manhattan seems very small on a map, but i may be completely naive about the difficulties of moving around (especially being a tourist)

Lunch: I was hoping to go down to the village, or one of the other 'interesting' neighbourhoods to just wander around, and stop by a slightly more lively, and friendly place, something that would give us a sense of NY and excitement, maybe with a view (not
A view would also be nice, nothing spectacular, but even just of any street, something that will remind us that we're not in our crappy hometown :p.

After that I was thinking of heading to Central Park for the actual proposal, and then south again for a celebratory dinner. This time it might be nice for it to be a little bit more private, and 'romantic', but the same principles above apply. This time maybe more in midtown would be better. Post-dinner i was still hoping to drag her out for some drinks and treats, to finish off the night. Live piano or jazz would be nice, but anything comfortable. I was thinking Piano Due as its right beside our hotel.

I realize there are alot of similar threads, but they seem to be getting at something slightly different.

Thanks for any suggestions.

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Piano Due
151 West 51st Street, New York, NY 10019

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  1. d
    dw57 RE: dw57 Apr 4, 2010 03:30 PM

    Hi, i just wanted to bump this post up in case anyone has any thoughts.
    Thanks,

    1. j
      JMJD RE: dw57 Apr 4, 2010 05:00 PM

      Would suggest Degustation as a possibility -- search for it here because there are mixed opinions as to whether it's romantic or not. Your proposal plan sounds lovely -- Central Park in the Spring is beautiful.

      For the celebratory dinner you'll get a lot of suggestions for Eleven Madison Park -- no live music and a bit older crowd-wise, but the food is phenomenal. If a view is what you're after the River Cafe (in Brooklyn at the foot of the bridge) is also a possibility -- it's probably the best food/view combo in the city and is traditionally "romantic" (flowers, twinkling lights) although it has a dress code. You could also look into Marea, which I think is on Central Park South -- not sure if it's romantic but it's more new and hip right now than the other places I've mentioned and is a little closer to your hotel.

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      Eleven Madison Park
      11 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10010

      Marea
      240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

      6 Replies
      1. re: JMJD
        d
        dw57 RE: JMJD Apr 4, 2010 07:05 PM

        Thanks JMJD

        I think degustation sounds very interesting. Not what i had in mind per say, but certainly would be fun and lively, something we wouldn't get to experience otherwise.
        Would it be very difficult to get in on a walk-in basis in the afternoon? Or with a short notice reservation.

        I've already checked out EMP and ruled it out. It sounds like the food is amazing, but I do think it would be too formal and maybe expensive, for us to be as comfortable as I'd want. We are interested in food, but not the extent of requiring Michelin stars, and would trade some quality of food for an enjoyable atmosphere. River Cafe sounds great, but I would perfer something in manhattan. We're the type who would find having our own tiny space in the hustle of nyc to be super romantic!

        The Place sounds good for lunch, but also might be hard to get into on short notice.

        Other places I've considered for the dinner are:
        Vice Versa (?)
        Giano
        Gramercy Tavern
        Apizz
        Apiary (?)
        In Vino (?)

        In these cases i suppose we should get changed out of jeans (which would be okay), and id be alright with paying for a taxi with saving some money on the meals - in which case we'd also get out and see the city.

        For drinks afterwards i was looking at Mad46, but again, getting in might be an issue.

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        Gramercy Tavern
        42 E 20th St, New York, NY 10003

        Apizz
        217 Eldridge St., New York, NY 10002

        In Vino
        215 East 4th Street, New York, NY 10009

        Giano
        126 E 7th Street, New York, NY 10009

        Mad46
        45 E 45th St, New York, NY 10017

        1. re: dw57
          f
          feynmix RE: dw57 Apr 4, 2010 07:28 PM

          Ok, I will chime in: Even though you are in the theater district, the great thing about Manhattan is that you can get around basically anywhere using the subway or taxi. So, going downtown for you should be easy (take the 1 which will be closest to your hotel).

          As for restaurants, I think you are best off narrowing down a neighborhood since you are open to a variety of cuisines. IMO, if you are looking for a nice, romantic area, you can't do better then the West Village. It has plenty of great restaurants, and its a really nice area to walk around before or after dinner (Definitely walk over the highline in Chelsea if you get the chance). There are lots of live jazz clubs in the area as well.

          In the WV, there is places such as Perry Street, Little Owl, etc. For jazz, check out Smalls. The piers are also close to the WV, and i think if you were to take a walk there late night, it would be really nice (weather cooperating, of course). There are plenty of really nice bars in the area too, but I think if you were to go to one, I would do Little Branch.

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          Little Owl
          90 Bedford Street, New York, NY 10014

          Perry Street
          176 Perry Street, New York, NY 10014

          Little Branch
          22 Seventh Ave South, New York, NY 10014

          1. re: feynmix
            d
            dw57 RE: feynmix Apr 7, 2010 10:53 AM

            Thanks, I've concluded that we'll stick to the WV, and maybe the EV if we feel we want to. Sounds like a great place to explore, am I alright to assume that everything West of 1st St. is safe until fairly late? Sorry for the digression from the food-talk!

            Perry St and Little Owl sound like they might be difficult to get reservations (I'll keep a few options because i wont know the time and date with much notice), but otherwise look nice!

            Little Branch and smalls sound nice as well. Is there a particular street, or area which is sort of known for nightlife and lounges in the WV (I've heard the district is more subdued then the EV)?

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            Little Owl
            90 Bedford Street, New York, NY 10014

            Little Branch
            22 Seventh Ave South, New York, NY 10014

          2. re: dw57
            j
            JMJD RE: dw57 Apr 4, 2010 08:45 PM

            Apizz is lovely -- Italian and on the LES, which has that very "NY neighborhood" feel you seem to be after. The food is somewhat on the heavy/wintry side though so it doesn't seem like the right choice for spring. Of the rest I've been to the Tavern Room at Gramercy Tavern -- the main dining room aims to be more like EMP (read: expensive/formal/prix fixe). I've also heard good things about Little Owl, mentioned below, but it's a tough reservation to get.

            I'd agree with the suggestions below for the West Village area. I think you might also look into Perilla -- not terribly cozy/romantic but it has that small NY vibe, or Blue Hill for something more upscale. I've also seen people discuss August and The Place as romantic so maybe those will fit the bill. And yes -- definitely take the subway/cab and venture out of Midtown! I'd say look downtown (East or West Village) for cocktail/bar suggestions -- there are some great places you'll find if you search the boards.

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            Perilla
            9 Jones Street, New York, NY 10014

            Blue Hill
            75 Washington Place, New York, NY 10011

            1. re: dw57
              ChefJune RE: dw57 Apr 7, 2010 12:45 PM

              <We are interested in food, but not the extent of requiring Michelin stars, and would trade some quality of food for an enjoyable atmosphere. River Cafe sounds great, but I would perfer something in manhattan. We're the type who would find having our own tiny space in the hustle of nyc to be super romantic!>

              On the basis of this statement, I'm going to suggest Le Gigot. It's in the W Village, on Cornelia Street. Small, intimate, very good food, romantic atmosphere, good service.

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              Le Gigot
              18 Cornelia Street, New York, NY 10014

              1. re: dw57
                o
                orthorunner RE: dw57 Apr 7, 2010 07:56 PM

                Apizz would be a very good option for you based on your criteria: good food, nice atmosphere, not too loud. Perilla was also mentioned; it is one of my favorite restaurants and is relatively understated which it sounds like would fit your criteria.
                As far as enjoying a drink after, you could either go to Little Branch as mentioned beow, or head back uptown, in which case I would recommend Bar Central. It does not have the creative cocktails of the spots in EV (you can look for my old posts to find more about places like Death and Co, Milk and Honey, etc...) but it serves a classic cocktail in a nice, hidden-away atmosphere. One caveat is that it can get busy right after Broadway shows end, so make a reservation.
                Best wishes on your special day!

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                Perilla
                9 Jones Street, New York, NY 10014

                Apizz
                217 Eldridge St., New York, NY 10002

                Little Branch
                22 Seventh Ave South, New York, NY 10014

                Milk and Honey
                134 Eldridge St, New York, NY 10002

            2. n
              New Yorkophile RE: dw57 Apr 5, 2010 12:17 AM

              For a lunch I recommend Cafe Reggio in Greenwich Village. It feels like a New York place, where you can imagine everyone is a writer or an artist. The almond cappicino is delicous. They mostly have Italian pastries, sandwiches, & paninis.

              Grabbing pizza is an option, too. Ben's Pizzeria is just down the street. I like the brocolli slice. Ben's is always packed w/NYU students. It's nothing super special, but I like it.

              For dinner I recommend Wild Edibles (the 3rd ave location, between 35th & 36th). It has fresh seafood & is intimate, but not stuffy or too formal. (Only about 10 tables & a small bar.) You can sit @ the oyster bar (still romantic) & stick to the bar or oyster menu & have a *great* meal for $15-$20 per person (minus soda/beer/wine). You don't need a reservation for the oyster bar, but I think you do for a table. It is close to Grand Central Station & would be an easy subway or cab ride from south Central Park or your hotel.

              I don't know about any great bars in Murray Hill (neighborhood where Wild Edibles is), but you could easily head south to the East Village. The East Village is a lot of fun at night. I recommend Veselka for dessert & drinks.They are known for their "award winning" blintzes. It's Ukrainian. Very good. Very busy. Great people watching. And I'm guessing pretty different from your crappy hometown. ;) (At least it is from mine!) This would be a good Plan B for Wild Edibles, too, if needed. Not as cozy, but still memorable.

              And you can easily get back to your hotel from there via subway or taxi. Where you're staying & these neighborhoods are very easy to get around in (& to/from pretty quickly).

              I don't know about Piano Due, but it gets good reviews. It sounds like somewhere I would finish my night.

              Congrats!

              -----
              Veselka
              144 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

              Piano Due
              151 West 51st Street, New York, NY 10019

              Wild Edibles
              Grand Central Terminal, New York, NY 10017

              3 Replies
              1. re: New Yorkophile
                n
                New Yorkophile RE: New Yorkophile Apr 5, 2010 01:38 AM

                If you do decide on Gramercy Tavern, I recommend Bar Jamon for drinks & tapas before or after (can walk from one to the other).

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                Gramercy Tavern
                42 E 20th St, New York, NY 10003

                Bar Jamon
                125 E 17th St, New York, NY 10003

                1. re: New Yorkophile
                  d
                  dw57 RE: New Yorkophile Apr 7, 2010 10:46 AM

                  I guess i should have corrected myself earlier, we're not big enough seafood fans to go to a seafood themed restaurant, but thanks for the recommendation. Veselka sounds like it would be nice, I'll definetly keep it in mind.

                  Cafe Reggio also looks great! I think we'll for sure stop by there, thanks!

                  -----
                  Veselka
                  144 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10003

                  1. re: dw57
                    u
                    uwsister RE: dw57 Apr 7, 2010 05:57 PM

                    IMO Veselka is nothing special, an average diner with some Eastern European dishes.

                    Any budgetary concerns for the celebratory dinner?

                2. b
                  BLover33 RE: dw57 Apr 9, 2010 02:34 PM

                  Lunch: I would do something in the west village or meat packing district. Very cool, hip, lively area. there are many places for lunch. Pastis comes to mind. french bistro with a long wait time but very NYC! Spice Market, Paradou good choices too.

                  After that I was thinking of heading to Central Park for the actual proposal, and then south again for a celebratory dinner - midtown tends to be a bit more formal - if you are looking for romantic, good food but a younger vibe Apizz is a great option. Some other options - Minetta Tavern, Locande Verde or Waverly Inn.

                  Enjoy your time in NYC! It's beautiful in Spring.

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                  Minetta Tavern
                  113 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

                  Apizz
                  217 Eldridge St., New York, NY 10002

                  Paradou
                  8 Little West 12th Street, New York, NY 10014

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: BLover33
                    f
                    foodyum RE: BLover33 Apr 11, 2010 02:17 AM

                    if you are going to pop the question in cp, a suggestion of a places that is a quick walk - La boit en bois - quaint romantic french, on uws.

                  2. c
                    City Kid RE: dw57 Apr 11, 2010 05:51 AM

                    The most romantic restaurant I've been to with equal emphasis on great food is Il Buco on Bond Street in the Village. If I had just been proposed to it is where I would want to go:

                    I agree with above comments that Veselka is just a kind of an average coffee shop. Cafe Regio would be a great choice for an afternoon cappucino break but not really a destination for food.

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                    Il Buco
                    47 Bond St., New York, NY 10012

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: City Kid
                      c
                      cricri7 RE: City Kid Apr 11, 2010 06:13 AM

                      There is an Italian restaurant on 58th called Nino's of Tuscany (around 7th or 6th avenue if I remember correctly). When I went there, there was a piano player who was around 90 years old and he went around the room to take suggestions and played them after. It is not what I call a romantic restaurant but it is a very nice place where the tables are not stuck together like glue!

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