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Help me decide: Gilt, Gramercy Tavern or One if by land?

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I've never took my wife to really nice restaurant in NYC. We leave about hour and half away from city and never had chance to go to upscale restaurant in NYC. I'm trying to get away from boring chain restaurant and would like to take my wife to fancy restaurant for her birthday. This site has full of good information and I'm wondering if you guys can help me to choose. I'm looking at thanksgiving weekend and it looks like some good restaurants such as Daniels, Eleven Madison, Le Bernardin are all booked. So, I narrowed down to Gilt, Gramercy and One if by land. I'm looking for good food with romantic place. We are not picky about the food by the way. We just want to have a good time in nice restaurant. Can you also help me decide between tasting menu and prix-fixe dinner? I don't know what's better since I never been to restaurant like that.

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

Le Bernardin
155 W. 51st St., New York, NY 10019

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  1. I cannot vouch for Gilt or One If By Land as I haven't eaten at either establishments; I do like Gramercy Tavern's food a lot. It's doesn't feel like a romantic atmosphere; more like cozy yet refined. You can't go wrong with either menus.

    Photos of the interiors:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/hellokit... (Tavern
    )http://www.flickr.com/photos/hellokit... (Dining room)
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/hellokit... (Dining room, a different perspective

    )

    Tina
    http://thewanderingeater.com/

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

    1. You'll find you've opened floodgates, minam, -only short of asking where's the best pizza [best romantic pizza? hmmm.]

      I know Gilt, which is fine but inside a hotel, a placement that really doesn't do it for me personally; the food is exquisite but the bill is appropriate only if you're on another's expense account.
      Gramercy is wonderful in every sense of the word, but the one thing it *isn't* is cozy.
      I've heard that 1ibL is one of the most romantic places in the city, but I've never been.

      I've always liked JoJo in the East 60s.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Phil Ogelos

        Personally, I would not choose any of the three. One if By Land does not serve good food and will be a disappointment, Gilt or Gramercy Tavern might be fine, but I prefer The Modern over the two. If you sit in the Dining Room, you will have a lovely view of the MoMA's garden and the food will be lovely as well.

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

      2. I second the Modern, if you can get a reservation for that weekend -- superb in every way. In my opinion, One If By Land is to be avoided at all costs -- awful food and service, and I don't find it romantic in the least, particularly if you are in a bad mood from having been maltreated!

        1. minamen,
          you might peek at this thread, running now in parallel:
          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7445...
          i think it's a fair bet that most of the recommends you'll find there are ipso facto romantic.

          [i have to say i have a gut aversion to restaurants situated in office buildings or hotels that claim to be for romantic or special occasions; i'm happy to eat in those places when the purpose is good food, but not if you're searching for a completely romantic world. dare i say that applies to the time warner center, too?]

          2 Replies
          1. re: Phil Ogelos

            Once you are inside the restaurant, in most cases it doesn't matter the route you took to get there. Sakagura is in the basement of an office building but when you're in the restaurant, you would never know. Maialino is in a hotel but you'd never know once you're inside. Per Se is a beautiful space and once you're inside you have no sense of the mall outside - same with Masa.

            Le Bernardin on the other hand is not in a hotel but it sure feels like a hotel dining room to me, in terms of the feeling in the room.

            Actually the majority of restaurants in the city are on the first floor of what are essentially office buildings. I mean just look at Eleven Madison Park, one of the most gorgeous restaurant space in the city - and that's the first floor of an office building too.

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            Per Se
            10 Columbus Circle, New York, NY 10019

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

            Le Bernardin
            155 W. 51st St., New York, NY 10019

            Sakagura
            211 East 43rd Street, New York, NY 10017

            Maialino
            2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

            Masa
            10 Columbus Cir, New York, NY 10019

            1. re: gutsofsteel

              I cast my statement in terms of places that represent themselves as right for "romantic or special occasions" as opposed to spaces for diners concerned more with food for food's sake. I know the places you mention, and they're good, but that doesn't alter my feeling.
              I was speaking for myself alone, gos: "in most cases ..." is your take, not mine.

          2. I can't say anything about Gilt, as I've never been. One If By Land is Romantic, but the food is not acceptable, imho. Especially for the high prices.

            Gramercy Tavern has everything I love about a special occasion restaurant. It's romantic without shouting it out, and the food is just wonderful. Every single mouthful I've ever eaten there has left me wanting more. And if y ou let them know it's a special occasion, they will make it even moreso.

            Both rooms are excellent, each in their own style.

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