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Intimate and romantic restaurants with great food rec's

I know this is vague but it's for a friend visiting that is pretty open. The main concerns are:
Any cuisine
Any location in Manhattan
Any budget - really any they are wealthy
Just need smaller more intimate restaurants with amazing food
She does not want any of the large establishments that have a clubby feel (Nobu and the like) or too stuffy and formal.
Intimate, cozy and romantic with great food and an upscale feel

Any rec's would be greatly appreciated

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  1. Jean Georges would be a good choice. Bouley is real romantic, smaller,upscale feel.

    3 Replies
    1. re: foodwhisperer

      Jean Georges I would describe as "stuffy and formal" personally. Nor do cozy or romantic come to mind when I think about the dining room. It's very corporate, IMHO, as most high-end Midtown places tend to be.

      Bouley fits the bill a little better, I think. A bit more intimate.

      SHO Shaun Hergatt is another possibility - given their awkward location, they tend to be less crowded as well, which adds to the intimacy.

      Of the four-starrers, Eleven Madison Park and Del Posto are the ones that jump out to me, as they're upscale as it gets but without being too "formal" - neither have a jacket requirement, for example, and the staff at EMP in particular are good at "reading" a given table to see what level of formality / stiffness each expects - they never seem like they're acting happy to serve you, they really come off quite genuine. Same could be said for any of Danny Meyer's places - Gramercy Tavern, The Modern. Also GT, EMP, and Del Posto have a decent amount of space between tables, which adds to intimacy, even if you're in a room full of other people.

      The MOST cozy and romantic (at least in terms of ambience) is probably a window-side table at the River Cafe, but that's sadly not in Manhattan...

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

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

      Jean Georges
      1 Central Park W, New York, NY 10023

      Del Posto
      85 10th Avenue, New York, NY 10011

      The Modern
      9 West 53rd Street, New York, NY 10019

      SHO Shaun Hergatt
      40 Broad St, New York, NY 10004

      Bouley
      163 Duane St, New York, NY 10013

      1. re: sgordon

        If you sat at that little outcove table at Jean Georges, it might be "cozy" and "romantic," but I otherwise agree with the above (though I don't particularly like the food at River Cafe).

        1. re: nmprisons

          I think the food is fine at TRC - a bit overpriced for what they're serving (they shouldn't be in the three-digit prix fixe club - maybe in the 70s or 80s) - but that view! Kind of hard to beat, if you score a table that'll overlap sunset. For the right kind of date, the premium is worth it. And I'm someone who doesn't give two shits about ambience, generally.

    2. Maybe the private rooms at Maialino or Kyo Ya.

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      Kyo Ya
      94 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009

      Maialino
      2 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10010

      2 Replies
      1. re: kathryn

        ...and I'll also +1 the private room at Kyo Ya. Amazing, beautiful food - best to go with the Kaiseki menu. A gorgeous experience.

        1. re: sgordon

          Not sure if it matters for this particular situation, but the private room requires at least a party of 4.

      2. Il Buco on Bond Street.

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

        1. Rouge et Blanc has four round red leather booths, and has a nice cozy bistro feel...i'll deciding on the food (have had some excellent dishes and some that didn't thrill me), but the wine list is superb...

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          Rouge et Blanc
          48 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

          1. How about Tocqueville? Beautiful room, wonderful food and great service.

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            Tocqueville
            1 East 15th Street, New York, NY 10003