NYC dinner for 2 for ~100
For a trip of my boyfriend and I, we thought it would be nice to go out to a nice restaurant, dress nicely and eat a tasteful meal. This will be just for the food, we are not big drinkers, but we want a romantic, nice atmosphere with a high end appeal. Also, since we will be visiting the city, somewhere near Times Square and in the heart of everything would be nice, but if needed to find the cheaper prices, it can be a little bit away from there.
$100 before tax/tip = approx. $38/pp menu price
$150 before tax/tip = approx. $58/pp menu price.
That's a HUGE difference, in terms of the level of restaurant, but it gives us an idea of what we're working with... At the lower end, "nice atmosphere with high-end appeal" is going to be hard to come by, at least in Manhattan.
Assuming you're having three courses each - app/entree/dessert? Or are you more the types to split a dessert or app or both?
Here are a few ideas - the first price is if you ordered the cheapest option from each category, the second if you ordered the most expensive ones (leaving out outliers like foie gras apps or beef and lamb entrees towards the top, which are always a bit more expensive, or boring salads at the low end...)
Riverpark: $48 / $58
Collichio & Sons Tap Room: $38 / $48
The Red Cat: $42 / $59
Cookshop: $48 / $55
Hundred Acres: $32 / $55
Hearth: $49 / $58
Public: $44 / $55
Also, if you happen to be here on a Sunday, Public offers their "Sunday Supper" - $50/pp for five courses. The food can be a bit adventurous for some, and you never know what the menu will be until you get there, so you have to be open to eating anything.
There are many more, but those just popped into my head....
$100-$120 including tax and tip means $40-45pp before tax and tip.
Your budget is going to be too low to dine at most of the usual romantic, high end birthday/anniversary/etc suspects where people dress up (i.e. jackets suggested or required for men). Those are more like $100+pp. What is considered the "high end" here is much higher.
You should be aiming for romantic but a bit more casual. Which is not to say you can't dress nicely, but you need to manage your expectations in terms of price. What you're looking for really is romantic, $40-50pp (mid-range), where you won't feel out of place in a nice dress, etc. There are also tons of casual restaurants here where you'll end up spending $40-50pp.
There are few if any memorable places in the Times Sq area. It is very easy to get around NYC by subway, bus or walking. There are many restaurants within walking distance of Times Sq. on 9th Av and 10th Av.
I'll leave it up to the other CH'ers to suggest a romantic place in your budget.