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Best date night restaurants downtown?

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Recently moved to NYC and having a pretty good (yet sometimes frustrating) time finding interesting "date night" restaurants. We go out once a week, and tend to lean more towards Farm-to-table, New American, French, rustic Italian, and seafood spots. Clearly all the top-tier places are obvious (EMP, Per Se), but what are some other key spots. Really enjoyed Gramercy Tavern, L'Artusi, and Prima, Saxon+Parole was okay. Totally underwhelmed by Locanda Verde and Balthazar.

Bonus points for places will exceptionally executed cocktail menus.

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  1. My best dates this year: The NoMad, ACME, Perla

    3 Replies
    1. re: thegforceny

      As I keep saying, although I have never to my knowledge been on a date with thegforceny, my dating experiences are very similar to hers.

      I'd add Minetta Tavern and Rouge et Blanc.

      1. re: thegforceny

        How are the cocktails at Perla? They're decent at Joseph Leonard, much better at Fedora, and basically nonexistent at Jeffrey's (no liquor license?).

        1. re: kathryn

          Decent to good. Not excellent.

      2. Mas Farmhouse if you liked Gramercy Tavern.

        Dell'anima if you liked L'Artusi.

        I think Public is better than Saxon and Parole, give that a shot.

        The restaurants with the best cocktail programs are probably:
        Empellon Cocina
        Peels
        Momofuku Ssam Bar
        Fatty Cue
        The NoMad
        Ma Peche
        Freemans
        Maialino
        The Breslin
        Fedora

        5 Replies
        1. re: kathryn

          With Freemans, you have to know your date.

          The room and the entire experience are great. The food is close to horrible.

          1. re: Sneakeater

            Peels is a notch better, and their cocktails are similar.

            You can't let the bartenders go of course from their set drink menu, but you can avoid the Freeman's food entirely. I wouldn't suggest this at brunch, when it's best to avoid the crowds at both places.

          2. re: kathryn

            agree with Kathryn~Mas Farmhouse great farm-table option. Del Anima delicious especially the octopus . Mailalino great. Freemans.
            Would also add:
            Rustic Italian - Apizz
            BLT Fish - seafood
            Standard Grill always yummy and fun
            Marc Forgione
            Kittichai - thai food
            Minetta Tavern

            1. re: BLover33

              I'm not saying this to be argumentative. I'm really wondering.

              Because I date in a suspect demographic, I've found myself eating at Standard Grill many times since it opened.

              I don't understand why people praise it.

              Sure, it's better (even much better) than you'd expect a restaurant with such a guaranteed and presumably undiscerning crowd to be.

              But is it good, relative to other places that charge the same prices but aren't in the Standard Hotel in MePa? I personally don't think so. I wouldn't pay that money for that food, ordinarily.

              What am I missing?

              1. re: Sneakeater

                "suspect demographic" - love it...

          3. I found Hudson Clearwater pretty great. Their cocktails weren't bad either.
            And perhaps Pata Negra if you like wine and tapas?

            1 Reply
            1. re: bartholomeu

              Second Hudson Clearwater. Adding:
              Bobo
              Marc Forgione