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Best date night restaurants downtown?

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?).

      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