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First time dinner date

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Hi all-

I'm heading up to NYC and taking a friend out to dinner for the first time. We're in our mid/late 20s, so nothing too fancy, intimate, or outrageously priced (a place with entrees in the $20 to low $30 range would be perfect) is preferred. As far as type of food, anything Italian, Asian/Pan Asian, American, Mediterranean, or Spanish would all work. Restaurants in West Village, Chelsea, Soho,Tribeca, and Upper West Side are preferred.

Thanks in advance for any recommendations that you feel would be a good date spot.

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  1. The first to pop into my head is Barraca for tapas and paella. Yerba Buena Perry is also very nice, with a pan-Latin menu. Kittichai or Kin Shop for variations on Thai food. I will add more as I think of them.

    11 Replies
    1. re: rrems

      Great, thanks a lot!

      1. re: rrems

        I second both Kittichai ( although maybe too intimate in a way), and Kin Shop. I'll throw into the mix Wong, and Robataya and Frankie's on Hudson St.

        1. re: foodwhisperer

          Another vote for Kin Shop.

          1. re: LeahBaila

            Telepan at 69th & Broadway http://www.telepan-ny.com/reservations

            Vice Versa for Italian at 51st bet 8 & 9 (very romantic) http://www.viceversarestaurant.com/

            Crispo's in Chelsea -- a happening place (not quiet!) but with superb Italian food at decent prices

            1. re: arepo

              I'm high on Telepan,
              But more for dinner with the fam,
              Than for a date with a twentysomething, whether it be a woman or a man.

              1. re: Desidero

                Telepan for a first date is way too upscale unless your Donald Trump or James Dolan

              2. re: arepo

                Crispo is a good idea. Vice Versa is probably too intimate.

              3. re: LeahBaila

                but I just cannot get past a white dude with a culinary background in pastry and molecular gastronomy making Mexican food. Or Mexican fusion food. Or whatever the hell it's classified as. Just does not appeal to me whatsoever.

                By LeahBaila

                1. re: BrettLove

                  Hahahaha - touché.

              4. re: foodwhisperer

                I have to second Wong. The food is inventive and mostly good. Perfect level of intimacy v. appreciable background din if the conversation lulls.

              5. re: rrems

                In a similar vein, another great place for tapas is Txikito (Basque cuisine). You can share a few plates between you, which always lends an air of casual intimacy IMHO. Their sangria is great as well! They do have some larger plates if you're not in the mood for tapas.
                Marc Forgione also has a good atmosphere for 1st time dates, but you should know it would be at the upper end/above your price range.

              6. Mas La Grillade
                Rouge et Blanc

                1. When is your dinner? If it's sooner over later it might be tough to get a rez, especially if it's on a weekend. We could see what's available on Opentable and work from there.

                  That aside, some great date joints to my mind - places that have great food but are kind of bustling without being all "white-tablecloth" so to speak:

                  Babbo
                  Marc Forgione
                  Salinas (underrated Spanish joint, doesn't get the love it deserves IMHO)

                  Kin Shop, as suggested above, has good food, but I find the room oddly cafeteria-like... I wouldn't do an even semi-romantic date there. More of a friends place, or a "we've been dating a couple months now" place.

                  Kittichai I've found has had some ups and down. When the new chef took over, it went up... but then it kind of went back down last time I was there. I'm kind of iffy on them.

                  1. where are you guys coming from? this is not inconsequential

                    1. I think a first dinner date shouldn't be the least bit expensive; you can do that later, when you have a solid relationship. Of course, you didn't ask for relationship advice, but my suggestion is not even to go to Crispo now, but to go to a good, dependable, less expensive place like Supper. Even if you're rich.

                      (And for what it's worth, even that is probably more expensive than I'd do, but I love Chinese and other inexpensive East Asian food. My first dinner date with my girlfriend of 4 years was for hyaemul dolsot bibimbap at Han Bat, which in 2008 cost $13/person. And that was our 2nd date. Our first was a picnic lunch of one banh mi and one banh mi ga from Banh Mi Saigon - of which the total with drinks cost perhaps $9 - and then gelato at Laboratorio di Gelato. I've since taken her for 3 trips overseas and dinners at places like Kyo Ya, Ai Fiori, and Degustation, but she's my girlfriend now!)