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May 8, 2013 01:44 PM

Low-key romantic downtown dinner with spacious seating

I'm looking for a suggestion for dinner for the two of us for a special occasion. Has to be low-key (no dress code), not looking for ultra hyped-up places that have long lines and wait lists and snotty attitudes. Also would like there to be enough seating space to enjoy a private dinner without my elbow in our neighbor's lap. Anything from French, Italian, new American, etc. is fine. Nothing too eclectic or modern. For context, I've lived in Manhattan for over a decade and sampled/enjoyed everything from the holes-in-the-wall in the LES/EV/HK to high-end dining to foodie paradises. I'm just coming up short this time, so need a little help!

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  1. If Jungsik isn't too strange of a menu, I recommend it highly. The food is amazing. I would request either the corner booth or a table in the rear room, both of those are comfortable seating. Although it is high end, and high end service, they are not snotty at all. As far as dress codes, I have gone in jeans. Check out the menu and see if it works. It isn't cheap though. I prefer to order a la carte there.
    Pepolino ,,, another Tribeca restaurant, excellent Italian food, and plenty of room. They have tables upstairs and downstairs.

    1. Try Buenos Aires in alphabet city, call them to see if you can reserve the window table (usually for 4):

      Get the skirt steak for two with a salad and the garlic fries.

      Have them recommend the wine, they sometimes have special south american reds that are not on the list.

      They may also have other goodies not on the menu, ask.

      We love this place, it is small, informal and intimate atmosphere, the beef is amazing. I bet you will like it. The last time we were there it was a weeknight and not too busy. The owner was sitting at an empty table doing the books with a glass of wine keeping an eye on everything.

      Flan for dessert.

      3 Replies
      1. re: vikingkaj

        Yes thanks - I've been here before and it is good. But I didn't find it great, and I regularly cook skirt steak (with and without a chimichurri marinade) , and dare I say it tastes better! They have good rib-eyes and t-bones too and I have good memories of the place. Will probably skip for this occasion though, but thank you for reminding me of this place!

          1. re: vikingkaj

            WV, Soho, EV, LES, Gramercy all fine.

      2. Is annisa too eclectic and/or too fancy/dressy? (there was a recent conversation about the formalness there - its not stuffy and im pretty certain theres no dress code but some folks may be dressed up). The tables are very well spaced and the setting quite intimate compared to many places in the city.

        1. Peasant
          Marc Forgione
          Mas Farmhouse
          En Japanese Brasserie
          Perry St.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Desidero

            Thank you for all these suggestions. Will check them out. Never been to any of them.

          2. More uptown, but we also like Maialino, even if it is Danny Meyer. Not too stuffy and the cured meats are good.

            Also, if you wanted to slum a bit, Cafe Katja. It's kind of small but the food and atmosphere are great.

            3 Replies
            1. re: vikingkaj

              Cafe Katja is indeed good. I think of it as a very nice neighborhood restaurant and maybe a little more than that, but more low-key than romantic.

              1. re: Pan

                Always wanted to try this, but couldn't convince my dining partner that the menu would have things other than meat-heavy options.

                1. re: Pan

                  I like low key and informal, and for a northern european nothing says love like schnitzel and strudel in a darkened restaurant.

                  Maybe we could hire a gypsy with a fiddle?