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Mid-price fancy restaurant

I'm new to the city (Astoria), and my boyfriend is coming for a visit for our anniversary next month. We're looking to go to a fancy dinner, but our budget is 100pp (ideally including drinks and tip). The quality of the food is the most important factor, but I would also like a place that's relatively elegant and not freakishly loud. I'd like to be able to dress up a little without feeling out of place.

I'm a pescatarian and my boyfriend eats everything. I'm leaning toward vaguely French or new American food, but I'm flexible. We both love seafood.

So far, the restaurants I've found on Chowhound with menus that interest me are: Perilla, Betony, and Blue Hill. Other suggestions are totally welcome.

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  1. $100pp including tax & tip is about $77pp for food and drink. It's tough to give a recommendation without knowing how much you plan to spend on wine/beer/cocktails. For example, $77 minus two cocktails each is about $50pp.

    11 Replies
    1. re: kathryn

      Neither of us are big drinkers, so I would expect one drink each. The budget is a little flexible, but I'm looking to spend about $60pp on food alone.

      1. re: dylanpm

        Check out Annisa. Romantic, serene room, delicious food (the miso sable is to die for) and basically within your budget.

          1. re: mla19

            I'd highly recommend Annisa as well. Order a la carte if you're looking to spend $60pp before drinks, tax and tips.

          2. re: dylanpm

            Charlie Bird, nice decor, good food and service. Tested on a 3rd date. 3 apps one entree to share plus two glasses and a bottle of wine rounded up $180 before tips. If we did not get the wine, it was about $110.

            1. re: nomadmanhattan

              If it was a third date, one wants very badly to ask you if it worked.

              1. re: Sneakeater

                So far so good :) But I am still holding wait-and-see position.

              2. re: nomadmanhattan

                I've dined at Charlie Bird twice now - while I love the ambiance and food/wine, the place is as far from "fancy" as you can possibly get. Definitely has a very young and casual, downtown vibe, complete with 90's hip hop blaring from the speakers. Not what I would consider romantic for an anniversary dinner...

                1. re: zeeEats

                  I guess romantic or not depending on who you with and how he/she responding to the context. I have been to very fancy restaurant ($400 per person w/o drinks) but not romantic at all even if I was on a date.But I do agree it is not fancy but intimate and cozy. I would say that is what you get for $70-80 per person.

                  I have been to Charlie bird three times, twice myself, once with my date. 60% of the people, at least the nights I was there, were on a date. The statistics speak the truth.

                  1. re: nomadmanhattan

                    I see where you're coming from, and I'd probably agree. However I still don't think Charlie Bird fits the bill as OP wanted some place "relatively elegant and not freakishly loud."

                    It is an immensely fun place though, and the food is quite good.

                    1. re: zeeEats

                      Agree on the noise level - it did get loud when it was full house.

            1. Highly recommend the Parlour Room at The NoMad. Food is wonderful, service is friendly and attentive, and the Parlour Room is beautiful and relatively quiet.

              1. I am going to Betony this week, so will report after. Perilla is good, but I'd prefer Louro. Haven't been to Blue Hill. Rouge Tomate is another place I think would fit your needs very well. Upscale atmosphere, not too loud, and wonderful food with great fish options.

                3 Replies
                1. re: rrems

                  I'm also dining at Betony later this week; I'll look forward to your report.

                  1. re: rrems

                    I don't know if Betony is necessarily a celebratory place, the food is presented/served pretty casually. Not many people dress up at Louro.

                    Nougatine, Hearth, the Modern Bar Room, Dovetail would be pretty good choices, although food alone would push $90 if you get the tasting.

                    Esca's tasting is $75, you'll definitely get seafood there.

                    1. Would you consider doing fancy for lunch instead of dinner? Then the options in your price range open substantially.

                      3 Replies
                      1. re: downtownchica

                        I'd rather stick to lunch for this meal, for the atmosphere.

                      2. I just had a really good meal at Perilla a couple weeks ago but I didn't think it was all that "fancy", however, this opinion may be influenced by the fact we ate at the bar but I can say with pretty much certainty that it isn't in the same category as your other choises. Absolutely LOVED Betony and if you think the price works and you can snag a rez I'd say go for it. Blue Hill is also a very solid choice and it does hit all your points. As ellenost suggested, The NoMad (the parlour room) is a great idea, super high quality food and execution at a (relatively) good price.

                        1. I love Blue Hill and find the chef most accommodating.
                          For French romance try La Silhouette. A bit pricier but you might be able to get in under the wire.

                          1. I would say Betony or Lincoln. if Italian is OK for the 65 menu. La Silhouette.doesn't have that fancy room feel.

                            1. I have been following this link from Austin. We will be in NYC in December and am interested in the following: Momofuku Ssam and Prunes. I notice that neither of these is mentioned as possibilities for the OP and am wondering why. Also, I notice that the menu for Momofuku Ssam does not mention prices. Is it a case of if you have to ask you can't afford it? Can someone please advise. Thanks, Joe in Austin.

                              5 Replies
                              1. re: singlemalt

                                Ssam is pretty reasonable.

                                Neither place is fancy-ish, elegant or heavy on seafood. They are good, just don't fit those attributes.

                                1. re: singlemalt

                                  Both Prune and Momofuku Ssam are very good BUT cozy, casual, and get loud. The OP asked for elegant and moderately quiet for an anniversary. Neither fit the profile. You're also pretty close to your neighbors in terms of seating--not the most romantic. And if you're dressed up, you may feel out of place.

                                  In terms of pricing, we usually spend about $40-50pp at Ssam, dependent upon if we get anything from the raw bar.

                                  1. re: singlemalt

                                    Prune is the last restaurant I want to recommend. Uninspiring menu , indifferent service , tight seating and bad food. Nothing good about this place.

                                    1. re: singlemalt

                                      My food bill at Momofuku is at $40-$50 per person, but when wine and beers are involved, the bill can shoot up to about $70+ per person.

                                    2. If you like Italian, Maialino is excellent and fits within your budget if you order a la carte and don't order the highest priced items.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: syoung

                                        Maialino is fun and tasty indeed. However, I don't think it's romantic or even remotely fancy, as the OP requested.

                                        For Italian that fits the bill - how about Marea, Lincoln, Torrisi?

                                      2. No one has recommended Dovetail yet, but I will strongly, strongly recommend it. Chef John Fraser is normally a vegetarian himself, so he really does wonders with the fish and seasonal vegetables on the menu - which I assume you'd appreciate.

                                        The dining room is beautiful at night, although a little bit reminiscent of a hotel lounge during the day. The four-course dinner should fit within your budget as well, before tax & tips.

                                        1. Thanks for all the input and great recommendations! We ended up going to Betony, and it was lovely. It is not a super fancy restaurant, but it's elegant and we were slightly dressed up and fit in perfectly. We were at a corner table on the second floor and had a nice view of the dining room and bar. It was comfortably quiet, so we had an easy time talking. The service was very attentive. And we came in precisely on budget.

                                          And the food! Everything we had was good, and some of it was fantastic. The two dishes that really stood out were the Marinated Trout Roe on Puffed Rice with Cucumber and the Sheep’s Milk Ravioli with Eggplant and Mustard Greens.

                                          Honestly, I would really recommend going just for drinks and the trout roe on puffed rice. It was delicious.