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NYC’s Best Romantic Meals & Restaurants

February 2, 2011 7:00 AM

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The views at the River Cafe are spectacular. (Image from

The views at the River Cafe are spectacular. (Image from

Where are you heading for Valentine’s Day dinner? We’ve already picked out the best romantic restaurants in New York City –  it’s up to you to try and make the reservations. By Valerie Stivers.

bouley NYCs Best Romantic Meals & Restaurants


163 Duane Street
New York, NY 10013
(212) 964-2525
Reviews & more info

Restaurants from the very most haute NYC chefs can feel a bit corporate, but the gorgeous low arched ceilings at David Bouley’s Tribeca institution make this white-tablecloth space both intimate and spectacular. The price is high, but the French cuisine is guaranteed to be ethereal and the service impeccable.

Buttermilk Channel

524 Court Street
Brooklyn, New York, 11231
(718) 852-8490

A charming old-timey room deep on Brooklyn’s Court Street has become a destination for foodies citywide, who have fallen for the Southern-influenced fresh, local dishes and house made charcuterie, pickles and cheeses. Tables fill up fast, and the restaurant doesn’t take reservations.

Café Sabarsky

1048 Fifth Ave
New York, NY 10028
(212) 288-0655

Austrian artists Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele produced some of the sexiest art of all time, and the fine-dining restaurant in the Neue Galerie on Central Park is just as elegant, refined and old world as you could wish for. The chef, Kurt Guttenbrenner (Wallse, Blaue Gans) is a local phenomenon.

gradisca1 NYCs Best Romantic Meals & Restaurants

The dining room at Gradisca. (Image from


126 West 13th Street
New York, NY 10011
(212) 691-4886

Reviews & more info

There are more obvious choices for a romantic Italian restaurant in NYC (Il Buco, for one), but we love this low, slinky West Village eatery, especially its cozy, red-painted back room. The knockout Italian menu is both earthy and modern, with house-made pasta and gelato, the scene is buoyant but not too loud, and the family owners insist on nice service.


33 Crosby Street
New York, NY 10013
(212) 219-8856

Be prepared for a tiny, crowded bar, but if your idea of romance is conversation and endless glasses of red wine or sipping sherries, accompanied by delicious little tapas, this is your place. The atmosphere is dark and the side-banquette nooks are the best seats in the house.

oneifbyland NYCs Best Romantic Meals & Restaurants

The dining room at One If By Land, Two If By Sea. (Photo from

One If By Land, Two If By Sea

17 Barrow St
New York, NY 10014
(212) 255-8649

The most famous romantic restaurant in the city has a glowy interior with exposed brick and chandeliers, and is located in a West Village carriage house. The prix-fixe menu offers crowd-pleasers like a famous Beef Wellington, truffle ravioli and carrot cake. Some diners love it, some feel it’s overrated.

picholine NYCs Best Romantic Meals & Restaurants

Enjoy some wine and cheese at Picholine. (Image from


35 West 64th Street
New York, NY 10023
(212) 724-8585

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Fine wines and cheeses you say? And more wines, and cheeses, and a white-tablecloth, jackets-recommended, starchy, upscale atmosphere appropriate to a romantic occasion? Picholine, from restaurateur Terrance Brennan is an Upper West Side French institution known for its cheese cart and tasting menu ($135 prix fixe). Afterwards, ask your important question by the beautiful lighted fountains at Lincoln Center.

rivercafe NYCs Best Romantic Meals & Restaurants

The views at the River Cafe are spectacular. (Image from

The River Café

1 Water St
Brooklyn, NY
(718) 522-5200

This is a tourist spot with a traditional menu featuring duck breast, rack-of-lamb, etc., yet the location—in a private garden on the water beneath the soaring struts of the Brooklyn Bridge—makes it one of the most recognizable names in New York romance dining.

View Comments

    It looks like you have some great choices, but you left out two that have something no other restaurant has…art that showcases the Freedom Riders, painted by the owner herself. Chez Oskar and Chez Lola, both located in the Fort Greene section of Brooklyn, have wonderful food, beautiful customer service and decor that is lovely. There’s an opening exhibition that Spike Lee was invited to this Sunday, the 30th, from 4-6pm at Chez Lola. Visit the site to see the Valentines Day Menu! :-)

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