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13 quintessential date-night restaurants in New York City

A photo of Red logo
by Tanay Warerkar and Melissa Kravitz Hoeffner
Updated January 24, 2024

New York City is the place to fall—and stay—in love. And its most romantic restaurants play a major role in that process. A natural wine and pizza bar is perfect for early-in-the-game dates. For cozy evenings, check out an acclaimed Sichuan spot with booths galore. And few places are as proposal-worthy as the elegant townhouse interiors of an upscale Greenwich Village landmark.

This guide pairs NYC restaurants with romantic occasions from first dates all the way to milestone anniversaries. These are NYC’s 13 best date-night restaurants.

A photo of Wildair restaurant
4.7
4.7 (145)
$31 to $50
Wine Bar
Lower East Side
About the restaurant

This drinks-forward, New American spot on the Lower East Side is for impressing a first date with cocktails, rare natural wines, and excellent snacky plates. If you’re not at full meal-status yet, go for bubbly and dessert. Or show up on the earlier side to test drive the sparks with crispy, uni-topped pommes darphin, best paired with Wildair’s spritz. If the vibe is right, splurge on the shareable American wagyu, arguably one of the city’s best under-the-radar steaks.


Top review
Fiona
Dined 7 days ago
Such delicious, well executed food and kind staff – one of new favorites!!!
A photo of Holiday Cocktail Lounge restaurant
4.6
4.6 (13)
$30 and under
Cocktail Bar
East Village
About the restaurant

What’s a better conversation starter than an 1835 speakeasy that’s hosted Madonna, Al Capone, and Frank Sinatra, to name just a few? Not to mention liquid courage in the form of Singapore slings, mai tais, negronis, and other classic cocktails all made at a charming, circular bar in the center. Keep the night going by pairing your drinks with inventive snacks like kielbasa and kimchi tacos or the meaty and cheesy Cubano doughnut.


Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined on Apr 7, 2024
This place was a gem. The food was excellent and the vibe was something to experience
A photo of Bar Birba restaurant
4.7
4.7 (8)
$30 and under
Wine Bar
Bedford-Stuyvesant
About the restaurant

Bar Birba is where you go for a date night that shuttles you to a charming Italian seaside cafe with marble-topped tables and menus on mirrors. The Bed-Stuy bar is the newest spot from the natural wine experts at For All Good Things, so you can expect a strong vino game. Choose from a generous selection that spotlights Italian producers and make it a full-on aperitivo date by getting fluffy mini pizzas and snacks like mushroom and pecorino-cheese arancinis.


Top review
JimmyBK
Dined on Mar 30, 2024
We love this place! Great atmosphere, friendly staff, wonderful wine selection. Pizzas are great value for the price.
A photo of Modern Love Brooklyn restaurant
4.8
4.8 (1469)
$30 and under
Vegan
Williamsburg
About the restaurant

Exposed lights, bistro-style tables, and minimalist wall murals—Modern Love is an industrial-chic spot that was made for a budding romance. That’s because the vegan comfort food, like creamy acorn squash curry and cacio e pepe with fried mozzarella, is even better when shared. Pick from a strong wine and beer selection, and strongly consider splitting one of the milkshakes made with cashew olive oil ice cream to cap off a special second date.


Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined 5 days ago
Fabulous meal from beginning to end! Took my vegetarian son here for his birthday and we all loved our meal!! Big portions of creative food at reasonable prices.
A photo of Moko restaurant
4.1
4.1 (408)
$31 to $50
Sushi
East Village
About the restaurant

Establishing a regular romantic ritual—aka a recurring date night—is easy at this sushi hotspot. The 15-course omakase at Moko is fueled with fresh-from-Japan seafood. Your nigiri and miso soup feast ends with a scoop of housemade strawberry ice cream, leaving you pleasantly full (but not stuffed), and ready to come back.


Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined on Apr 13, 2024
Consistently great place. Love it. Welcoming staff, fresh food, great service.
A photo of HUPO restaurant
4.9
4.9 (12)
$30 and under
Chinese
Long Island City
About the restaurant

Don’t let the unassuming exterior fool you; just past Hupo’s door is a stylish, cozy restaurant full of Chinese lantern-style lights and the irresistible scent of spicy Sichuan food. You and your date can easily be satisfied with staples like Chungking chicken, mapo tofu, and double-cooked pork, but for a more intimate experience, go all out with the choose-your-own-adventure-style mala dry hot pot.


Top review
ThomasMvip
Dined on May 16, 2024
Excellent food, wonderful beverages and superb service. A must when visiting LIC
A photo of Amor Cubano restaurant
4.6
4.6 (480)
$30 and under
Cuban
Harlem
About the restaurant

This East Harlem favorite shuttles couples to 1950s Havana with an extra-large bar and wall projections of classic cars and vibrant streetscapes, which all add up to a laid-back and unpretentious date. Plus, Amor Cubano is a go-to for generous portions of hearty Cuban food. Think croquetas filled with ham, cheese, or chicken, a knockout Cuban sandwich, and braised classics like ropa vieja. Take your restaurant getaway to new heights by joining in on some after-dinner dancing—there’s often live music here.


Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined on May 11, 2024
Amor cubano is always a wonderful experience. Great food, great service, good drinks and the live music is top!!!
A photo of Mesiba restaurant
4.5
4.5 (5)
$31 to $50
Mediterranean
Williamsburg
About the restaurant

Mesiba means “party” in Hebrew, which explains why you want to bring a crew here. The plant-filled ceiling and undulating purple banquettes are mesmerizing, and so is the massive Levantine menu. Rip and dip Moroccan bread in creamy hot sauce, break off bites of tender lamb with Yemeni pancakes, and wash it all down with a Turkish coffee-infused old fashioned. Keep the party going with arak service—Mesiba pours out six kinds of the popular anise liqueur.


Top review
MartaRvip
Dined on May 9, 2024
The excellent food and the vibes in the restaurant made it a great dinner experience. We ordered a bunch of small plates and finished off with the ribeye and had to try 3 of their desserts. We almost ‘licked’ the plates. We will definitely be back.
A photo of GAONNURI restaurant
4.7
4.7 (4479)
$50 and over
Korean
Midtown West
About the restaurant

You’ll find both a special-occasion meal and stunning NYC views at this 39th-floor Korean barbecue spot. Request a seat by the window to make Gaonnuri’s five-course tasting menu even more fun. Servers prepare prime and wagyu ribeye on the tabletop grills; level things up by adding an order of decadent lobster-and-kimchi fried rice to your meal. Cocktails, fine wines, and soju provide plenty of fuel for celebratory toasts.


Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined 5 days ago
I loved it! My boyfriend and I came at the recommendation of a friend. We had a lovely time. The steaks were to die for. The experience was incredible. I just wish that we were more full after sharing a meal for two. Overall, a great experience!
A photo of Enzo's of Williamsbridge restaurant
4.6
4.6 (220)
$30 and under
Italian
Morris Park
About the restaurant

White tablecloths, framed photos of Italian movie stars, and top-notch service all promise an elegant date night at this Bronx legend. The fall-off-the-bone tender chicken scarpariello is a must-order, as are the more than dozen housemade pastas like cavatelli with broccoli rabe and sausage. They’re best when devoured with Enzo’s extensive lineup of Italian wines for a next-level night out worthy of a big anniversary.


Top review
Lucyvip
Dined on May 4, 2024
Excellent food and great service. Thank you. I would highly recommend.
A photo of One if by Land, Two if by Sea restaurant
4.4
4.4 (6608)
$50 and over
Contemporary French / American
Greenwich Village
About the restaurant

With a charming name from a historical poem, One if by Land, Two if by Sea is for milestone moments—so it’s no surprise that wedding proposals happen here all the time. The restaurant takes up a historic carriage house on a pretty West Village street, and it’s tough to top the all-out romantic vibes at this special-occasion star. Fittingly, the three- and seven-course tasting menus channel a swanky wedding menu with choices like beef Wellington, seared foie gras, and chocolate soufflé.


Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined on May 12, 2024
Great experience! Great staff, nice live music, incredible food.
A photo of The River Cafe restaurant
4.8
4.8 (8947)
$50 and over
American
DUMBO
About the restaurant

Few places can top the proposal-ready views that DUMBO’s River Cafe boasts—after all, it overlooks the Brooklyn Bridge and the Manhattan skyline. The romantic feels start at the garden entrance, illuminated by twinkling lights. Once inside, fresh flowers and live piano music scream “special occasion.” It’s all amplified by an ultra-fancy menu of ricotta-stuffed rabbit loin or duck breast with roasted pearl onions. Take your date up a notch by adding caviar service to the mix.


Top review
OpenTable Diner
Dined 1 day ago
Absolutely wonderful experience at River Café! From the moment we stepped in, we were enchanted by the delightful atmosphere. The ambiance is warm and inviting, with beautiful décor and a serene riverside view that set the perfect mood for the evening. The menu is nothing short of amazing, offering a diverse array of dishes that cater to all tastes. Every dish we tried was a masterpiece, bursting with flavor and presented with impeccable artistry. It's clear that a lot of thought and creativity goes into each culinary creation. The service was outstanding, with attentive and friendly staff who made us feel welcomed and well-cared for throughout our meal. They were knowledgeable about the menu, provided excellent recommendations, and ensured that every need was met with a smile. Overall, our dinner at River Café was a fantastic experience. Highly recommend it to anyone looking for a memorable dining experience!
A photo of Journey restaurant
4.1
4.1 (23)
$50 and over
American
NoMad
About the restaurant

The mood lighting, comfy leather couches, and globally influenced food are almost secondary at Journey—the star attractions are the four different immersive dining experiences, making for an unforgettable date night. Whether it’s augmented reality on tables, projections of far-off cities on the walls, or 3-D models of famous buildings from around the world, a meal at Journey will keep you guessing, giving you a romantic evening that’s one for the books.


Top review
VickB
Dined on Feb 24, 2024
I went there on a Saturday night for a first date, and we had a really nice time. We arrived at around 630 which seems to be early since there were very few people in the dining room. So I think a better time would be around 8 PM, but everything was great including the service and ambience, and the food/cocktails were really good too. The decor is really cool too. 
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