While it may seem that 2013 has just begun, Valentines Day is less than a month away. This may seem like more than enough time to plan the perfect romantic night out but unless you’re spending the night at home, we suggest making reservations at least three weeks in advance. When picking a romantic restaurant, especially on Valentines Day, we suggest finding something with a more relaxed, quite and intimate atmosphere that serves consistently good food. Also, we don’t suggest spending your night at popular restaurants that do not accept reservations, such as Rosemary’s or Frankie’s 475. While they may be excellent date night spots, waiting up to two hours for a table for two during prime time hours doesn’t sound like the perfect Valentine’s Day to us. With that, we bring you the top New York City restaurants for Valentines Day! Note that we will be leaving out some already well known options such as One if by Land, Two if by Sea, Waverly Inn and La Grenouille so we can include some restaurants that are more off the map. [Photo via]
#1. Daniel - This Upper East Side restaurant brought to us by Daniel Boulud is one of the few restaurants in New York City that is absolutely perfect. From the stunning decor to the well thought out cocktail program to the perfectly designed and executed tasting menus, Daniel is nothing short of perfection. While this level of excellence will be costly, tasting menus start at $116, if you’re looking for a splurge worthy evening that will be sure to impress anyone, Daniel is the place to do it.
60 E 58th St. New York, NY
#2. Bohemian - A date night at Bohemian will impress your special someone for two reasons. One, it’s kind of impossible to hate the simple yet charming decor of this tiny 25 seat restaurant and two, your date will be impressed that you could find the number none the less score a reservation. Bohemian does not publish a phone number and the only way to get it is through a friend or colleague that has been to the restaurant before. This way, it ensures that the restaurant operates similarly to a private club. While getting into Bohemian may seem pretentious, all the attitude is lost once you walk past the Butcher Shop and through the glass door.
57 Great Jones St. New York, NY
#3. River Deli – This Brooklyn Heights Italian restaurant is one of the better unknown date spots in NYC. The rustic decor is perfect for a first date or Valentines Day. The menu consists of traditional, well prepared Italian dishes such as Pappardelle Ai Funghi and an excellent Burrata. What makes River Deli even better is all the pasta dishes are generously portioned and none are above $15 while the meat and fish dishes never rise above the $25 mark. This makes River Deli the best date night spot in NYC for those on a budget. Also, the corner of Joralomon St. and Clinton St. absolutely charming and adorable.
32 Joralomon St. Brooklyn, NY
#4. Tiny’s – This intimate Tribeca restaurant is perfect for those looking for a quiet dinner and a more lively bar scene afterwards. The main level of Tiny’s, brought to us by Matt Abramcyk of the late Beatrice Inn, is a cozy, dimly lit space and even comes complete with a working fireplace. The upstairs does have similar design features that would make it perfect for a date, but the bar does create a much louder and hectic atmosphere than the subtle downstairs. The simple American fare is also great if your date is a less than adventurous (i.e. picky) eater.
135 West Broadway New York, NY
#5. Sushi Seki – If you and your date love sushi, there’s no better place than Sushi Seki. This Upper East Side restaurant has a laid back decor, but also has the best Omakase menu we’ve tasted in New York City. This is the perfect spot for sushi lovers who are more about the quality of their food rather than being blown away by stunning decor. We suggest grabbing a seat at the bar and ordering the chef’s Omakase. While this piece by piece menu won’t come cheap, you and your date will be having some of the most unique and top quality sushi that New York has to offer.
1143 1st Avenue New York, NY
#6. Minetta Tavern – This West Village steakhouse is for all those couples looking for a good steak on Valentines Day. It may seem a bit out there but we see nothing wrong with sharing a massive porterhouse for two on a date (though your doctor might when they check your cholesterol). Keith McNally brings us the revamped Minetta Tavern which is home to the famous $30 Black Label burger and the $90 Cote de Boeuf. That Black Label burger is worth every penny as are the top quality steaks. The atmosphere is also more reserved and a bit more charming than the other well known chophouse Peter Luger making Minetta Tavern the best steakhouse for Valentines Day.
113 MacDougal Street New York, NY
#7. Sfoglia – This Nantucket import serves easily the best pasta we have had in New York City. Yep you heard us, the best pasta in New York City. All the pasta is homemade in the kitchen and Sfoglia is probably the only restaurant where we would order a pasta dish for both our appetizer and entree. The restaurant itself is also quaint and suitable for any date night. The mismatched furniture help give Sfoglia a more low-key vibe to off set the complex Italian cooking. Since the restaurant is small we recommend making reservations sooner rather than later.
1402 Lexington Avenue New York, NY
#8. The Good Fork – After Hurricane Sandy, we weren’t sure if our favorite Red Hook restaurant would reopen again. Sure enough after the new year The Good Fork opened it’s doors again for service. The quirky Asian/American goes perfectly with the, again, quirky nautical theme of the restaurant. There is also an outdoor garden in the back just in case you enjoy the excellent food so much that you wish to return for, perhaps another date, in the warmer months. If you do happen to head over to The Good Fork, make sure to get the handmade pork dumplings.
391 Van Brunt Street Brooklyn, New York
#9. Tamarind – Since Indian food is usually a popular option with date nights, we had to include Tamarind. This over the top Indian restaurant is an excellent choice when looking for a date night in Tribeca. The menu consists of more refined versions of traditional Indian dishes and the decor matches the upscale cooking. This opulent restaurant may be expensive, but it’s definitely one of the best options in NYC for Valentines Day.
99 Hudson Street New York, NY
#10. Lincoln – We’ll be honest by saying this: finding a date night restaurant on the Upper West Side was no easy task. The minute we thought of the Italian restaurant, Lincoln, we had to include it in our round-up. The restaurant is enclosed with floor to ceiling glass windows that allows Lincoln Center to act as the back drop of your dinner. And if you thought Lincoln couldn’t get any better, the cooking is just as stellar as the decor.
145 West 65th Street New York, NY