You’re supposed to dress for dinner at Sistina, and when you see your date all dolled up in the romantic dining room, you’ll wonder how such a charming custom could have dwindled. Spiraling Fortuny wall sconces and ceiling-high flowers add to the genteel ambience, though patrons waiting in the tiny reception area create so much noise that you may have to shout those sweet nothings into your date’s ear. First-rate seasonal ingredients are a matter of course: Savor earthy porcini with homemade fusilli, and don’t neglect the truffled asparagus. But some of the dishes seemed to have wilted under the kitchen’s warming lights—zucchini blossoms served alongside fat grilled scallops were reduced to mush. When the room quiets down, it’s a lovely place for espresso and dessert. Perhaps you’d care for still-warm chocolate-almond torte or a beautiful plate of drunken orange slices that are virtuously fat-free (though in the time-space warp that is Sistina, virtue isn’t necessarily a virtue).
1555 Second Ave
|Cross street:||between 80th and 81st Sts|
|Opening hours:||Daily noon–3pm, 5–11:30pm|
|Transport:||Subway: 6 to 77th St|
|Price:||Average main course: $25. AmEx, DC, Disc, MC, V|