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Photograph: Courtesy Thomas Schauer

The 21 most romantic restaurants in NYC

Cozy up with that special someone at the most romantic restaurants in NYC, including outdoor options

Written by
Rachel Pelz
&
Bao Ong
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Some nights you just want to grab a bite at a great restaurant or down a quick drink at a bar. But other nights—like when you’re celebrating a special occasion, planning to pop the question, or just trying to apologize for that thing you did—you need to go all out. While a casual pizza date can be every bit as romantic (remember where you shared your first pepperoni pie?), we’re here to guide you to the very best spots for wining, dining and wooing. While restaurants will be required to check your vaccination status for indoor dining this fall, we’ve also included lots of spots with outdoor dining. Here are the 21 most romantic restaurants in NYC... now go get ‘em, Tiger!

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in NYC

Most romantic restaurants in NYC

  • Restaurants
  • Downtown Brooklyn

Originally opened in 1879, the city's long-lasting love affair with this chophouse might just rub off on you and your date. The bartenders wear jackets, the chandeliers catch the dimmed light, and you can't go wrong with a pair of martinis and oysters from the raw bar. The Baked Alaska, filled with chocolate and cherries and finished with a golden meringue, is portioned for two so you won't end the night in a squabble over who gets to lick the spoon.

  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Williamsburg
  • price 2 of 4

Curl up with your date as you twirl any of the stellar pastas from Lilia. It’s easily one of the best bowls of carbs you'll have this year—that is, if you can snag a reservation. Yurt Village, a bank of heated private tents you can reserve, is the perfect backdrop for a little Lady and the Tramp-style spaghetti smooch.

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  • Restaurants
  • Midtown East

This fancy-schmancy French restaurant with views of the Chrysler Building is giving us serious rom-com vibes. The newest spot from Daniel Boulud offers the usual high price point—the three-course tasting goes for $125—along with the service and impeccable food we’ve come to expect from the chef. With a dining room draped in greenery, the whole place feels like an enchanted garden that grants wishes for gimlets.

  • Restaurants
  • French
  • Lenox Hill
  • price 3 of 4

Your date deserves a world-class restaurant with over-the-top service, luxurious food and a star chef who's on the awning and in the kitchen—in short, a place like Daniel. At the Terrace at Daniel, the restaurant’s outdoor dining option, you can dine en plein air while you make your way through the Provençal-inspired prix fixe menu.

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  • Restaurants
  • French
  • West Village
  • price 2 of 4

With all the charms of a classic French bistro, Buvette’s location on a quaint stretch of Grove Street adds to the allure of its outdoor dining space. On some evenings, you'll even catch a cellist on the corner and it feels like you're being serenaded with your own concert. Buvette is open until midnight, so you can snuggle up to your sweetie for a late-night rendezvous.

  • Bars
  • Roosevelt Island

Picture it: You're cuddled up to your date, swinging in a gondola, gazing down at the water below, on your way to a romantic dinner on...Roosevelt Island. From the 18th floor of the stunning Panorama Room, you can gaze across the East River at a picture-perfect Manhattan skyline. Order from the seafood-forward menu and sip a lychee martini while the two of you take in some of the city's best views.

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  • Bars
  • Wine bars
  • Carroll Gardens
  • price 1 of 4

Back when it opened in 2015, June helped put natural wine on Brooklynites’ radar. Today, interesting bottles continue to add to the allure of the ’20s-era Midnight in Paris vibes. With its curved oxblood banquettes, globe light fixtures and stemmed glasses hanging over a marble bar top, June is endlessly romantic—even if you're outdoors in the garden.

  • Restaurants
  • French
  • Soho
  • price 2 of 4

With shabby-chic ceramics holding your fluffy crêpes and velvety curtains draped over the front entrance, La Mercerie has a cozy, very French feel. Chef Marie-Aude Rose’s gem of a menu is a soul-soothing experience whether you’re digging into boeuf bourguignon or sorbet, and the outdoor space full of stylish diners will make your magical evening unforgettable.

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  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary American
  • Prospect Heights
  • price 2 of 4

On paper, Olmsted’s partiality for hyper-fresh produce isn’t exactly a distinctive quality, but its sheer dedication to freshness sets it apart. An urban minifarm behind the modest restaurant provides Baxtrom’s kitchen with radishes and lovage, and a bird coop coos with quails laying eggs. Servers will ask if you want to wait for a table on a cushioned bench in the backyard garden with a cocktail and crayfish crackers, say, beneath strung lights—answer yes when they do.

  • Restaurants
  • American
  • Financial District

The food at Crown Shy is just as good as any white-glove dining destination (Exhibit A: the to-die-for satsuma orange ice cream by Renata Ameni), but the upbeat hip-hop blaring through the speakers and waiters in white T-shirts and jeans help keep it from feeling stuffy. Indoor dining at the Art Deco residential building, 70 Pine Street, is open again, so you can explore the architecture while you toast to your love.

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  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Midtown West
  • price 4 of 4

The raw bar at Marea offers up plenty of oysters, those famous aphrodisiacs. With a name that means “tide” in Italian, the seafood-focused menu features house-made pasta with octopus, bucatini with jumbo lump crab, and grilled lobster. The restaurant is located right on Columbus Circle, so after dinner, you can take a romantic walk around the Central Park reservoir or, if you absolutely must, propose on Bow Bridge.

  • Restaurants
  • American
  • West Village

At Nick Anderer’s first solo project, you can bask in the glory of wood-paneled walls, candelabras dripping wax and antique-looking chairs as you offer your sweetheart a bite of hand-cut angel hair from your plate. The gigantic wine list features plenty of bottles that pair as well with the old-world vibes as they do with your brand-new romance.

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  • Restaurants
  • Thai
  • Lower East Side

Located in a basement storefront on Forsyth Street, you might just miss Wayla upon first glance. With little signage pointing you in the right direction, down the steps is a secret Thai restaurant and bar oasis that’s not to be missed. The dark and cavernous spot joins the growing number of nightlife restaurants-slash-bar destinations in the area, with plenty of tricks up its sleeve to set it apart from the pack. One sleight of hand is the secret yard, decorated with patterned rugs, outdoor chairs and charming lighting.

  • Restaurants
  • Mexican
  • Noho
  • price 3 of 4

Taking cues from the community-focused restaurants of Mexico City, the venue features sleek black and oakwood furniture, a white terrazzo bar and verdant vegetation lining the walls. The wide windows give you a view indoors, but sitting outside is just as pleasing. The slick environment offering excellent cocktails and a more nuanced look at Mexican and Central American fare will impress your date. 

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  • Restaurants
  • Indonesian
  • Nolita

Chef Cédric Vongerichten and his wife Ochi’s ode to Indonesian and French food is filled with lovey-dovey design touches, such as teak carvings, antiques and leather chairs, in a room that feels like a slice of Bali landed in Manhattan: The stage is set for fusion cuisine done right. Don’t believe us? Try the steamed black sea bass spiked with chili-calamansi vinaigrette or the skewers of chicken satay dipped in a rich peanut sauce.

  • Restaurants
  • Italian
  • Greenwich Village
  • price 3 of 4

At this more fantastical set piece than history-bound throwback, expect to have a romantic evening that also kind of feels like a performance. Carbone is a hyped-up spin on a vanishing form, a restaurant where, bread sticks to bowties, everything looks, tastes and feels like much more of itself. This modern take on the old-school Italian red sauce joint is larger than life both in its atmosphere, prices and portion sizes.

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  • Restaurants
  • Contemporary European
  • West Village
This simply-designed space is romantic but not overly so, falling somewhere between sophisticated and relaxed. The outdoor space isn't quite like the interior, but when the weather is nice and you catch a glimpse of the sunset, it's equally appealing. Chefs Clare de Boer and Jess Shadbolt—both alums of London’s famed River Café—don’t hide behind over-the-top plating techniques, instead serving a vegetable-heavy hit list that complements the meat and fish courses. (The carta di musica, a crackly flatbread, is irresistible.) The daily-changing menu means you’ll never get bored of dining here.
  • Bars
  • Wine bars
  • Williamsburg
  • price 2 of 4

At this Williamsburg spot owned by LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy, dishes change daily—the perfect conversation starter for a date. Pair your dishes with one of the restaurant's many magnificent wine pours to really get the romance flowing.

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  • Restaurants
  • Red Hook

Billy Durney’s low-key spot draws inspiration from stalwarts like Peter Luger and McSorley’s, and the vibe is equally nostalgic and sexy—even while you’re devouring the popular, if hefty, dry-aged burger at the handsome bar. The staff will make you feel at home whether you order a dark ale or a glass of funky natural wine. Expect a night that eschews prim-and-proper etiquette for a more laid-back dining experience just off Van Brunt Street.

  • Restaurants
  • American
  • West Village
  • price 4 of 4

This 1767 carriage house once owned by former vice president Aaron Burr has been serving up romantic dinners since 1973—long before Hamilton debuted on Broadway. It routinely makes the list of most-romantic restaurants all over the world, and for good reason. You can opt for the three-course prix fixe or seven-course tasting menu, featuring scallops, beef wellington and chocolate souffle, indoors or in the restaurant’s dreamy garden.

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Kyma - Flatiron
  • Restaurants
  • Greek
  • Flatiron
  • price 3 of 4

The classic Greek flavors at this Flatiron restaurant will make you and your date feel like you’ve just stepped into a romantic taverna on the island of Mykonos. If you sit outside, you’ll get a taste of the Mediterranean, too: Think winding branches, twinkling lights, and blue hydrangeas.

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