Heads up! We’re working hard to be accurate – but these are unusual times, so please always check before heading out.
Sure, the most romantic NYC spots will still probably make for excellent date nights. But if you’re looking to mix things up, try one of these lesser-known, up-and-coming destinations instead.
You know: Rainbow Room
You want to impress your date with those breathtaking skyline views, but the Rainbow Room is too expensive (and now tends to host only private events). Instead, take a smooth elevator ride to the 60th floor. Danny Meyer’s Manhatta has received rave reviews for its expansive city vistas and relatively affordable (at $78) three-course prix-fixe menu, which manages to be refined but not stuffy.
Financial District (manhattarestaurant.com)
You know: Gramercy Tavern
Try: The Grill
Ding ding! Two behemoths go head to head: Danny Meyer vs. Major Food. While we adore Meyer, his Gramercy Tavern has been around for 25 years and it’s always nice to try something new. If you want another fine-dining experience that’s grand but not froufrou, head a little farther uptown to the Grill, where you can dig into unparalleled food (we like the signature slab of prime rib) and still be swept up in an atmosphere of sleek sophistication.
Midtown East (thegrillnewyork.com)
You know: One if by Land, Two if by Sea
Try: The Waverly Inn
If you’ve called on this candlelit 18th-century hideaway before, you probably associate date night with ghost sightings. So, why not return to the same nabe for a similarly unearthly encounter at the 1844-built Waverly Inn? Grab a drink and commune with spirits beside the crackling fireplace or sit in the skylight-covered backyard garden, one of the loveliest haunts in the city.
West Village (waverlynyc.com)
You know: The Polo Bar
Hip, monied uptowners, meet your downtown match. Both restaurants envelop you in a world of swank elegance but offer crowd-pleasing plates. If you’ve trotted to the equestrian wonderland of the Polo Bar, you and your amour will feel equally at home at the Gallic brasserie Frenchette, which is outfitted in handsome wood paneling, plush booths and warm lighting. Pro tip: Order the chicken dish for two, ideal for a date night.
You know: Il Buco
Try: Don Angie
Italian restaurants conjure up images of Lady and the Tramp spaghetti bowls and bottles of vino that lead to tipsy sweet nothings. The vintage-rustic charm of Il Buco, a Noho standby, can be swapped with the trendy, midcentury allure of this West Village corner spot. The dishes are hearty yet inventive (order Our Lasagna for Two), and the scene hews closer to 2019 than 1920.
West Village (donangie.com)
You know: La Grenouille
Try: RH Rooftop Restaurant
If your vibe is OTT, your first instinct may be to book a table at La Grenouille, the dolled-up French institution that practically invented the wine-and-dine. Instead, go for an updated flair: RH Rooftop boasts slate-gray banquettes instead of red velvet ones, potted trees in place of bridal flower arrangements and, rather than wall-to-wall mirrors, twinkling crystal chandeliers to lend some sparkle to your evening.
Meatpacking District (rh.com)