The 10 Best Dine & Date Spots in Manhattan

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Whether it’s a first date, first anniversary, or you just need an elegant dinner option, here’s our list of the most charming and trendy spots for a romantic evening in Manhattan.


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Malatesta

649 Washington Street, New York, NY 10014
212-741-1207

A perfect first-date location if there ever was one.  High ceilings, twirling fans, and the simple wooden tables draped in kraft paper conveys that relaxed quality that every anxious online dater wishes to exude.  There is a wide variety of Italian based offerings including a spinach gnocchi that is one of the best in the Village. Modest prices keep the evening moving along, and with $15 carafes of wine, you’ll be toasting with your date well into the evening.

Lillie’s

13 East 17th Street, New York, NY 10003
212-337-1970

Lillie’s combines an authentic, ostentatious decor with a down-to-earth, mellow ambiance, that represents one of the last great Victorian “gin palaces” that once flourished in the industrial cities of Northern Ireland and England.  Ornate wooden carvings and antiquities accent the space well, as does the long, white marble-topped bar.  The food is simple Irish-American fare, but sharing the Potato Leek Soup with someone is a guaranteed bonding experience.

Degustation

239 East 5th Street, New York, NY 10003
212-979-1012

Degustation presents a provocative menu of Iberian, French and American influenced cuisine in a dynamic yet intimate bar setting, with an open kitchen.  This nineteen-seat space isn’t your ordinary tapas bar with its reverential service, frequent changes of silverware, and assorted other flourishes.  As the chef personally delivers  food to you and your date, there’s the impression that you are in elite company.

Xai Xai

365 West 51st Street, New York, NY 10018
212-541-9241

At this South African wine bar (meaning “shy shy”), African masks peer down from the walls, sanded-wood columns reach up to the ceiling, and clumps of driftwood rest in the corners. The corner booths, under dim lighting, are where you’ll want to spend a romantic evening with a date.  Especially given the spotty date-night locations in Hell’s Kitchen, Xai Xai offers a distinctly memorable experience.

Ardesia

510 West 52nd Street, New York, NY 10019
212-247-9191

This sleek new watering hole combines fine-dining rigor with a laid-back setting.  On the ground floor of the LEED-certified Archstone Clinton complex, there’s a 30-seat patio, a banquette-lined lounge, and a Venetian-marble bar backed by a two-story wine wall.  It’s one of the definite advantages to date night at a wine bar: the vast selection of drinks offers an easy conversation starter and way to get better acquainted.

The Place

310 West 4th Street, New York, NY 10014
212-924-2711

The intimate, stone-lined, wood-beamed rooms of The Place are a conversation friendly setting for any manner of romantic evening.  An outdoor terrace and indoor fireplace offers diners the opportunity to stay awhile, regardless of the season or weather, with the menu constructed from only the freshest, hand picked market ingredients.  There are a plethora of exquisite date spots in the West Village, but The Place is a uniquely realized locale and a must-visit.

Hill & Dale

115 Allen Street, New York, NY 10002
212-420-1115

Few places can make you fell like you’ve left New York City behind like H&D.  It’s a wondrous mix of miscellany: honeycomb-mirrored ceilings, a wrought-iron chandelier, long mahogany bar, Persian rugs and snug wooden booths, a functioning Victrola, record cylinders, and the RCA dog listening to “His Master’s Voice” over the bar.  The menu is an updated take on twenties and thirties Americana: organic deviled eggs that are either served plain, mixed with smoked trout, or crowned with pork belly.

Jones Wood Foundry

401 East 76th Street, New York, NY 10021
212-249-2700

This three-tiered space reflects the demeanor of a proper countryside pub, housing a spacious wine-and-beer bar, a sky-lit exposed-brick communal hall (overlooking a garden), and a full wood-paneled dining room. It’s rustic with a touch of rock and roll, antler-adorned mirrors hanging alongside a Sex Pistols poster.  A nice choice if you don’t want to make a fuss, or if your date’s tastes are best satisfied by Bangers and Mash with a lager.

Cherry

355 West 16th Street, New York, NY 10011
212-929-5800

The ambiance of this subterranean French-Japanese spot is evident in the velvety lounge-like space: textured beige wallpaper, plush banquette seating, and photos of samurai and geisha as accents. Service includes formal flourishes like hot oshiburi towels and chopsticks balanced on smooth stones, but Cherry still has the group party vibe of the meatpacking district.  It’s an excellent mesh of romance and energy that would be perfect for a first date.

Shalel Lounge

65 West 70th Street, New York, NY 10023‎
212-873-2300

An underground lounge where dark nooks & a waterfall lend a romantic, intimate vibe.   A candlelit stairway leads down to Shalel’s cavernous, Moroccan-inspired space.  Arabesque lanterns and lots of votives provide perfect illumination for couples nestled amongst sequined pillows on low banquettes.  A wide selection of wine, beer, and exquisite Moroccan cuisine ensure that this is an excellent late-night date spot.

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