In a city so large and bursting with people and activities, it’s nice to take some time away and plan a date night. Yes, it’s possible to find a spot for a quiet meal in New York City. Leave your phones at home and actually spend the evening talking, not texting.
This small Italian wine bar and restaurant specializes in shared plates and homemade pastas. From 5-6:30 p.m. daily, take advantage of $4.50 drafts and wine and free appetizers at the bar; I love their Aperol Spritz. The cavatelli and veal meatballs are excellent. Even sitting at the bar is an intimate, relaxing experience: Think rustic farmhouse with urban accents. 231 Mott St.
If you’re looking for high-end sushi to impress your date, look no further — the fish here is consistently delicious and fresh. Start with the avocado salad or the yellowtail ceviche, then order the heart-shaped Passion Roll and share the love. Specialty rolls are north of $20 but are well worth it. From 5-7 p.m. at the bar, you’ll find $6 cocktails — go for the lychee martini. Columbus Circle & 58th Street
If you want a place with a more lively atmosphere, try Agozar’s intimate setting with a slight party vibe. Daily from 5-8 p.m. cocktails and appetizers are half-price. It’s all about tapas and sharing here, which is a great way to see if your date can compromise. Try the mahi-mahi and the sweet-and-spicy shrimp and sausage.321 Bowery
Monica DiNatale is a deals expert, food host and author of “365 Guide New York City,” a treasure trove of restaurant deals and bar specials in New York. Monica has hosted segments for The New York Chocolate Show and Craft Beer Week festivals. She dines out eight days a week in search of the best deals in the Big Apple. “365 Guide New York City” is available in paperback and e-book.