NYC insiders share their most romantic restaurants for Valentine's Day
Here's your Valentine's Day dining guide from the chefs and bartenders who know New York City's dining scene the best.
Wondering where to find the best food, atmosphere and drinks for Valentine's Day? We asked the people who know best: the chefs, bartenders and restaurateurs at some of the city's hottest spots. Their answers varied from the easy vibes of Momofuku Noodle Bar to the old-school romance of River Cafe, so you're sure to find the spot that will make your boo even sweeter on you.
“I really like Lafayette (380 Lafayette St., NoHo). I like the vibe, the room, something about it — perfect lighting, get a nice corner spot with a view of the whole room. For me, you gotta get the beef tartare, always oysters wherever me and my wife go, and the roast chicken is fantastic." —Anthony Ricco, Leuca
“I love sushi at Zenkichi (77 N. Sixth St., Williamsburg). I’ve never been to any place like it — each booth has bamboo blinds that make it cozy and intimate and absolutely romantic, and whenever the server comes she lifts up the blinds then pulls it down. The food is great as well.” —Fallon Seymour, Pearl’s
“The River Café (1 Water St., DUMBO) remains one of New York’s most thrilling dining spots. Buzzy O’Keefe’s restaurant under the Brooklyn Bridge, with some of the city’s greatest sights makes romance the main course — full transparency, I proposed to my wife Diane here, and we still love going on our anniversary. Brunch, lunch, dinner or even just a drink at the bar, chef Brad Steelman cooks wonderful New American and the whole experience will transport you." —Michael Lomonaco, Porter House
“Blue Hill (75 Washington Place, Greenwich Village) is still great. Marea (240 Central Park S., Midtown West) is a good one also for romantic dinners, I love their crudo. Milos, a Greek seafood restaurant, has a sexy-looking dining room, a big white Mediterranean space. I also like Toro (85 10th Ave., Chelsea) for the blowfish tails with candied oranges.” —David Burke, Tavern62
“Susi and I go to Via Carota (51 Grove St.), we go to Momofuku Noodle Bar (171 First Ave.) for a loud, boisterous experience — that’s my favorite, that’s my first love of the David Chang empire.” —Mario Batali, Babbo
“I don’t stay up late, so ‘date night’ is often lunch instead of dinner. I love Del Posto (11 Madison Ave., Chelsea)for lunch — they have the prix fixe menu that’s a great option, and I think it’s very romantic. For dinner, Eleven Madison Park (11 Madison Ave., Flatiron)if you’re really gonna splurge.” —Rachel Binder, Padoca Bakery
“I like Jubilee (948 First Ave., Midtown East), a small, romantic French bistro that’s a short walk from the East River. The mussels are exceptional and it’s actually one of the first places I took my wife.” —Ben Dodaro, Haru
“Marta (29 E. 29th St.)is busy enough, there’s stuff going on, they have a great beer and wine selection. You can really feel like you’re going somewhere but you’re sharing things — who doesn’t want to share pizza on a date? You can get dressed up or go in jeans.” —Anne Becerra, Treadwell Park
“The place I’ve gone to the most for date night though, if I were to add it up over 20 years of date nights, is Babbo (110 Waverly Place). We love Babbo — I think it has the finest pasta in all of the city.” —Michael Dorf, City Vineyard
“Syndicated (40 Bogart St., Bushwick), it’s a new theater in Brooklyn with really good food that you can order while you’re watching movies — tickets are $4. Even if you’re not going to a movie, the bar is gorgeous, it’s all marble and the size of a city block.” —Seth Allen, The Late Late
“Tommy Bahama Restaurant & Bar (551 Fifth Ave., Midtown East) is nice, it’s quiet. Their catfish taco is really good. I get that to start, then they have a stuffed chicken breast with spicy sauce and mashed potatoes.” —Glenroy Brown, Maison Pickle