Feature

The Most Romantic New Restaurants in 10 NYC Neighborhoods

By Kelly Dobkin  |  February 9, 2016
Credit: Whitney Tressel

Sure there are the usual romantic V-Day go-tos, but with so many exciting restaurant openings in the past year, why not try something new? We've rounded up the best new romantic restaurants in 10 neighborhoods around NYC. Which, mind you, are un-cheesy enough to be enjoyed by singletons everywhere as well.

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  • Williamsburg: Lilia

    ​A restaurant built inside a former auto body shop may not sound like the description of Williamsburg's most romantic new restaurant, but a peek inside the extra-large windows on a recent Saturday night has us convinced: the candelit vibe inside Missy Robbins' new Italian hot spot is positively seductive. Spoil any lucky date with plates of housemade pastas like the Rigatoni Diavola with San Marzano tomatoes, chillies, oregano and Pecorinol or the pappardelle with veal Bolognese, porcini and nutmeg.

    567 Union Ave., Brooklyn; 718-576-3095

  • East Village: Virginia's

    This cozy new neighborhood standby from Christian Ramos (Per Se) and Reed Adelson (Locanda Verde) was inspired by European bistros and is dotted with framed vintage menus from famous restaurants of yesteryear like Troisgras and Chanterelle. Snag the corner window booth and indulge in a three-course $55 prix fixe menu on Valentine's Day that includes dry-aged rib-eye with sunchokes and bone-marrow vinaigrette; and handmade raviolo with mushroom cream and fines herbes. More info and menu here.

    647 E. 11th St.; 212-658-0182

  • Credit: Whitney Tressel

    NoHo: ACME

    The recently reopened hot spot (now serving Italian- and French- leaning American cuisine) from chef Brian Loiacono will offer a special Valentine's Day menu on both Saturday, February 13 and Sunday, February 14 for $70 (the sole menu option on the latter date). The four-course menu includes dishes like veal agnolotti with Salva Cremasco and truffle; and a beef duo that includes tenderloin and brasied short ribs, served with caramelized endive and potato gratin. Finish with a late-night drink downstairs at the sexy subterranean cocktail bar.

    9 Great Jones St.; 212-203-2121

  • Greenpoint: Cassette

    This French-Catalonian-inspired charmer on Franklin Street is brought to you by Rucola's ​Henry Rich and chef Joe Pasqualetto along with Kickstarter co-founder Perry Chen (offices are around the corner). Charming European-inspired details including a stained-glass window and vintage light fixtures make it atmospheric for a casual date. In addition to regular menu items, the spot is offering specials for two for both brunch and dinner as well as splits of bubbly. Call for details.

    113 Franklin St., Brooklyn; 347-682-4111

  • West Village: Via Carota

    ​​A literal labor of love for chef power couple Jody Williams and Rita Sodi, Via Carota is located down the street from the pair's respective West Village eateries, Buvette and I Sodi. Named for a Tuscan street that Sodi once lived on (with charming rustic decor to match), Via Carota is a casual neighborhood Italian spot whose menu is broken up fairly traditionally into sections like fish, veggies, pastas and meats with an antipasti menu allowing a mix-and-match tasting of salumi, cheese and crostini items (available in three, five or seven plates). 

    51 Grove St.; 212-255-1962

  • Brooklyn Heights: Le Boudoir

    A Marie Antoinette–inspired hideaway with a secret entrance? It doesn't get more romantic than that. Behind a bookshelf inside the beloved neighborhood spot Chez Moi is a staircase that leads to this rococo-inspired bar and eatery with small plates like frogs' legs and pâté. You can eat a full meal upstairs at Chez Moi (V-Day menu here) and then afterward, head downstairs to share the Cocktail Pour Doux ($25) made with tequila, hibiscus syrup, vanilla, lemon and star anise and served in an ornate glass as well as chocolate fondue, served with seasonal fruits and housemade cookies. 

    135 Atlantic Ave., Brooklyn, underground; 347-227-8337

  • Credit: Todd France

    Harlem: Mountain Bird

    After a summer pop-up, the previously shuttered Harlem hot spot Mountain Bird has taken up permanent residency on the ground floor of catering company Tastings Social. Chef Kenichi's fowl-forward dishes include must-try foie gras dumplings in chicken consommé that's both rich and comforting for fall. Rustic wood accents, glass chandeliers and candles make it a perfect date spot. 

    ​251 E. 110th St.; 212-744-4422

  • Lower East Side: Lowlife

    This newcomer from chef Alex Leonard, former chef de cuisine of Blanca, and owner Hugh Crickmore, former partner of Mas (farmhouse), is perfect for the downtown, art-leaning couple who aren't looking for drippy candles and sappy music. The large floor-through space has a midcentury-modern feel with exposed-brick walls, Jens Risom chairs, yellow pinewood tables and a blue vintage aluminum chandelier. A 10-seat bar and a 10-seat chef's counter provide additional seating options; the latter with a view of the action in the kitchen. The walls are lined with sconces and artwork from Angel Otero and Rebecca Chamberlain along with an original Robert Rauschenberg lithograph (Crickmore has art-world connections.)  The regular menu will be served on Valentine's Day, which includes items like lamb tartare and poached lobster with salsify and tarragon.

    178 Stanton St.; 212-257-0509

  • SoHo: Combina

    ​Chef Einat Admony's Israeli-Spanish mash-up is small, cozy and aglow with candles as the open kitchen churns out plates of mujaddara paella and sabich tostada. For V-day, specials include dry-aged bone-in ribeye for two; papas bravas, eggplant escabeche, and za'atar chimichurri.

    330 W. Broadway; 212-226-1248

  • Upper East Side: Vaucluse

    Michael White's French stunner from Altamarea group is located in a romantic converted townhouse and features white tablecloths and cozy beige and blue banquettes. A four-course prix fixe for $150 includes items like poireaux vinaigrette, epaulettes, roasted chicken and boeuf tournedo. Check out the special Valentine's Day menu here.

    100 E. 63rd St.; 646-869-2300