The Best Restaurants for a First Date in New York City

Hotels Above Par and Coffee Meets Bagel have teamed up to hand-pick the most romantic restaurants and bars to take your next first date to in New York City. From Brooklyn’s Williamsburg to Manhattan’s Chelsea, our recommendations await below.

Credit: Michael Tulipan

Syndicated (Bushwick)

Syndicated in Bushwick is a movie theater, bar, and restaurant. Their 60-seat indoor cinema offers full service, so you can watch the movie while ordering food & drink from a server. Films here range from classics to new-age indie. The best part: It doesn’t break the bank, and you’ll earn major points with your date since you planned such a creative outing.

Credit: Eric Medsker

El Quijote (Chelsea)

Originally opened in 1930, El Quijote on the bottom floor of Hotel Chelsea serves up delicious Spanish food. Its pedigree has welcomed a wealth of celebrities: Bob Dylan and Andy Warhol are just two of the many stars who have sipped sangria here. Red leather booths and a glass art piece depicting Don Quixote elicit moody Spain vibes that spawn canoodling moments.

Credit: Nicole Franzen

Wayla (Lower East Side)

Wayla in Manhattan’s Lower East Side neighborhood offers tasty Thai food. The patio is kitted out with wicker chairs, rubber plants, and fun rugs. Between its delicious food and charming outdoor atmosphere, this spot is practically made for summertime dates. 

French Louie (Boerum Hill)

French Louie serves French-American fare for dinner and weekend brunch. If brunch is your love language (like us), heed our advice when we tell you that you and your date should absolutely share the Crème Brulée French Toast. When temperatures warm, bae or no bae, sit in the restaurant’s beguiling courtyard for a pleasant experience.

The Tin Building by Jean-Georges (Seaport District)

Date night couples with different tastebuds can elect to head to the Seaport District’s Tin Building by Jean-Georges, a 12-restaurant food hall that feels bougie even though it doesn’t break the bank. It’s perfect for those who are craving something gastronomically different than their date: One person might have a hankering for tacos, so they end up heading to Mexican food-equipped Taquito, whereas the other might be set on noodles and that leads them to Asian eatery, Ramen — or maybe they want to skip all things savory and opt for dessert, there’s a place for that too. After eating their respective meals together in the common seating area, pairs can grab some vino at the Wine Bar, or, if in the mood for imbibing, at the sleek Cocktail Bar for creative libations.

Silver Lining Lounge (Lower East Side)

A sexy piano bar inspired by Andy Warhol’s Silver Factory, Silver Lining Lounge at the Moxy Lower East Side will impress your date through and throughout. The swanky décor sports blue velvet chairs and low lighting, evoking a moody modish vibe that pairs sultrily with the soundtrack of a live pianist. Fun bites fill the menu, from Chicken Katsu Nuggets to Spicy Tuna Tartare. Cocktail-wise, you’ll love the Violet Underground, which comprises New Amsterdam Vodka, Bombay Gin, ginger, blueberry, lime, and violet.

LaRina Pastificio & Vino (Fort Greene)

LaRina Pastificio & Vino in Fort Greene is a winning trifecta where fantastic Italian food, wallet-friendly prices, and a charming patio conjoin, resulting in the ultimate date night spot. Entertain our thought process here when we say pasta and romance go hand in hand.

Credit: Liz Clayman

Bar Blondeau (Williamsburg)

Bar Blondeau is a trés chic (& trés romantic) bar on the sixth floor of the Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg. The Manhattan skyline views are “above par,” to say the least. Expect an assemblage of reasonably priced cocktails, bottles of wine from up-and-coming varietal regions, and seafood delights that take cues of inspiration from French, Portuguese, and Spanish cuisines.

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