Those who claim that Paris and Venice are the most romantic cities in the world haven’t been to New York. Here you can find romance at its finest: raw poetry of music, art, and nature that become love songs and happily ever afters.
And for those of us who mingle and fall in love over food, romantic restaurants are on every corner. Dim lighting and delicate dishes highlight passion and glasses of wine.
Image strolling through Rockefeller Center and Washington Square Park during the winter, cozying up next to your significant other to warm up as you watch Christmas lights brighten up the streets. Or a summer picnic at Central Park, biking down Park Avenue, and shopping at small boutiques in Soho.
And of course, dinner is necessary after so much romance. So here’s our list of the most romantic restaurants in NYC, where everything is a natural aphrodisiac.
One If By Land, Two If By Sea (West Village)
One if by Land, Two if by Sea is one of the most romantic restaurants in NYC and probably in the world. The old carriage house now serves as a dining room, and so does the garden outside, making you feel like you’re inside a fairytale. Candles and brick fireplaces are part of the deal.
Serving exceptional food since 1973, the establishment gives you the option of choosing between a three-course or seven-course meal. You can taste some classics like beef Wellington and scallops and finish off with a chocolate souffle. The brunch menu here is also famous.
Cosme was once the highest-ranked American restaurant on the World’s 50 Best List, and a spoonful of their husk meringue will make you understand why. Here, most dishes are small, and you can come for a date night to try and share everything on the menu.
With a Mexican-inspired menu, try classics like cobia al pastor and the house famous duck carnitas. Rumor has it that Barack and Michelle Obama liked to come here for meals when in New York.
River Café (Dumbo)
The River Café sits by the water and offers amazing views of the Manhattan skyline under the Brooklyn Bridge. There is nothing more romantic than a candlelit dinner by the river on a warm summer night. Here, you can experience that while eating New American dishes like scallops, crispy duck breast, and roasted rabbit.
Savor their cocktails or maybe a glass of some of the best wines. You may need to dress up a bit, but it’s worth the effort.
Il Buco (NoHo)
Il Buco is that sort of small restaurant that reminds you of small towns in Italy, where you know the food will taste like it was home-cooked by your grandma. Visit the wine cellar, probably the most romantic part of the place. Then dine on the open-air terrace surrounded by dim, golden lights.
The menu is seasonal and ever-changing, always serving the best and freshest ingredients to make dishes like risotto with bleu cheese cream, croquetas with cured salt cod fritters, and Spanish bean soup.
La Grenouille (Midtown East)
La Grenouille (3 E 52nd St.) is the perfect stereotype of a romantic restaurant—they even serve French food, so you know they’re serious about romance. The red seats and flowers spread across the dining room create passion by themselves, and you won’t have to do much to have a romantic dinner. Steak tartare and chicken cooked with Champagne are just two examples of the classics served on the fixed-price menu.
Le Bernadin (Midtown)
Le Bernadin is a three Michelin star restaurant ideal for those who want the ultimate luxurious dining experience. Here, simplicity is key, with an approach to seafood that highlights the fish as the star of every plate.
For Valentine’s Day, they offer fixed price and tasting menus in the dining room. Savor freshness and class during a multi-course dining experience.
The interior design is decorated with fancy woodwork and flower arrangements, creating an elite environment perfect for a date night.
Le Coucou (Soho)
Le Coucou is a French restaurant in Soho that enchants with its decor. A candle chandelier hangs over a marble-topped bar, right by huge windows covering an entire wall and letting natural light in. The ceiling and walls are painted to make you feel like you’re inside Versailles, and the food makes you feel like French royalty.
French classics like halibut with butter and rabbit are part of the menu, followed by digestive cognac doses. You don’t need to dress up all the way to dine here. However, try to avoid shorts, flip-flops, and tank tops.
The Four Horsemen (Williamsburg)
The menu at The Four Horsemen changes daily, which is a real magic trick since they manage to always create something intriguing and delicious. Once you pair the food with any of the house wine pours, you’ll have the perfect date.
Sit anywhere from the bar counter to the back dining rooms with views of the kitchen. We guarantee you will have an intimate and intriguing dining experience.
Daniel (Lenox Hill)
Daniel offers French food inspired by Provençal freshness. The result is a fixed price menu with some of the most exclusive and luxurious dishes in the city.
There is an outdoor dining area on the terrace where you can enjoy the spring air of New York while indulging in delicate presentations of food. Guests consistently praise the service and seafood here.
June (Carroll Gardens)
June is perfect for wine lovers who want to know what it was like to live in Paris in the 1920s among poets and artists like Hemingway and Picasso.
This place was the one that introduced natural wines to the Brooklyn palate. They now serve large dishes under small carnival-like globe lights. Share plates like whipped ricotta while sipping on any of the dozens of wine bottles sold in the restaurant.
L’Artusi (West Village)
L’Artusi is proof that a restaurant does not need to be tiny to be romantic. This two-story venue offers traditional seating options and the opportunity to dine at the cheese bar while you savor delicate cocktails. Maybe even sit at the chef’s counter and get front-row seats to the open kitchen, where you can watch as they prepare Italian dishes.
Pair your wagyu carpaccio with a complex Italian wine from the extensive beverage list, or go for the venison osso buco or any of the pasta dishes on the menu.
If you’re down for a Lady and the Tramp kiss over a big bowl of fresh spaghetti, this is your spot. Lilia, one of the most romantic restaurants in NYC, makes some of the best pasta in Brooklyn, and striking up a conversation over some rigatoni or pappardelle is the perfect date-night plan, followed by a juicy lamb steak plate.
They also have heated private tents for you to sit outside on those cold winter nights. Sip on Negronis and try the delicious mafaldini pasta with Parmigiano Reggiano and pink peppercorns.
Don Angie (West Village)
The history of Don Angie is already a love story, so it’s no wonder this is one of the most romantic restaurants in NYC. Two chefs fell for each other in 2010 and, seven years later, opened a venue together. Serving Italian-American foods like the famous lasagna for two, the venue charms its customers with black and white marble floors, a bright interior, and clean decor.
Their modern way of preparing Americana red sauce has granted them a Michelin star, and the house mezcal-braised chicken cacciatore or vitello tonnato proves that the couple is doing a great job in elevating immigrant cuisine.
Frevo (Greenwich Village)
Frevo is a small restaurant hidden behind an art gallery in Greenwich Village. The counter, which fits only 14 people, surrounds the open kitchen, where you can watch the chef and his team craft Brazilian and Portuguese-inspired dishes. The French-style tasting menu changes every season, and you can taste creative interpretations of classic dishes for a fixed price.
The decor encompasses various shades of gray and dim lighting from candles, creating an elegant and exclusive environment. Easily one of the most romantic restaurants in NYC!
Camila has lived in New York for over six years. Writing about food, drinks, and travel, she has moved around the city gathering tales, flavors, and restaurant recommendations for her fellow explorers. A lover of bars and baos, Camila can introduce you to the most famous and best-kept secrets of New York!