Now, before I get to my date spot rec list, I want to preface the kind of dater I am.
For food-forward dates:
For first dates, I used to prefer lively vibes instead of awkwardly intimate spots. I love going to fun restaurants or bars with unique cuisines, and authentic experiences. I also love going on full blown adventures that have nothing to do with food. For example, my husband and I went to a medieval festival for our 3rd date.
Alas, this article is about restaurants and bars, so I will keep it strictly about that! I still am an adventurous dater, and my husband and I still to go on adventures together.
But, I will say, I do think there are different dates for different stages of relationships. I also think there are different dates for different tastes.
For example, first dates for me except when I met my husband! I have divided this article into two different sections: drinks-forward, and food-forward. Usually, any food-forward spot has a great drink selection. I also want to preface that these are my opinions, and I am a relatively happy diner and drinker. Unless you serve me gluten-free bread and alcohol-less wine, I will most likely have a great time.
Dante is that nice balance of refined and casual, with a hip and busy geographic location. I went here for light bites and negronis with a fellow foodie. It was a good choice. I filmed an episode of Sipping with Skyler at the Wayland, and I immediately thought it would be the perfect spot for a first date.
The atmosphere is cozy and cool, the cocktails are creative, and they have a menu with classic shareable American comfort food dishes. This is the place for an efficient drinks-based first date, with a side of light bites. The vibes are casual and romantic, but Pierre Loti is usually very busy, which obviously makes a first date less awkward. I have only been to the Gramercy location, which I recommend and have linked above.
If you are not a wine drinker or a cheese eater, please skip this recommendation and move onto the next one. This speakeasy is for the swanky cocktail lovers out there in the world.
The perfect first date spots can be hard to find, so we put them all in one place for you.
I recommend Dear Irving for drinks and atmosphere. On the menu, there are lots of exotic cocktails. I went here with Sebastian early on in our relationship, and I honestly forget if there is food. To be fully transparent, I went here on a friend date after a breakup. The Penrose is one of my favorites. Great cocktails, great comfort food, and fun vibes. I also had the most awkward hinge date of my life here, but it would have been x more awkward if I were somewhere else.
If you want a lively bar to enjoy a drink with a first date and assess the potential of the relationship, this is definitely the place. This place is an experience. You get drinks and a show. Sebastian and I went to a burlesque show here one time and it was a lot of fun! This small bar in the East Village has character and cozy vibes, but it also just radiates coolness. You also can order comfort foods… like a pickle tasting or a grilled cheese.
From my dating history, I found that the food-forward date spots were more for the third-fifth date. Please note: they are in no particular order.
25 cheap date ideas in new york city that aren't dinner or drinks
Go here for a Georgian food adventure. You must get the khachapuri to share, and then take it from there. The restaurant is authentically Georgian we had it verified by one of our Georgian friends with delicious comforting dishes and a Georgian wine selection. The vibes are fun and it is almost always crowded on the weekend. In addition to the khachapuri, we ordered the cornish hen and some dumplings. Sebastian and I went to the East Village location this past weekend and had the best time!
Can you tell I like to be adventurous with my dining date spots?!
I love the idea of trying new things together. This filipino spot is hip, lively and the food is authentic, creative and delicious. There are a few Westville locations around the city, but each of them is pretty small with a casual, cozy vibe. I once went on a third date here and it felt like the perfect place. Palma is romantic, hip, cozy and cute, with good Italian food. Also primely located for going out afterwards.
Cafe Mogador is a casual and cozy Moroccan restaurant in the East Village they also have a Brookyln location that is good for a dinner, lunch or brunch date.
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You can get a lamb tagine, or you can get a chicken kebab. You can even get pancakes. The choice is yours. No matter if you are on your first date, third date, or th date, it has lively vibes, a fun American-comfort food menu, and a reliable drink selection. I love this place for a good late lunch because you miss the crowds.
There are also multiple locations. Great for anyone visiting the city and trying to find a place to go on a date. This East Village restaurant is full of fun — fun dishes, drinks and vibes. Think: alcoholic glow in the dark Capri Suns. If you like a good dining and drinking adventure, Thursday Kitchen is the place. Cute, romantic atmosphere, delicious food, and prime location? me up.
The bar is cute and the restaurant is also adorable with 28 seats and an intimate setting.
Talk about charming. An oldie but a goodie! This intimate Lower East Side spot opened back in ish and was super famous on Instagram for its chicken and waffle sliders. This is not the place. To get to the hidden downstairs restaurant, you go through the kitchen and find yourself in another world downstairs.
Let me just say this: the food is overpriced for what it is, but I went here with Sebastian and we had a good time because it was just a fun experience! Use your judgement on what you like. Romantic French dinner date in a West Village Townhouse? Casual bar for wine and small plates? Bobo offers both, but I do recommend coming here for dinner. Seb and I came here a few years ago and dined in the intimate upstairs dining room. It was fun and romantic at the same time.
This Ukranian diner is a classic, and the old school, no-frills vibe is oddly romantic in a fun way. Also, this is a great late night date spot if you want to have a sit down meal instead of a dollar slice. But I highly recommend going authentic Ukranian if you come to Veselka.
Yes, I am embarrassing and one time got pancakes. Once upon a time, on our third date, Sebastian and I went to the Bronx Little Italy and enjoyed a delicious Italian meal and wine tasting. I mean, we brown bagged a wine bottle in an uber and went to a party.
It was an epic night, and such a fun experience. Walk into any restaurant and get one dish. Pay cash and move onto the next. This is a true AF Hong Kong dim sum experience.