Finding a romantic restaurant where parents can enjoy each other’s company and feel like they’re escaping the chaos of family life for a few hours is a tall order. Add in the budget of paying the babysitter and you could easily be looking at several hundred dollars just for one night out. Thankfully, it is possible for parents to have a date night in NYC without the kids (read: not going to a chain restaurant or fast casual joint) without breaking the bank. In fact, we teamed up with Total by Verizon, a no-contract carrier that also doesn’t do sacrifices, to round up the options below.Read More
18 Date Night-Approved Restaurants in NYC Perfect For Parents
We kept the cost of a babysitter in mind, too.
SERRA by Birreria
Eataly Flatiron’s rooftop space changes with the seasons, and it’s currently all dressed up for fall, so you and your partner can surround yourselves with vibrant autumn colors while staying nice and warm. The restaurant’s seasonal menu is full of hearty, warming dishes, like Casarecce al Ragu` di Funghi (Wild Hive dark rye casarecce, oyster mushroom ragù, and Fulvi Pecorino Romano) and the Insalata Autunnale con Farro (toasted farro, Italian chicories, honeycrisp apple, and cranberry vinaigrette). Pair your cozy meal with a Nebbiolo, Barolo or a cocktail like the Floating into Fall, made with bourbon, amaretto, amaro, maple syrup, and topped with maple sugar.
No. 7 Restaurant
Recently relocated after closing its original Fort Greene location, this late-night favorite is now on bustling Vanderbilt Avenue in Prospect Heights. This spot is perfect for couples looking to have a lively night out, thanks to its bar that stays open late. Menu favorites like the famous broccoli tacos are still around, but they are joined by new dishes too. For example, a fish soup made with fluke, striper and smoked trout in a saffron broth is accompanied by tobiko toast. Or, if you’re feeling a breakfast-for-dinner vibe, go with the so-called “big chicken” and a side of black truffle scrambled eggs.
When this Carroll Gardens spot opened last summer, it was an instant hit. Is it the delectable pastas, leafy patio with a vintage Vespa and jaunty striped umbrellas, or the all Italian wine list? Nobody can say for sure, but when combined they make for a truly romantic date night. Sit back, relax, order the cacio e pepe arancini, spiedini, fusilli with Nonna’s ragu, branzino, and of course save room for the tiramisu — you’re sure to both leave happy.
Haven’t you heard? Semma, the newest restaurant from Unapologetic Foods, the Indian-owned restaurant group behind Dhamaka and Masalawala & Sons, recently received a Michelin star. Semma manages to be both fun and fancy, approachable and exquisite, and unapologetically spicy (in more ways than one). Semma specializes in southern Indian food, so be sure to order the gunpowder dosa, Goanese oxtail, and the nathai pirattal, made with local Peconic snails cooked with ginger and tamarind.
Opened recently by husband-wife duo Chef Jimmy Ly and Yen Vo of Madame Vo, Monsieur Vo is their new 58-seat restaurant that acts as a love letter to the Vietnamese men in their lives and the dishes they love to eat. This translates into menu items like a deconstructed banh mi on a board, a dry chicken pho with rice noodles, and a massive beef shank inspired by the best-selling Central Vietnamese lemongrass soup Bun Bo Hue from Madame Vo. A long list of sake-based cocktails is perfect for pairing with the dishes, too.
Ras Plant Based
Whether you and your partner are vegan or not, Ras Plant Based provides delicious and interesting food that’s satiating — and well spiced. Specializing in vegan Ethiopian cuisine, if you’re new to the restaurant we suggest one of the two sampler platters, where you’ll get to try everything from their mushroom tibs to spicy lentil missir, with plenty of spongy injera bread to soak it up.
If you’re looking to give yourselves a bit of royal treatment, head to new Thai spot KRU, the brainchild of husband-and-wife team Chef Ohm Suansilphong of Fish Cheeks and Kiki Supap, a third-generation Thai dessert chef. Chef Ohm, an avid student of Thai culinary history, studied the recipe books of affluent families dating back to the 19th century and discovered recipes that were first served in Thailand’s Royal Palace and aristocracy, using international ingredients. Now KRU takes a similar cosmopolitan approach that honors tradition. A robust menu of small plates, relishes and dips, soups and stews, and large share plates mean plenty of options for an affordable night or a splurge.
This West Village spot from a few Eleven Madison Park alums opened in June and has been doing brisk business ever since. The minimalist modern room features green and earthy tones with custom banquettes in shades of cognac tanned Italian leather and golden ochre velvet, perfect for snuggling. The menu changes with the seasons and features locally sourced ingredients as much as possible, but look for Peeko oysters, Hudson Valley foie gras, and whole roasted chicken for two.
Tin Building by Jean-Georges
Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s new temple to all things French, fun and flavorful would make for an adventurous date night, filled with sampling from different stalls, markets, and restaurants, all under one utterly fabulous roof. Don’t miss the Double Yolk if you like eggs and caviar, Shikku for sushi and sake, The Frenchman’s Dough for French-inspired pizzas and pastas, and the sexy Speakeasy Chinese supper club, the Red Pearl. Buy some flowers and craft chocolate on the way out for your honey.
This lounge by Greg Baxtrom the hipper, younger cousin to his restaurant Olmsted, offers a bubbly atmosphere with the bar as the focal point, ideal for those looking to leave their parental woes behind (or at the bottom of a Sake Negroni glass). Bonus: the small space forces you to scrunch together, so go on and get close! The food is a mashup of French and Japanese, with skewers and small but shareable plates the name of the game. The tuna niçoise sashimi, cauliflower okonomiyaki, and the duck tsukune a l’Orange are menu mainstays for good reason.
Holywater may not boast waterfront views, like the Crew hospitality group’s other NYC restaurants Pilot and Grand Banks, but the nautical vibes are on in full force. The food and drinks are New Orleans inspired, and you’ll probably want to start off with a cocktail like Arnaud’s Special Cocktail or the Mezcal Hurricane. There are oysters a-plenty here, plus three versions of seafood towers if you’re looking to go all out. Otherwise, order the caviar tater tots, steak frites, and be sure to save room for the pralines, based on the brother owners’ mom’s New Orleans recipe.
Although it originally opened as an Austrian café in 2019, when Chef Kate Telfeyan (previously of Mission Chinese) took over she updated the all-day menu with items influenced by Korean, Taiwanese, and Sichuan cuisines. Now it includes nori fried pork chops, black pepper prawns with Korean rice cakes, and hot and sour potatoes in the evenings. Oh, and in case you haven’t heard, The Irishman was filmed here — so you know it’s got an interesting design.
Dept. of Culture
If you and your SO are into Nigerian food — or always wanted to try it — this new spot offers a tasting menu inspired by North-Central Nigerian cuisine. Dept. of Culture was born out of the IYA EBA popup dinner series, hosted by Ayo Balogun of the Council Café, and now it offers a dinner party vibe in an intimate Bed-Stuy space. On the $90 four-course menu are Nigerian specialities that might include pepper soup and okele.
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This petite restaurant on a quiet side street feels effortlessly romantic and cozy — it’s the kind of place that makes you feel young and cool for discovering it, even though you have littles at home. You’ll be transported to an Italian wine bar the moment you sit down and the (likely Italian) waiter hands you a well-worn menu of classic antipasti and pastas, along with a long list of mostly natural wines. Of course, they will gladly make some recommendations - and they will all be perfetto!
If you have any doubts about the stylishness of Hungarian food, they will be quelled immediately upon entry to Agi’s Counter. Bouquets of hanging dried flowers, a terrazzo bar, and brightly patterned dishes greet you, while a menu of comfort food beckons. Dinner is a fairly new offering here, and it includes things like pastrami tongue Caesar, duck borscht chicken liver mousse, and a spin on spaetzle, made with hazelnuts and dandelion greens cooked with chili and garlic. Dessert is a must — whatever’s in the pastry case is sure to be a winner, or call for the sundae made with poppy seed ice cream and plum caramel.
Definitely one of the city’s most romantic restaurants, Il Buco will bring you back to your pre-children days when you could loll at a table, sip on bottomless glasses of wine, and nipple on on the housemade sourdough bread with an olive oil sampler and handmade salumi while waiting for the pasta course. (The torchio pasta with duck sausage or the spaghetti with swordfish, perhaps?) You can easily fill up on apps and pastas, but if you’re going all out, you should enjoy veal and Wagyu beef from Provitello Farm, Bella Bella Farm chicken, or Atlantic Wild King Salmon.
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Astoria recently scored a classy Turkish restaurant perfect for date nights that won’t empty your wallet. The traditional menu features a variety of doughy pides, pillowy manti, juicy kofte and kebabs, plus a range of mezze that you can easily make a meal out of. Save room for the homemade baklava and gooey knafeh.
This cozy Greenpoint space inside an old laundromat (hence the name) features candlelit tables and spare furnishings, plus an open kitchen to watch the action. The twist? Instead of an in-house chef, it hosts a rotating residency of chefs from around the world, some of whom have previously held stints at their original Paris location, and each offers a pre-fixe menu for $85. Currently holding court in the kitchen is former chef de cuisine of Septime and Double Dragon in Paris, Antoine Villard.
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