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Most Romantic Restaurants for Valentine's Day

valentines card Valentine's Day is just a few weeks away, and for us New Yorkers, that means jumping on a reservation before every restaurant is fully booked for the night that tests mankind's romantic prowess. For the first post of my Valentine's series, I've compiled my ten favorite restaurants, plus one dessert spot, in New York that would win anyone's heart, plus nine more places that my friends have raved about. I know there's an exorbitant amount of Italian places on this list but what's more romantic than sharing heart-shaped ravioli while staring into your partner's eyes over a single flickering candle lighting your table?

  1. ScarpettaChelsea, $95 prix-fixe Valentine's Menu
  • Upscale Italian with small but perfectly prepared portions and the most utterly spectacular bread basket I’ve ever laid my teeth on. I couldn’t believe the sweet rolls filled with creamy cheeses and buttery salami was FREE.
  1. Scalini Fedeli, Tribeca, $75 prix-fixe or $115 tasting menu (Valentine’s menu TBD)
  • Romantic Italian (see my review here)
  1. Brushstroke, Tribeca, $135 tasting menu (Valentine’s menu TBD)
  • The best sushi I've had in New York with a great in-house sommelier. Avoid if you’ve got any after-dinner plans though because my meal (which also happened to be my first date with Dan :) was almost 3 hours long!
  1. Il Buco Alimentari and Vineria, Soho, $30-$50 per person (Valentine’s menu TBD)
  • Rustic Italian with great pork dishes from their spectacular house-cured salami platter to the Porchatta alla Romana, a fatty pork loin fried to a crispy perfection. Skip the Cacio e Pepe though if like me, you despise pasta al dente.
  1. Perry St, West Village, $108 prix-fixe Valentine's menu
  • Jean Georges gem that serves clean and classic American food in an equally clean and classic setting (see my review here).
  1. Morimoto, Chelsea/Meatpacking, $40-$70 per person (Valentine’s menu TBD)
  • Substantial portions of contemporary Asian food (see my review here)
  1. Txikito, Chelsea, $20-$40 per person (Valentine’s menu TBD)
  • Authentic Basque tapas with a gazillion choices. I personally loved the Txitxiki, a chorizo hash sandwich, and the Albondigas, or mint-infused lamb meatballs, the best.
  1. Wolfgang's, Various locations in Midtown/Tribeca, $100-$150 per person (Valentine’s menu TBD)
  • Classic steakhouse with premium cuts and a variety of great staple side dishes like creamed spinach and baked potatoes. Also, the Canadian-cut bacon is to-die-for. Dan took me to the Bryan Park location on our second date :)
  1. Locanda Verde, Tribeca, $85 prix-fixe Valentine's menu
  • Urban Italian in the heart of Tribeca, where Locanda Verde serves great pasta dishes. Warning: the fire roasted garlic chicken takes forever to make.
  1. Candle Cafe West, Upper West, $20-$30 per person (Valentine’s menu TBD)
  • Calling all vegan sweethearts in New York! I was vegan for a year (don’t ask me how I did it) and this place was a godsend. Even my non-vegan friends at the time thought the food was incredible.
  1. Max Brenner, Union Square, $10-$30 per person
  • I definitely wouldn’t recommend getting dinner here, but do go for dessert if you can manage to get a table. I’m a big fan of their crepe brulees, served with a variety of ice creams, chocolate smores sundae, and the classic European fondue for two.
  1. Isola, Soho, $30-$50 per person (Valentine’s menu TBD)
  • Coastal Italian food influenced by Sicily, the Amalfi Coast and the Italian Rivera. My friend says it’s “SUPER romantic and fuckin delicious” which is all you can really ask for on Valentine’s Day, right?
  1. Trattoria Il Mulino, Flatiron, $40-$60 (Valentine’s menu TBD)
  • If you happen to choose this place for your date then come by my table and say hi! Dan and I have this Il Mulino New York spin-off reserved for our Valentine’s Day and we can’t wait to try sausage pizza with broccoli rabe and porcini ravioli with a creamy champagne truffle sauce.
  1. Marc Forgione, Tribeca, $30-$60 per person, (Valentine’s menu TBD)
  • Another rustic, barn-like Italian restaurant with classic dishes like chicken under a brick. Dan’s brother recommends grabbing a seat along the rustic, wooden shelves, which almost resemble a fireplace under the candle lanterns hanging from the ceiling.
  1. Balthazar, Nolita, $40-$60 per person (Valentine’s menu TBD)
  • My co-worker calls this place a “loud and happening French bistro” where people adore the ginormous three-tiered oyster and shellfish appetizer platter. Try the goat cheese and caramelized onion tart if you prefer something more warm and savory to start your meal with.
  1. Buvette, West Village, $20-$40 per person
  • It’s like stepping inside a timeless little French bistro. No surprise the other location is in Paris.
  1. Bouley, Tribeca, $240 for 6 course tasting menu
  • Splureworthy French with impeccable service and Michelin star demanding food. Think Jean Georges, Eleven Madison Park, and Per Se kind of dining.
  1. Blue Hill, Greenwich Village, $85 for 3 course “Farmer’s Feast” menu (Valentine’s menu TBD)
  • Countryside saloon meet metropolitan Manhattan. Blue Hill focuses on season, local produce. Like really local. As in grown in Pocantico Hill, New York, where Blue Hill has their very own manure shed to make hot compost kind of local.
  1. Toqueville, Union Square, $125 prix-fixe Valentine's menu
  • Contemporary French with hints of Asia and California influencing the menu
  1. Aquavit, Midtown East, $85 prix-fixe menu (Valentine’s menu TBD)
  • World renown Scandivanian food in a modern, minimalist setting. Don't forget to try their famous hay-smoked Gravlax.

Photo by Emily McDowell