If you haven’t yet made a reservation for the upcoming day of love, you’re already behind — so get going. And if you’re racking your brain for an ideal reservation, we’ve got you covered. Here are the ten best places to celebrate this year.
10. Rainbow Room, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, 212-632-5000 If you’ve got a few hundred dollars to drop and you really want to pull out all the stops, head to the revamped Rainbow Room, where a few different experiences await. In the main restaurant, you’ll be served a $350 five-course prix fixe that includes items like Salad Landaise (foie gras rolled in black truffle, roasted Amish chicken, French beans, and watercress), and poached dover sole filets with peekytoe crab tortellini, artichokes, and pink grapefruit. Your reservation includes one cocktail and endless chances to spin on the rotating dance floor while you’re serenaded by a live band. Comparatively more affordable is the $225 aphrodisiac-themed tasting menu on offer in the lounge; you’ll eat caviar, raw bar items, and a chocolate tart; you’ll split a half-bottle of Champagne; and you’ll still have your chance at the dance floor.
9. Buvette, 42 Grove Street, 212-255-3590 You can’t make a reservation for Buvette, which means you’re leaving it up to chance as to whether you’ll find a table — or a spot at the bar — in a timely fashion. But we say it’s worth the gamble, especially if you’ve been dating someone for long enough to be comfortable chatting over a wait, for this West Village French bistro is fiercely charming. Share a bottle of wine and get down on some unpretentious food, like coq au vin or cassoulet. The restaurant is open until 2 a.m., which means you can linger late into the night.
8. Birds & Bubbles, 100B Forsyth Street, 646-368-9240 This new fried chicken joint is built in a multi-room space, which means that every table feels intimate. What’s more, it specializes in poultry, sure, but also Champagne, and what’s more romantic than bubbly? Pair yours to a half-bird, biscuits, and some deviled eggs, and then have chocolate peanut butter pie or a little birthday cake for dessert. [
7. Hearth, 403 East 12th Street, 646-602-1300 We tend to think of Hearth as the restaurant equivalent of a really good warm hug — it’s snug, relaxed, and comforting. It’s also a safe bet for a good date, the kind that starts with a civilized cocktail and rolls long into the evening, finishing with a digestif and a little coffee. The restaurant is offering a special prix fixe February 13 through 15, but you might want to think about the $86 tour of the menu, paired to a bottle or two of wine.
6. Bear, 12-14 31st Avenue, Queens; 917-396-4939 This Astoria restaurant is a bit off the beaten path, but you should suck up the journey and let it seduce you and your date; it’s hard to believe there’s a restaurant in the city more eager to please. This Valentine’s Day, each couple gets complimentary Champagne and chocolates, and then you can make your way through a $65 three-course menu that includes choices like beef carpaccio with golden gooseberries, scallop and lobster with lemon pasta, and rosewater and apricot dream cake. Just be forewarned — cash only.
5. The Musket Room, 265 Elizabeth Street, 212-219-0764 This New Zealand restaurant is a nice Nolita respite, and come Valentine’s Day, it’s giving you extra help in your quest to get lucky. The kitchen is serving a $125 aphrodisiac-themed six-course menu featuring dishes like mushroom soup with truffle and sweetbreads, lobster with brown butter, uni and herbs, and New Zealand red deer with flavors of gin. Seal the deal with a special bottled cocktail for two, a Negroni-meets-milk-punch riff on strawberries and chocolate.
4. The River Cafe, 1 Water Street, Brooklyn; 718-522-5200 Are you going to propose on Valentine’s Day? Perhaps at the base of the Brooklyn Bridge against a glittering backdrop of Manhattan? Not a bad plan, but you’ll need a good restaurant to clink glasses at in celebration. Your best bet is the River Cafe, which has been serving up celebration-worthy food with a panoramic view of the skyline for nearly four decades. The Champagne list is robust, and you can share a climactic finish by way of a commemorative bridge-shaped chocolate and raspberry dessert. [
3. Edi & the Wolf, 102 Avenue C, 212-598-1040 Book a table at this Austrian restaurant and you’ll be treated to a $65 prix fixe menu that includes options like tagliatelle with wild mushrooms and bone marrow, branzino with caper butter, and a black forest parfait with sour cherries and yogurt. The fairytale-like interior offers plenty of nooks and crannies for intimate conversation, and you can finish your meal with a nightcap at sibling bar the Third Man, just a block away.
2. Meadowsweet, 149 Broadway, Brooklyn; 718-384-0673 The best adjective to describe this South Williamsburg newcomer from husband-and-wife team Polo Dobkin and Stephanie Lempert: lovely. Slide into one of the nicely lit two-tops and treat your date to a $65 four-course set menu that covers options like a smoked trout crepe, tajarin with black truffle, duck breast with delicata and acorn squash, and dessert.
1. Recette, 328 West 12th Street, 212-414-3000 With its picturesque view of the West Village and warm glow, Jesse and Lindsay Schenker’s cozy restaurant is one of the most romantic in the city any night of the year. On Valentine’s Day, the restaurant is offering a $125 five-course prix fixe that includes dishes like kampachi crudo with compressed beets, finger lime, stracchino crème, caviar, and almond-onion streudel; veal tenderloin with mushroom–foie gras mille-feuille, salsify purée, and black truffle jus; and chocolate pave semifreddo with passion fruit coulis and almond crisp.