Romantic anniversary dinner in NYC on a grad student budget?
August 12, 2009 3:06 PM   Subscribe

Romantic anniversary dinner in NYC on a grad student budget?

So in about three weeks my wonderful boyfriend and I will be celebrating our fifth anniversary. Yay! We're looking for a place with great food and preferably romantic atmosphere (though not schmaltzy) in which to celebrate. We both like every type of cuisine we've ever tried (which is a lot of them). We're big fans of seafood, and if you know any place that makes magic out of duck, I'm all ears. Budget is on the small side, about $100ish for the two of us, but if there's somewhere a bit more expensive you think we must go to, just tell us why it's worth the extra! We'll go anywhere (preferably Manhattan) but bonus points if it's on the 1 line, extra bonus if it's UWS. Interesting drinks also a plus.

Apologies if this has been asked before, but I didn't find anything too similar when looking through tags. I know about Chowhound, but it's kind of overwhelming there. Thanks hivemind!
posted by ilana to Food & Drink (9 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Well, this isn't seafood exactly, but allow me to suggest Ivo & Lulu and their French-Caribbean offerings. I&L is very reasonably priced, the food is great, and it's intimate and fun and hip (or at least it was when I went there about half a year ago). It's BYOB, also (as someone not legally of drinking age, this makes it even more appealing) so if you bring a reasonable bottle of wine, you'll probably be able to do appetizers/dinners/dessert for two for about 80, potentially even much less.

Good luck and happy anniversary!
posted by MoreForMad at 3:24 PM on August 12, 2009

My wife and I love Citrus. They have good seafood, including a bunch of great sushi, and their duck dish is one of my favorite things.

I don't drink, and she does so only rarely, but they brag about their selection of tequilas, and they seem to have a robust drink menu. I've heard very good things about their mojitos and margaritas.

They are on Amsterdam and 75th, so they're very accessible from the 1 line.
posted by sleepinglion at 4:34 PM on August 12, 2009

i really like Celeste, on the Upper West Side. It's delicious and relatively cheap. Italian food. I don't know how "romantic" it is, but it's not UNromantic.
posted by pipti at 4:50 PM on August 12, 2009

Zenkichi in Williamsburg has seating that is essentially a semi-private booth, just for your party. They have a summer tasting menu that is currently priced at $48 per person.

If you prioritize food slightly more than atmosphere and are OK with counter seating in an open kitchen atmosphere, Degustation's 5 courses for $50 is one of the best deals in town. However, they don't have a liquor license, I think they serve only beer and wine.

See these for more ideas:
Birthday dinner - romantic, excellent food, budget-ish?
Romantic dinner under $50 a person?
Romantic but cheap for anniversary
Looking for recs for budget romantic dinner

In terms of amazing duck, the smoked tea duck at a Sichuan restaurant is within your price range. Out of your price range is the Roasted Long Island duck breast at the Bar Room at the Modern, the roast duck at Hearth (though I believe this is only offered during the colder months), and the Muscovy Duck at Craft, if you want a non-Asian preparation. There is also outstanding duck at Eleven Madison Park, but it's definitely out of your price range.
posted by kathryn at 4:54 PM on August 12, 2009

I used to take so many dates to the olive tree cafe. Bonus: it has a pretty famous comedy club in the cellar, perfect for dinner and a show. If not into comedy, near by is the Esperanto cafe which is a nice place for post dinner coffee or a loose leaf tea cafe called Tea Spot.

Just a little down the street is a place called Yatagans (awesome doner kebabs / falafel if on the run), try the best baklava I have ever tasted for 1 dollar a triangle.

You can also go for a walk through Washington square park before or after dinner.

Anyway, nice thing about these things in combination is they are right next to each other.
posted by Black_Umbrella at 7:31 PM on August 12, 2009 [1 favorite]

Guessing that if you're a grad student and hoping to stay on the UWS that you're in the Columbia neighborhood, which leads me to recommend:


Tucked away on LaSalle, just off B'way, in the shadow of the unromantic elevated tracks, half a block before Tieman, which is half a block south of 125th.

Really romantic rustic interior space and really excellent Northern Italian rustic cooking, nice wine list. Service can be spotty and it gets too crowded on some nights (but not in August, I bet). I think they only take cash. Two people with wine and you'd get out of there at around $70-100 (depending on the wine). Desserts are really nice. Definitely the only thing of its type uptown. It would be not particularly remarkable in the West Village, but it would hold its own, actually, with D'Andrea and the like.
posted by fourcheesemac at 8:03 PM on August 12, 2009

Oh, man. Pisticci is great, and it's an easy walk from the Columbia area.
posted by sleepinglion at 9:05 PM on August 12, 2009

New Leaf Cafe.
posted by whimsicalnymph at 4:57 PM on August 13, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks everyone! I'll mark best answer once we make our decision.

Fourcheesemac, we love Pisticci! It's a great five-minute-walk gem.
posted by ilana at 11:24 PM on August 13, 2009

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