Where should I take my wife for our anniversary?
November 4, 2011 3:25 PM   Subscribe

My second wedding anniversary is approaching. All my wife wants is to be taken to dinner (I asked her, because I'm a romantic). But I'm new to the city (of New York), and so is she. Where would you recommend I take her?

We weren't able to do anything on our first anniversary because we were separated by an ocean. We completed immigration proceedings this year and have only just got our own place in NYC, so this will be our surrogate first anniversary. I have other things planned, but they need supplementing with a romantic dinner somewhere.

Flexible on type of food, my wife will eat anything, but she's particularly fond of seafood and otherwise generally eats a lot like a vegan. Note that this is almost the exact opposite of my preferences, so somewhere with a little variety would be great.

We live on pretty modest means, and my wife would kill me if I spent more than around $80 (and ideally less than that, but I'm willing to risk her ire and go a bit higher if we'd get a particularly special evening out of it). I also have no idea how much I should expect to spend in NY for a romantic meal, so please tell me if this is naively optimistic. As long as we get a good meal in a relatively romantic setting out of the evening without spending too much, we'll both be happy. We're young, stupid and unpretentious so we don't necessarily need the whole white tablecloth treatment, but it should be Special.

Really, I'm open to all ideas. I don't know the city at all, so I'm not exactly bursting with romantic ideas. Feel free to offer more unorthodox, fun ideas. Bonus points if it's near a place I can easily follow up with a romantic boat ride or horse & cart ride (original, I know). Be great if it was on the east side too, the west side is a total asshole to get to from where we are.
posted by nostrich to Food & Drink (24 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: I should add that we're in Manhattan, so obviously, it should be somewhere in Manhattan.
posted by nostrich at 3:27 PM on November 4, 2011

$80 bucks for dinner for two in New York City? Probably not going to happen. I'd budget more like $200 as a base price.

Candle 79 is the only vegan restaurant with which I am familiar, and it is romantic.
posted by dfriedman at 3:28 PM on November 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: $80 bucks for dinner for two in New York City? Probably not going to happen. I'd budget more like $200 as a base price.

Dfriedman, whatever your salary is, I want it! Since I don't have it, I've made do on far less than $200 for a romantic couple's dinner out. :) Random internet deals usually help.

Nostrich, you should go haunt livingsocial.com, travelzoo.com, and other such sites for the next couple of weeks (or however long you have till your anniversary). I've gotten a lot of amazing deals in Manhattan this way -- a four course meal for two, with a bottle of wine included, for $58, for instance. Tip, of course, is extra.

For instance, here's one -- 4 cocktails + appetizers at W Hotel for $35, which you could pair with another deal for dinner nearby, afterward.

If you're not drinkers, you can do well for even less. Are you okay with no alcohol or BYOB?

Restaurant.com is another place to look. There's a really romantic little Italian place on the upper west side or so that always has a major restaurant.com discount going -- and if you join and wait for the end of the month, you get 80% off the purchase of the gift certificate, so it costs you something like $2 to buy a $100 gift certificate that requires you to spend $50. (In other words: you pay $52 for $150 worth of food and wine.) If you're a drinker and you decide to use restaurant.com, read the fine details closely, because some places allow you to use the certificate toward the price of booze, some don't. Also, be sure to look up yelp reviews for the places on restaurant.com before you buy!
posted by artemisia at 3:38 PM on November 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Are you only looking in Manhattan?
posted by sweetkid at 3:41 PM on November 4, 2011

Best answer: Oh man, I was just in Manhattan and ate at Bistro Lamazou - it was so good that we went back for lunch the next day. The prix fixe menu is great and would be about right unless you go for the super expensive wine (my friend and I spent about $100 including tip for the prix fixe and two drinks apiece.)

I had the duck (I don't see it on the online menu) and my friend had the chicken Tagine for dinner, and they were both very nice, as were the soup and apps. I had the mussels the next day and they were also pretty good. Also if you're into cheeses... cheese bar! (that was great - the four cheese option had more than enough in terms of quantity and some nice selections.)

The place was totally empty both times, but it was very fancy and the service was solid. Definitely felt romantic - candles and flowers on the tables, etc. I was very much not on a date and it still felt like one.

(I really want that place to still be there next time I come!)
posted by restless_nomad at 3:44 PM on November 4, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks for the ideas so far. Living Social is a great idea, why didn't I think of that?

Note that I don't need vegan places, that's just how my wife's preferences lean, as a guide to the kind of food.

Doesn't have to be Manhattan, I'm all ears if you know a place in Brooklyn, but Manahttan would be ideal.
posted by nostrich at 3:44 PM on November 4, 2011

Best answer: Besides Living Social, I'd also sign up for Gilt City and OpenTable, because they both often have deals on dinners at local restaurants. You can always shut off their e-mail reminders after your anniversary.

Where are you, neighborhood-wise? I know you said the east side of Manhattan, but location is helpful. There's a great Italian place on 2nd Ave and 81st called Spigolo, but to get out of there for under $80 for 2 people, you'd need to just have entrees or do a little mini-tasting with appetizers and small primi dishes. (Though that can be fun!) If you prefer downtown, someplace like Dirt Candy would be good, unless you'd be bummed out by the lack of meat.
posted by bedhead at 4:01 PM on November 4, 2011

Original Ray's.
posted by rhizome at 4:02 PM on November 4, 2011

Best answer: Go to Bubby's Pie Company. Romantic, view of Manhattan, beautiful park right across the street, right on the water in DUMBO, gorgeous restore carousel a few yards away and they are building an incredible outdoor art installation with veritube lights a block away.

Within your budget, just take a cab over the bridge (manhattan or Brooklyn) and you're there!

Happy Anniversary! May you celebrate many loving years together.
posted by Yellow at 4:03 PM on November 4, 2011

Are you on the East side or West side? On the East side I want to suggest Il Vagabondo. It's really fun with a bocce court inside!

Also within your $80 budget if you don't drink any alcohol.

On the West side, try Isabella's, right by the park, you can walk over to Hayden Planetarium (and the museum) though I am not sure you can get a horse-drawn carriage ride over there.
posted by Yellow at 4:12 PM on November 4, 2011

Best answer: Sorry, reading this again and realized that you are on the East side! Here is another East side restaurant that is beautiful and romantic: Ristorante Grifone.

If you decide to go to Bubby's Pie Company, I think you can take a water taxi over which will fulfill your boat ride!

: )

Sorry for the multiple posts!
posted by Yellow at 4:17 PM on November 4, 2011

Best answer: Everyone has different ideas about what constitutes a "romantic evening out" but I wonder if when you're on a tight budget it mightn't be more fun to make the focus of the evening some "OMG we're in NEW YORK!" adventure--like going up to the top of the Empire State Building at midnight or skating at Rockefeller Center or rowing in Central Park or what have you. Yeah, sure, corny and touristy, but if you're new to the place why not revel in it? You'll feel like you're reenacting half a dozen different movies at every step. If it's not TOO cold yet you could even have a picnic dinner somewhere.

One possible dinner place, though, that has a very elegant setting with not-too-pricey food (and wonderful desserts, if that's your thing) is Cafe Sabarsky in the Neue Galerie at 5th and 86th. You're right by Central Park if you want to do the horse-drawn-thing or the boating thing. There's a restaurant in the Boathouse beside the lake, actually, although it's a bit on the pricy side for your budget.
posted by yoink at 4:24 PM on November 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

I think you could do okay at Mermaid Inn for $80 (again, depends on if you are drinking). They have a great happy hour if you go early, and they serve free chocolate pudding for dessert! It's mostly fish and seafood.
posted by kimdog at 4:24 PM on November 4, 2011

Hangawi. It's Korean with great vegetarianish dishes and kind of a cool, romantic atmosphere. Also, you can take your shoes off. I was taken there for a Romantic Birthday and loved it! (link)
posted by anonnymoose at 4:25 PM on November 4, 2011

Mermaid Inn is great.

My friends had their (vegan!) wedding rehearsal dinner here, and it was fantastic:
Dim Sum Go Go
5 East Broadway, Manhattan (Chinatown)
Near intersection of East Broadway and Bowery

Not uber-romantic, but really delicious, affordable, and vegan-friendly.
posted by enzymatic at 4:54 PM on November 4, 2011

Not super-duper romantic but Mary's Fish Camp?
There's also a boat-bundle of absolutely amazing not-too-expensive food to be had in Brooklyn and unless you have a specific reason you want to stay I see no reason for restricting yourself to the city.
posted by ooklala at 4:56 PM on November 4, 2011

I also like the mermaid inn for seafood. My favorite not-expensive-but-still-good restaurant is Otto. It's Mario batali's pizza and pasta restaurant, but still nice enough for a date. It's on 8th street and 5th avenue.
posted by Ollie at 4:56 PM on November 4, 2011

Response by poster: These are all fantastic suggestions, thank you!
posted by nostrich at 5:01 PM on November 4, 2011

My wife and I had a nice, simple romantic Italian dinner at a place on 20th and 8th. Forget the name right now but it has been there for years. We did not even crack $80, as far as I remember.
posted by Danf at 5:25 PM on November 4, 2011

Beware some of the restaurant daily deals: they are not all "deals." Consider that you might find that one of the deal restaurants, if it's worth going to at all, would be cheaper and more flexible ordering from the menu.
posted by deeaytch at 5:27 PM on November 4, 2011

I had a wonderful romantic and affordable dinner at 'ino once.
posted by saul wright at 5:37 PM on November 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Here is a plan: Brooklyn Heights.
Great food, character, romantic, and not crazy expensive.

Take the R Train to Court St, in Brooklyn. Across the street from Columbus Park is Montague St. It is a famous quirky street in Brooklyn. Dylan sang about it. Plenty of restaurants on that street.

I like Armando's. Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller frequented this restaurant during their brief marriage living Brooklyn Heights. It is small, romantic, and moderately priced. Italian food, with a nice bottle of wine. Yelp only gives it 3.5 stars, but I think it is better than that.

After dinner, it is a short walk up Montague St to the Brooklyn Promenade. The Promenade is without question one of the most romantic views in NYC. Stroll along the Promenade. And walk through the Heights. All of Brooklyn Heights is romantic, interesting, and safe for an evening stroll.

Finish with a cup of coffee in one of the many cafes back around Montague. Back near the train, on your way home.

That would make a good night plan for you. IMO.
posted by Flood at 5:39 PM on November 4, 2011 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Here's your romantic boat ride: NY Waterway Ferry to Hoboken.

Then dinner at Amanda's: a really lovely, totally anniversary-worthy restaurant with an absolutely stunning deal: go for the early dinner, and it's only $32 for both of you to enjoy three swanky courses! Celebrate with a $20 wine special and you're still under budget. Then a stroll along the waterfront, and hop another delightful ferry back to the city.

My husband and I wept when we moved away from Hoboken and Amanda's early dinner -- it was practically our board plan for a while. N.B. get the key lime pie.
posted by apparently at 6:04 PM on November 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

I'd aim for the West Village - to me it's the most romantic neighborhood in Manhattan. I don't have any specific restaurant recommendations, unfortunately - it can be a little pricey, and we've been developing our hoarding skills lately. But if you spend even 30 minutes walking around there you'll find plenty of names to research.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 10:19 PM on November 4, 2011

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