Jostling for a photo-worthy view of the new Hello Kitty balloon on
Romantic Date Ideas NYCSleepless in Manhattan
There’s one more reason why New York is the city that never sleeps. Knees weaken, pulses quicken, and lips moisten not just from the kinetic crowds navigating their way to a favorite oyster bar or cocktail lounge, but from the aphrodisiacal effect of glittering skyscrapers and three centuries of if-you-can-make-it-here-you-can-make-it-anywhere dreams. Today, Galavante’s team of editors and writers lay out a three-step waltz to sweep your date off their feet and make the skyscrapers stand a little straighter on the ride home.
Curated by Christine Drinan, Founder
Flirt: The East Village’s Toucan & the Lion doesn’t just sound like one of Aesop’s Fables, it also has a strong moral: Asian gastro pub equals happy date. It helps that sharing is built into the menu. An entire section is dedicated to unique samplers like mini beef short rib tacos, sure to keep the conversation rolling past any awkward silences. If you need more spice, order two Black Night cocktails, a blend of gin, balsamic vermouth, and pink peppercorns.
342 East 6th St., 212-275-8989
Satisfy: It may not be a good idea to try and match Casanova’s legendary diet of at least 50 oysters per day, but sucking down a mixed plate of Kumi, Wellfleet, and St. Simon varieties at Jack’s Luxury Oyster Bar will no doubt get the juices flowing. Achieve fuel injection with an order of the chef’s tasting menu, which features six courses of French-influenced fare. The restaurant’s narrow space means you’ll need to keep close.
101 Second Ave., 212-979-1012
Post-culinary bliss: If Count Dracula added a boudoir to his castle, it might look something like the inside of Death & Company – windowless, candle-lit, and with plenty of dark shadows for errant body parts to meet, accidently or not. The cocktail menu provides potent lubrication and suggestive encouragement with drinks like Devil Inside, Black Magic, and Slap n’ Pickle.
433 East 6th St., 212-388-0882
Curated by Neal Boulton, Corporate Development Editor
Flirt: If the best-laid romances of mice and men are inherently cheesy, why not make it the first course? Begin the evening with an order of amourette de printemps, one of 12 cheese-and-wine “flights” on the menu at the Parisian Artisanal Fromagerie, Bistro and Wine Bar on Park Avenue. Combined with the Hugel Riesling and Domaine Michel Girard Rosé, the lavender and wild fennel pollen in the Purple Haze goat cheese are sure to coax even the shiest of buds to open.
2 Park Ave., 212-725-8585
Satisfy: Your date can’t accuse you of not being fun at Super Linda in Tribeca. It’s not just the touches of ‘50s-era design, reflective red luminescence, or the glass-covered front dining area that excite, but a Pan-Latin menu of easily shareable dishes. Start with the refreshing ceviche verde of fluke, tomatillo, and cilantro before moving on to the signature rib eye on a bed of roasted Brussels sprouts. After the meal, saddle up downstairs in the El Jockey Lounge with house cocktails like the coffee-spiced 60 Seconds over Buenos Aires.
109 West Broadway, 212-227-8998
Post-culinary bliss: Hire a town car, and move the midnight show to the Odeon in Tribeca. If the provenance of one of Tribeca’s original hipster havens doesn’t impress your date, throw a wink at the bartender for his under-the-table specialty, a Moroccan martini infused with mint and served in a tall, ice-cold glass.
145 West Broadway, 212-233-0507
Curated by Maya Vandenberg, Writer
Flirt: If sharing is indeed caring, then Alta in the West Village offers the chance to prove it. The menu consists entirely of unique tapas like squid-ink paella and fried goat cheese with lavender-infused honey. For the opening move of the night, it’s probably best to sit up at the brightly lit long bar up front than dive into the dark, almost gothic, back dining room.
64 West 10th St., 212-505-7777
Satisfy: The Tetris-like facade of Greenwich Village stable SushiSamba 7 is a good reminder that love is a game. Luckily, the restaurant makes it a fun one, with enough shapes and colors to remind you of Fisher-Price – and a menu to match. Blending Japanese, Brazilian, and Peruvian flavors, the fish-centric fare goes beautifully with the impressive selection of sake. Start with a plate of rock shrimp tempura and bottle of fukucho “moon on the water,” and let the waiter do the rest.
87 Seventh Ave., 212-691-7885
Post-culinary bliss: Leave the late-night chill behind at the step-down 8th Street Wine Cellar. This is the kind of place that warms and softens with low lighting, Manhattan sleekness, and bursts of color in strategically placed canvases of abstract art. It’s crowded enough to push you together, but not to squeeze, unless you want to. If so, order a bottle of sparkling rose from Lucien Albrecht.
As you climb into the backseat of the cab on the way home, it’s helpful to remember what Virginia Woolf once wrote: “One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” Now that you’ve satisfied the latter, Galavante hopes the rest comes as easy.
28 West 8th St., 212-260-9463
(Photos: The Toucan and the Lion, courtesy of The Toucan and the Lion; Artisanal Bistro, courtesy of Artisanal Bistro; 8th Street Wine Cellar, courtesy of 8th Street Wine Cellar)