Do Date Night Right At 13 Of Our Favorite Romantic Restaurants

If "California Gurls" has taught us anything, it's that cherries and whipped cream can be dead sexy. When on the hunt for a romantic restaurant, though, you're likely looking for ambience over aliment. Soft lighting, minimal noise, privacy—these are the qualities we look for in a date-night restaurant. We've braved the terrifying, exhilarating, and sometimes hilarious terrain of NYC dating to bring you this handy guide to 13 of our many favorite locales. Go on and get lucky.
Click through to see our choice cuisine spots that are high on romance!
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Gilt

Don your sharpest blazer and your highest heels and call your driver (or, uh, take the subway) to jet to this highbrow restaurant in the New York Palace hotel. Its dining room is impressive, but we opted for the old-meets-new gilded bar with its elegant color-changing light sculpture. If it's good enough for Chuck Bass, it's good enough for us.
455 Madison Avenue (between East 56th and 57th streets); 212-891-8100.

2 of 13
Cafe Reggio

This picturesque cafe hideout exudes romance with its antique decor and storied past. This is, after all, where Kerouac used to hang. Perfect for a coffee date—and a history lesson.
119 MacDougal Street (between West 3rd Street and Minetta Lane); 212-475-9557.

Photo via Flickr.
3 of 13
Salumeria Rosi Parmacotto

Bypass the butcher's counter on the way in (but not on the way out), and take a seat in this black mirror-lined, small plates restaurant. Cesare Casella might even swoosh by, wafting fresh rosemary your way. (He keeps a few sprigs tucked in his chef's coat.)
283 Amsterdam Avenue (between West 73rd and 74th streets); 212-877-4800.

Photo via Flickr.
4 of 13
Home

Just a few doors down from the touristy intersection of Bleecker and Cornelia streets, Home's quiet outdoor space manages to make you feel worlds away.
20 Cornelia Street (between Bleecker and West 4th streets); 212-243-9579.
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James

A burger might not be the most popular date dish, but do indulge in James's beef with Vermont cheddar on brioche. It's so good it almost feels illicit.
605 Carlton Avenue (between St. Marks avenue and Bergen street); 718-942-4255.
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Sorella

Serve little Italian bites and lots of Italian vino, and you're in the running for a good date spot. Sorella's warm lighting and long, smooth wooden bar push it over the edge and into greatness.
95 Allen Street (between Broome and Delancey streets); 212-274-9595.

Photo via David Weeks Studio.
7 of 13
Zenkichi

An unmarked door, lights dimmed just so, private curtained booths—you can be as hush-hush as you want to be at this izakaya.
77 North 6th Street (between Wythe avenue and Berry street); Brooklyn; 718-388-8985.

Photo via New York.
8 of 13
Marlow & Sons

Fresh oysters are on offer every day—and you know what they say about oysters. Another must-order: The decadent chocolate-caramel tart with crunchy sea-salt on top.
81 Broadway (between Wythe avenue and Berry street); Brooklyn; 718-384-1441.

Photo via New York.
9 of 13
Jean-Georges

Maybe it's all the white and the tinge of the '80s, but the dining room at Jean-Georges is like Sharon Stone facing you in a white minidress with her legs crossed. Smoking a cigarette.
1 Central Park West (between Broadway and West 61st street); 212-299-3900.

Photo via Flickr,
10 of 13
La Esquina

It may look like a diner from the outside, but dip downstairs (and through the kitchen) and you'll find a subterranean Mexican hideaway, complete with glowing amber lights, comfy couches for lounging, and strong margaritas.
106 Kenmare Street (between Lafayette and Kenmare streets); 646-613-1333.

Photo via Flickr.
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Casa

Every night of the week, this pocket-sized Brazilian restaurant is humming with the intimate conversations between 20-somethings in it for the nooky. Bonus: You'll both have to lean into the same cast-iron pot of black beans to spoon them over your rice.
72 Bedford Street (between Commerce and Morton streets); 212-366-5923.

Photo via Flickr.
12 of 13
Danji

Sparse but inviting, this excellent modern Korean restaurant is a downright gem in Hell's Kitchen. Two points of design interest/conversation icebreakers: The personal menu drawers and the selection of hanging spoons.
346 West 52nd Street (between 8th and 9th avenues); 212-586-2880.

Photo via 2 Be Photo.
13 of 13
Bobo

Candles, sparkling chandeliers, overflowing bookshelves... Can you imagine your life together in this dreamy West Village townhouse?
181 West 10th Street (between West 4th street and Waverly place); 212-488-2626.

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