In the vibrant city of Manhattan, a foodie will never––and I repeat never––run out of new restaurants to try. The diversity of this bustling city brings cuisines from all over the world into one big melting pot, just waiting to be devoured. Having lived here for over two years, I have been privileged to try some of the most famous restaurants and discover new hole-in-the-walls (as seen on my “foodsta” @wendyswants). Food has the power to bring people together, old and new, as we indulge in all new kinds of experiences and cultures together. Listed below are my top 10 favorite date night spots in Manhattan that have made it on my list. With a variety of cuisines, locations, and price ranges, I hope you find your next date spot here!
Location: 24 W 33rd St, New York, NY 10001 | Price: $
This is by far one of my top go-to Chinese spots in the city. This spot is known for its famous rainbow soup dumpling samplers. From pork to crab to truffle dumplings, it’s a must-try. Relatively new to the city, this restaurant came from the flagship location in Flushing, NY. With the busy atmosphere, make sure to put your name down on the waitlist, and you can walk around K-Town into all their cute shops while you wait for your table. Not only do they have a wide variety of fresh, tasty dishes beyond just their dumplings, but their service is also extremely fast given how busy it is. If you go family-style, it usually comes out to ~$20 per person, making it the perfect casual date spot, but also a place to bring friends and family in the future. Definitely give this one a try.
2. La Esquina
Location: 114 Kenmare St, New York, NY 10012 | Price: $$
Next time you are craving Mexican, be sure to book a res at the famous speakeasy, Le Esquina, in Soho. Behind the neon red sign and through the kitchen, you will find a lively downstairs area that is the perfect spot for your next dinner or drinks. This restaurant turns into more of a bar the later it gets with the drinks flowing and music bumping, so be sure to stick around into the night!
Location: 235 Mulberry St, New York, NY 10012 | Price: $$
This restaurant has my favorite pizza in all of the city and has been a staple of mine from my early days visiting my older sister in NYC. Although the restaurant looks tiny in the front, do not be deceived. This restaurant stretches through the back and can accommodate more people than you think. The wait here can get extremely long without a reservation (I waited 4 hours once for a table) so be sure to try to snag one in advance if you’re trying to come on the weekend. I always go for the half Supreme and half Tie-dye, but don’t sleep on the pasta– their Lumache alla Vodka and Garlic Knots are the perfect addition to your next date night meal. Simply, chef’s kiss.
4. Shoo Shoo
Location: 371 Broome St, New York, NY 10013 | Price: $$
I love myself a good Mediterranean spot, and this is the perfect spot for brunch or dinner. Family style is the name of the game here because you can never just order one dish (as you can see in my photo). The shawarma is mouth-watering and do not even get me started on their chicken schnitzel. Bonus points since it can also fit a lot of people, which is quite the luxury in New York, so consider it for your next double or triple date or even a birthday get-together! It truly never misses.
Location: 175 Orchard St, New York, NY 10002 | Price: $$
Known as the “No. 1 ranked pizza in the world,” Una has only one chef who runs this famous pizzeria in LES. Una is only open 3 days a week and caps the number of pizzas you can order, making it quite the privilege to be eating there. I felt like I was in the presence of a celebrity when I saw Chef Anthony MangieriI running the kitchen. Although I am typically not a big Neopolitan fan, this pizza was definitely an exception. The pizza dough was undeniably the star of the show with a slightly tart taste, and the sauce was thinner than I expected since they hand-squeeze their tomatoes to make it. Add this spot to your list and see for yourself if it really is the “best pizza in the world.”
Location: 4 Charles St #3004, New York, NY 10014 | Price: $$$
4 Charles is home to one of the best burgers in New York City and for good reason. The runny egg perfectly ties it all together. in the middle for a special occasion. It is quite small on the inside, but if you can snag a table, it is very intimate and cozy with the beautiful wooden paneling throughout. If you can’t reserve a table inside, you are in luck– 4 Charles has one of the nicest outdoor seating areas I have seen in the city. Would highly recommend this spot for your next date night or simply in the mood for a decadent burger.
Location: 6 Bond St, New York, NY 10012 | Price: $$$
BONDST is one of my favorite go-to sushi date spots in the city. Nestled on Bond St in Noho, this swanky, dim-lit restaurant has the perfect atmosphere for your next night out with a loved one. My favorites were their Szechuan yellowtail appetizer and salmon sashimi, and the tuna tarts are a famous staple of theirs. You can sit in the main dining room or opt for a bar seat to get an up-close look at the sushi. After dinner, be sure to grab some drinks at Jac’s on Bond right down the street!
Location: 127 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012 | Price: $$$
Trust me when I say I love a good omakase, and this was unlike any of the other experiences I have had so far. Starting with the atmosphere, Tokyo Record Bar is on the smaller side, keeping things very intimate with less than 10 tables and an open kitchen concept so you can see the chef dish everything right in front of you (if you’re lucky, they might even give you some caviar to try). As hinted by the name, you’ll be able to pick a record to play at some point throughout the meal. They have a pre-set rotating menu, not limited to sushi, so there will always be new unexpected dishes to try when you come back, and the best part is the surprise dish at the end, but you’ll have to go yourself to find out!
Location: 23 Commerce St, New York, NY 10014 | Price: $$$$
This omakase spot is by far the nicest sushi I have had in the city. From the way they intentionally plate certain fish together to the order in which they are served, they have truly thought through every single detail. Not only is the fish delicious but you end the meal with the perfect creme brulee that they’ll caramelize right in front of you. Not to mention this is some of the most attentive service I have received at a restaurant. It is on the pricier side but extremely special and memorable, so I would save this one for any special occasions coming up!
Location: 16 W 22nd St, New York, NY 10010 | Price: $$$$
Cote is elevated Korean BBQ at its finest. You begin with all of the side dishes you need before jumping into the meat. I ordered the popular “Butcher’s Feast,” which has 4 different cuts of meat before you end with a sweet Asian-inspired dessert. If you want the full experience, make a reservation where they have someone cook the meat for you, but it is also possible to grab seats at the bar and have the food served to you as well. They also have a bar downstairs, Undercote, so be sure to check that out if you’re running early to your reservation. As a heads up, you will need a minimum of 4 people to make a reservation so consider this spot for your next double date!
Of the countless incredible restaurants in New York City, it was hard to pick just ten. Considering the atmosphere, drinks, service, and of course, food, these had to be some of the most unforgettable experiences I have had so far. Whether you are indulging with your significant other or even with friends and family, you will not regret dining at any of these restaurants.