Spring Flings & Picnicking Things
As the saying goes, “April showers bring May flowers.” Spring is in full bloom and despite a mild winter, New Yorkers have been yearning for all of the joys of the season. And what better way to fully soak in the sights, smells and sounds of spring than an afternoon picnic in one of the city’s many picturesque parks. At Crave The Date, it’s our job to make sure you’re smarter – and smoother – than the average bear, especially when it comes to dating. So, before you decide to stuff a shopping bag with whatever’s left in your fridge, check out our tips for picnicking in style.
A NYC hotspot that’s easy on the wallet? Yes, such a thing exists. Gemma, connected to the stylish Bowery Hotel, is an indoor/outdoor Italian trattoria that draws crowds and celebrities on a daily basis. The lively atmosphere and rustic ambiance makes the perfect setting for pretty much any type of date.
Good things come in threes? First it was Abe & Arthur’s, then it was Lexington Brass, now comes the team’s freshest venture, Catch. Practically next-door neighbors with Pastis, this Meatpacking hotspot is practically live bait for those looking for a bit of a scene and a whole lot of seafood. To fill this three-story, 14,000 square foot restaurant, they reeled in a Top Chef winner and turned the penthouse level into an all-glass rooftop lounge. A combination of an exposed brick loft, bass-thumping club and fish shack, Catch is geared more toward dates with friends, colleagues or couples that aren’t looking for quiet conversation, but loud chatter over shared plates and tasty cocktails.
The Hurricane Club
A date that takes you on a tropical escape through time? Behold The Hurricane Club – a 13,000 square foot restaurant and lounge that brings a “Tiki-chic taste of the tropics” to Park Avenue South. Decadent and slightly kitschy, this modern take on a Polynesian supper club has been attracting diners and drinkers of all ages and sizes since it opened in September 2010. The massive space is divided into four different rooms that are uniquely decorated, but equally elegant – albeit, an over-the-top portrayal of the exotics of the South Pacific. Between the rum [and shoe shine] fountain and fruity drinks by the watermelon, this is one NYC date spot that you’ve got to see to believe. So, here comes the story of The Hurricane Club.
Practically hidden at the end of a LES alleyway, this “secret” dining den is a haven for New Yorkers who like a scene, but without the hassle of being seen.
Best burger in town? Come see for yourself at this divey West Village landmark, where prices are astonishingly low and burgers & beers are ordered by the masses. The Corner Bistro is one of those places that you’ve got to try as a New Yorker, so bring your buddies, meat-eating girlfriend or parents – just maybe not someone you’ve only started seeing (as devouring a thick, juicy burger tends to get sloppy).
Lucky Strike Lanes
Are you an avid fan of the PBA (Professional Bowling Association)? No one is. That doesn’t mean that bowling isn’t a fantastic way to spend a rainy or snowy Saturday. While Lucky Strike has locations all over the country, their NYC installment won’t disappoint.
Maialino is located in the Gramercy Park Hotel, but don’t be fooled by the swank surroundings – if you are looking for a truly elegant dining experience (like sister Danny Meyer restaurant, Eleven Madison Park), you won’t find one. This self-proclaimed Roman-style trattoria is warm and welcoming, with good food & good service as the main focal points.
Mary’s Fish Camp
New England. Often regarded as home to the Sawx, Tom Brady and the Kennedy clan. But after a date in the West Village, another other of the region’s assets might immediately come to mind: seafood. The reason? Because at Mary’s Fish Camp, it’s as fresh and authentic as anything you can catch on the Cape.
There’s not a square foot to spare at this South Village/SoHo hotspot. The Dutch, which serves brunch, lunch, dinner and late-night bar snacks, keeps its three spacious dining rooms full & its crowds fresh. Since opening in Summer 2011, The Dutch has proven to be another successful venture by the team behind Locanda Verde and Burger & Barrel. Anyone into clever comfort food and a buzzing scene should have this downtown bar/restaurant on their to-do list.
A non-descript white façade next to a comedy club is sure to go unnoticed in the midst of the usual Meatpacking mayhem. What’s inside, however, is a standout restaurant and date spot courtesy of a celebrity chef with a penchant for the unexpected. Scarpetta’s impeccable service and refined take on Italian cuisine come at a price, but in the end, it’s totally worth the splurge.
Top Theater District Eats
Taking in dinner & a show, but don’t know where to go? Don’t fret. We’re giving you some of our favorite pre and post-theater date spots. Curtain’s up!
Lexington Brass isn’t your ordinary Midtown haven for corporate travelers and expense card carriers. A new bistro-style restaurant from the team behind Abe & Arthur’s, who have design, décor and New-American dining down to a science, and it shows. The central location makes a great casual spot for pretty much any type of date – guys’ night out, hosting friends or family from out of town, or a work-related function.
Abe & Arthur’s
Abe & Arthur’s fits the mold of a Meatpacking hotspot – swank décor, sex appeal and could-be models [as Lil John would say] from the windows to the walls.
Your Dating Playbill
Memphis, Chicago, Jersey Boys, oh my! Whether it’s a musical, drama or Off-Broadway production that you crave, you can never go wrong with planning a date at the theater. A great birthday, anniversary or “just because” gift, taking that special someone – whether it be a boyfriend, girlfriend, parent or client – to see a play is always appreciated, and always ends up being a memorable experience that’s cherished forever.
If you’re craving some romance, conversation or something as simple as grabbing a bite to eat at a nice neighborhood spot, Spasso is sure to get the job done – and likely please, no matter the type of crowd.
Lowcountry brings a taste of the South to the heart of Greenwich Village. With an inventive cocktail list that’s not shy on the bourbon and a wide selection of “down home” comfort foods, prepare to check your diets at the door & experience unpretentious charm that’s hard to come by in NYC.
Fashion’s Night Out
Attention All Shoppers! Thursday night marks the third annual Fashion’s Night Out, an event where fashion-conscious consumers from all over the world come out of the woodwork – fully stocked wallets in hand – to shop and socialize after-hours with the excuse of bolstering the economy. FNO is basically one huge kickoff party for New [...]
Chelsea Brewing Company
The Chelsea Brewing Co., located right on the dock at Chelsea Piers, gives a diner or just a drinker a nice view while tasting their specialty beers brewed in-house.
If the weather permits, grab a drink at one of their tables outside and look out at the serene Hudson River amidst joggers, sailors, families and other passers-by. The outdoor plastic seats won’t exactly dazzle, but the view is sure to please. Or, you can sit inside the 12,000 square foot bi-level restaurant/micro-brewery, surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the pier and a number of massive tanks filled with specialty beers – each seasonal ale described on a chalk-written menu displayed throughout the bar area.
Deep in the Lower East Side, on a block that some might remember as being “seedy” way back when, lives this indulging Italian date spot where patrons should plan on coming hungry and leaving drunkenly satisfied, with much of their wallet still in tact.
From large groups to couples, San Marzano draws those who crave pizza and a bargain, without having to sacrifice flavor or atmosphere. There are tons of bars within walking distance – some lean toward the fratty side, others lean toward the hipster side – so it’s an ideal place to grab a bite and get a wine buzz before a night on the town.
The Met’s “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty”
If you haven’t yet been to the oh-so-popular Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty exhibit at the Met, now’s your final chance. The exhibit, which has been drawing crowds since its opening in early May, is set to come to a close on August 7th – but don’t worry, the museum will be offering extended hours, so there is still time to squeeze in one last visit.
Arguably the best Italian restaurant on the UWS, Spiga’s authentic cuisine and homey ambiance are of a different caliber than what you might find on neighboring Amsterdam. With small square footage and intimate surroundings, you get the best of both worlds – a downtown vibe, but with uptown nonchalance.
The restaurant itself might seem hidden among the brownstones of residential W. 84th Street, but it’s part of Spiga’s understated appeal. The cozy interior is encased in exposed brick and mahogany molding, with matching built-in wine racks that stretch from head to toe. Not overly quiet, the setting can be considered romantic or simply conducive to conversation.
If you haven’t taken a stroll (or biked) across the Brooklyn Bridge, then you are truly missing out on an iconic, crave-worthy date spot – especially if you fall into any of the following categories:
1.) You’ve been on a few dates with someone and are looking to spend a bit more quality time together, engage in some true “getting-to-know-you” conversation.
2.) Family and/or friends are visiting from out of town and you want to show them a true New York experience.
3.) You’re sick of the same ‘ol, same ‘ol and are feeling adventurous.
4.) You want to relive a romantic scene from a movie (we’re talking to you, SITC fans), or play tourist for the day with someone you love.
5.) Your mission is to work up an appetite for some of the best pizza NYC has to offer.
Burger & Barrel
The burger joint for the wino, Burger & Barrel offers an extensive wine list served either on tap or the traditional way, from a bottle. A self-proclaimed “wine pub,” this SoHo eatery is just that and much more – so be prepared to leave very full, yet very satisfied.
Picture your typical burger place, with wood paneling and a few leather booths, and then add a more upscale, downtown-chic vibe to it. Between the food and wine options, the dining room isn’t the only thing that’s sure to get filled to the brim at B&B.
A lavish addition to the Flatiron District, Nuela’s South American roots run deeper than food. The cool, sexy vibe of this Latin restaurant is sure to bring some va-va-voom to your date, whether you’re rolling with a crowd or part of a couple.
Nuela’s spacious, loft-like interior is vibrant and modern in both decor & atmosphere. The sleek design has a South Beach aura to it, with matching house music to boot.
A multi-tiered maze of a tapas restaurant, Alta offers a variety of Spanish-inspired small plates from octopus to empanadas. For flowing sangria and candlelight, consider this cozy spot with someone you’re just getting to know, or someone you know too well.
Alta appears from the street to be a tiny tapas joint in the Village, but the inside opens up to a bi-level rustic restaurant packed with patrons every night of the week. Candles are lit throughout the restaurant, which gives the interior a cozy and romantic feel.
Otto Enoteca Pizzeria
Great food, great prices – that’s what to expect when you go to Otto. First opened in 2003, this bustling Italian enoteca continues to pack it in every night of the week, though isn’t that the norm for anything with the name Batali attached to it these days?
Enter Otto’s revolving door and you’re immediately swept by the sights, sounds & smells around you. The front entrance was made to resemble an old train station, complete with an old-fashioned split-flap departure board listing different Italian cities that also functions as a way to alert diners when their table is ready.
Beauty & Essex
Located in what appears to be an old-school pawn shop (complete with vintage goods in display counters and dolled up “sales girls” manning a register), this lower east side “see and be seen” restaurant come nightclub defines NYC hotspot.
When you step inside Beauty & Essex for the very first time, you might question whether you’ve gone through the right door. It’s not until you follow the bass-pumping sounds and walk through a narrow hallway that you’ll get an aha moment – when you’re submerged into the sea of New York’s young and fabulous, with some copycat Kardashian clans mixed in.
The original Annisa burned down in 2009, but its reincarnation shines brighter than ever before. The airy ambiance and modern décor is only a taste of what’s to come on the menu. expect innovative dishes with classic ingredients, complete with a Michelin Star.
This upscale thirteen-table restaurant in the West Village has a fresh, clean feel to it, as it should – the original Annisa burned down in a freak electrical fire two years ago. The new Annisa reopened last year by the same Executive Chef (and Top Chef Master), Anita Lo. The interior is very chic and surprisingly bright-colored, and for such a small space, you don’t feel crowded.
The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)
New York’s Museum of Modern Art is often known as the most influential museum of modern art in the world. With a collection that includes over 150,000 paintings, sculptures, drawings, prints, photographs, architectural models and design objects, the MoMA is a date spot that you can go back to over & over again – whether you’re in the company of someone you’ve just recently met, or someone you haven’t seen in a while.
Reopened in late 2010, the only thing that remains from the old Veritas is its impressive wine collection. Thanks to new owners and executive chef, who ditched the snooty prix-fixed menu and added more affordable wine options, this cozy Gramercy restaurant has transformed into what could become one of the city’s brightest shining stars.
Top Chef winner Harold Dieterle’s freshman attempt continues to earn high marks – Perilla does Modern American fare in a quaint space on Jones Street and does it well.
What keeps people flowing into this cozy West Village restaurant is its consistently inventive New American dishes and attentive service. Not too loud and not too crowded, Perilla’s versatile setting makes it a great spot for a romantic evening, or a night out with family or friends.
Ouest’s neon lights don’t have to be bright to draw a crowd – the food, service and ambiance does it itself every night of the week. Right on Broadway, this Upper West Side beacon serves New American dishes filled with bold, elegant flavors.
Parisian café meets American steakhouse, with plush red leather booths accenting the dimly lit dining area. Ouest exudes sophistication without pretension, creating a dining experience that will make you want to keep coming back.
Dine Under the Tuscan Sun right on 7th Avenue at Morandi, a West Village staple known best for its people-watching and lively atmosphere, with tasty Italian fare to boot.
Morandi is a buzzing indoor/outdoor trattoria with a rustic look and ambiance. The distressed wood and exposed brick interior makes you feel like you’re in the Italian countryside, not on 7th Avenue.
Getting better with age, or aging gracefully? Either way, Cesca remains a darling of the Upper West Side, serving consistently good food to be enjoyed in good company.
Cesca adds some style to a neighborhood not typically known for its trendy restaurants. The dining room’s dark wooden tables and iron chandeliers provide a chic, yet homey atmosphere. Its friendly, attentive service makes this upscale Italian restaurant a great spot to celebrate or simply spend time with family, friends and loved ones.
Sure to be crowded, but sure to impress, this Italian eatery brings a distinct style and modern twist on classic cuisine to the always charming West Village.
L’Artusi is a modern Italian restaurant and pseudo-wine bar that echoes with dinner table chatter and clamor from an open stainless steel kitchen. Albeit crowded, this West Village hotspot boasts two stories of dining areas that are contemporary classic in décor and lively in atmosphere.