Swimming in a sea of accolades, the tides seem to be in Marea’s favor. When a restaurant has received two Michelin Stars, three stars from the New York Times, the 2010 James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant and has been named the Best Italian Restaurant by Zagat, the bar is set pretty high. Diners should expect the service to be flawless, the ambiance enchanting, and the food to take them on a culinary journey with each bite. Marea prides itself on its prestige among critics, but when seeking an upscale Italian restaurant for your next date, will it live up to expectations? We recently paid a visit to the seemingly regal Central Park South restaurant – see what we had to say.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
From the black town cars parked outside to the formally-dressed doorman offering to take your coat, you know you’re in for a fine dining experience prior to even stepping foot inside of Del Posto. The grandiose entrance almost takes your breath away, with a centered white marble staircase that draws your attention upward before ultimately immersing in everything around you.
Once you’re swallowed up by Del Posto’s enormous dining space, you may never want to leave (well, perhaps until you see the bill). The stately decor and soft sounds of piano music exude an elegance that you typically don’t get from most Italian restaurants. Tthe formal ambiance doesn’t take away from its warmth, and while white tablecloths & candlelight can sometimes be interpreted as stuffy, it’s far from the case here.
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.
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.
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.