It’s Friday night in New York City. Your best friend’s, sister’s, coworker’s, roommate’s ex-boyfriend just liked you on Hinge. You offer to pick the first date spot. Power moves only.
In a city so big, the world is your oyster.
Pro Tip: order oysters. It’s an immediate aphrodisiac.
See also: Ease Back Into In-Person Dating at Intersect By Lexus-NYC
We sat down with Lindsey Metselaar, creator of popular We Met At Acme podcast, centered around the do’s and don’ts of millennial dating. Below are her favorite date night spots in NYC from east to west.
Cool and understated, Ear Inn on the corner of Spring and Washington is a perfect spot to grab drinks with the man of your dreams. The vibes at this bar and grill are super casual and grunge, which will show your date you’re the ‘chill girl who drinks beer’ type. This popular joint is right by the water, so take a stroll with your date and hopefully he’ll lean in for that first kiss!
According to Lindsey, a French restaurant is always a safe bet because of the naturally romantic setting. The European rail-station-restaurant vibe will definitely spark conversation with your date. Don’t forget to check out the hidden fondue room in the back of this quaint Lafayette Street hub.
Keeping with the French theme, Raoul’s is a great spot for a dimly-lit evening. Described as having a “bustling Parisian atmosphere,” this classic bistro is delicious and has a good vibe. Although Raoul’s has been a Soho landmark since the 70’s, it definitely still has game. Hopefully your date does, too.
The pressure is on when trying to plan a big anniversary. If the night isn’t picture-perfect, then the relationship is destined to fail (sarcasm, people). Balthazar is an iconic French brasserie very well suited for a special occasion. You and your significant other should split the famous steak frites. It’s like you’re in Paris together, but different.
If you’re not into the whole French thing, Mexican is a great cuisine for a night out with your guy. It’s a little on the pricier side, so maybe don’t suggest this for the first date. Both the food and drinks are great, so you really can’t go wrong here. Plus, it’s always fun to have a few margs and spill your feelings about each other.
Cote Korean Steakhouse
Cote is New York City’s first Korean Steakhouse, and by far the best. With one Michelin Star and four dollar signs, this upscale Korean barbeque restaurant should be reserved for a very special occasion. Places where they cook the food in front of you is always a fun experience to share with somebody special.
Handmade pasta and delicious red wine, what could possibly go wrong? Rezdôra’s intimate setting makes for a great third or fourth date. It’s romantic, but not too romantic, you know? If you and your date want to indulge in the food together, try the $90 Regional Pasta Tasting with a $55 optional wine pairing.
Raines Law Room
We’ve said it once, and we’ll say it again, Raines Law Room in Chelsea is the chicest spot for drinks downtown. The semi-secret entrance gives off an aura of mystery you didn’t know you needed. This plush lounge serves prohibition-era cocktails, which will surely impress your date. Hopefully he’s nicer to you than Tom Buchanan was to Daisy.
Consistency is key. Go to Momoya ten times in a row, and it will never disappoint. Sushi can sometimes be a gamble on a first date, but the most eligible bachelors are well-versed in toro and hamachi crudo. Split the spicy tuna crispy rice, and you are guaranteed to fall in love. Hopefully twice!
Three words. Spicy Scallop Handroll. If your date is a sushi lover, you absolutely must take him to Sushi Seki. Once again, this place is on the more expensive side, so we wouldn’t recommend for date number one. Order a lot of rolls for the table, because nothing is more attractive than girls who can eat.
Little Branch basically invented the speakeasy. Described as an “underground den of mixology,” Little Branch is the coolest spot to be. The best part about this underground gem is that the bartender will make you whatever drink you want. You can order your go-to gin and tonic, but we highly encourage you to experiment! The coolest girls aren’t afraid to take risks.
This West Village establishment is the best of both worlds. Dante is great for both casual drinks and a longer dinner, so you have the luxury of playing the night by ear. Order the famous Dante Martini at 6:00, and stay until the place closes if you’re having a great time! The spicy lamb flatbread is love at first sight.
Characterized as a “nostalgic New York cafe,” this West Village establishment is sure to bring on all the feels. Anton’s entire menu is inspired by old family recipes, which makes the food significantly better than trendy Italian places. The cozy old-school feel will make you want to get cozy with your date at the end of the evening.
This subdued throw-back bar is a great setting for a chill first date. The 1970’s themed bar has a type of cozy charm you don’t see very much anymore. Good vibes, good drinks, good music, and most importantly, good company. We love a place with a disco ball. It’s cute and kitschy, and perfect for your crush.
If Cosme is your fourth date, Yellow Rose should be your first. This San Antonio-style joint is great for tacos and tequila. It’s atmosphere is super unpretentious, which is perfect when you’re meeting somebody in person for the first time. If your date brings a yellow rose to this spot, run the other way.
It’s fitting that this multi-course Asian-accented eatery is on Extra Place, because it really is extra. But in the best, most salivating way possible. Momofuku Ko is notoriously hard to get into, so put your Resy notifications on in advance and impress your love! There is no better way to celebrate a milestone than with David Chang’s $255 tasting menu.