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Food + Drink

12 Most Romantic Restaurants in NYC

The most romantic restaurants in NYC are often found in the city's top hotels. So for those keen on a sexy space for a deliriously good meal, plus easy access to a, ahem, bed, check out our favorite spots below.

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Le Coucou

More often than not, restaurants that plate elegant preparations of terrine de veau (veal terrine), salade de homard (lobster salad), and filet de boeuf (beef filet) match technical French cookery with a stuffy (French) ambiance and stiff service. Le Coucou, the sexy, white hot number from chef Daniel Rose of Paris’ acclaimed Spring restaurant is one of the most romantic restaurants in NYC, and the sophisticated yet cool French friend you’ve always wanted. Laidback fine dining is what you can expect at this hit Soho eatery attached to the new --11 Howard hotel but note Le Coucou requires reservations far in advance for Rose’s excellent, seasonal French cuisine. Raw candlelight casts a golden hue on whitewashed brick walls that serve as a backdrop for the eatery’s in the know clientele. You definitely want to dine here … if you can get in.

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Dirty French

You can thank the Carbone crew for the Ludlow Hotel’s Dirty French, a loud, Parisian-ish bistro that feels like it was born in the ‘80s. Outrageous prices and ostentatious presentations – hallmarks of every Major Food Group enterprise (ZZ’s Clam Bar, Santina) – are guaranteed, but if anything, chefs/partners Mario Carbone and Rich Torrisi do know how to cook, and how to organize a scene.

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Danny Meyer, one of New York’s most beloved restaurateurs, is behind Maialino, an all-day Roman trattoria within the Gramercy Park Hotel. Blue and white checker tablecloths, and exposed wooden beams lend a casual country feel to the tastefully unfussy space, that celebrates classic Italian dishes made with great ingredients. Here, Marta chef Nick Anderer commands excellent plates of rustic, seasonal pastas, and carefully sourced proteins dressed down with olive oil and herbs.

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Connected to the Trump International Hotel & Tower is lauded French hero Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s flagship three Michelin star tasting menu haunt, Jean-Georges, where well-dressed dumplings dine on complex cuisine arranged with tweezers. This spendy, white tablecloth number is ground zero for celebrating special occasions over an ever-changing menu of progressive French cuisine.

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The Nomad

The first thing anyone will tell you about The NoMad, Will Guidara and chef Daniel Humm’s (Eleven Madison Park) posh New American-French hybrid in the NoMad Hotel, is that you must order the chicken. This luxe dish for two, which involves a chicken roasted with black truffles and foie gras stuffed under its skin, has become the restaurant’s calling card, and a plate that’s now knocked off by chefs across the country. Echoing the sentiments of luxe, the restaurant’s plush, crimson-colored dining room affords low-slung tables and enough privacy for hushed conversations. Protip: Don’t forget to order the milk and honey for dessert.

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If you’re one of the cool kids who lives in Williamsburg, then chances are you’ve spent ample time at the Wythe Hotel. The f&b at this hip hang is presided over by local culinary darling Andrew Tarlow, who takes credit for venues like Marlow & Daughters and Diner, rustic restaurants that embrace farmers market ingredients. At the Wythe’s Reynard, a neighborhood bistro institution, you’ll find unfussy American eats cooked on a wood-fired oven and grill; think everything from roasted olives to a caramelized onion and gruyere-topped burger, to other dishes that change daily and speak to the season.

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If you’re looking to see and be seen, The Bowery Hotel’s signature Italian trattoria, Gemma, is the spot. Especially popular amongst the fashion crowd, Gemma is the site for al fresco summer dining, with tables arranged along Bowery, while during colder months, the comfortable, woodsy dining room feels like stepping into one of the countless neighborhood Italian restaurants you might stumble upon in Rome or Venice. While the menu appears obviously Italian, with a medley of pizzas, pastas, and proteins, don’t be surprised to find a bit of American influence in the form of a spinach and beet salad; and salmon with kabocha squash and kale.

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Williamsburg’s newly minted William Vale hotel is home to two important players: Leuca, the handsome Southern Italian eatery cheffed by Andrew Carmellini of Noho Hospitality Group (The Dutch, Locanda Verde), and Westlight, the property’s sleek and colorful rooftop lounge which offers extraordinary city views. Start your evening with a sunset cocktail up top, then head down for rustic Italian plates of pasta, pizza, and proteins prepped on the eatery’s wood-fired grill.

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From the guy responsible for several of Manhattan’s most classic of classic restaurants, Balthazar and Minetta Tavern, comes Augustine, another Keith McNally bistro. This upscale addition, which recently debuted inside the Financial District’s stunning, newly renovated Beekman Hotel, offers a mix of really good tried and true French and American staples -- think Waldorf salad and cheese souffle, but also pasta with sea urchin and streak frites.

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Little Park

Vegetables and overall lighter, seasonally-slanted fare is the name of the game at Little Park, another newish Noho Hospitality number run by Andrew Carmellini. Claiming a bright, windowed plot within Tribeca’s Smyth hotel, this cheerful, spic and span boite celebrates things that grow from the ground and swim in the sea. Protip: Don’t miss the dimly-lit, somewhat secret back bar to the right of the hotel’s entrance. It’s ideal for a pre- or post-dinner tipple.

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The Clocktower

Set within Flatiron’s modern Edition hotel is Michelin starred U.K. chef Jason Atherton’s The Clocktower, a sort of globally-inspired new American eatery that takes its steaks especially seriously. To access the second level multi-roomed restaurant, reminiscent of a super polished, elegant British pub, stiletto-heeled women must ascent a trippy, snaking staircase that looks like it would be at home in a Tim Burton movie. ++Upstairs,++ find a sexy crowd dining on seafood towers and foie gras parfaits, along with playful cocktails that have been known to come garnished with friendship bracelets and temporary tattoos.

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The Plaza//The Palm Court

It’s near impossible to venture into The Plaza Hotel’s longstanding, through recently refurbished, Palm Court and not feel tragically chic. One of Manhattan’s most storied venues since 1907 when the property debuted, The Plaza has been home to droves of important figures over its century of service, including none other than prolific author F.Scott Fitzgerald, who, reputedly penned many of his novels as a hotel guest. Old World luxury straight out of The Great Gatsby sets the tone at The Palm Court, a bar and lounge awash in cream tones, tropical flowers, and palm trees, which shoot toward the grand hall’s sky-high ceiling. Arched windows, pillars and trellising add to the room’s regal feel. It’s all sorts of fabulous, and all sorts of the ultimate destination to kick off a night of classic cocktails and bites.

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