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Romantic NYC Italian Restaurants to Book for Valentine’s Day

What could be better than sharing plates of pasta and other Italian specialties with your Valentine on February 14 in a picturesque New York City restaurant? Here are some recommendations from Appetito.

hand picking up crostini

Dining at Rezdôra. Photo: Casey Giltner

I’ve always loved Valentine’s Day. Any excuse to celebrate love is a good one, in my book — especially if it involves sweet treats and the opportunity to throw together a fun pink or red outfit.

While chocolates are great, a reservation is what can really make (or break) your Valentine’s Day. Dining out is always fun, but for a special occasion, what we really look for is a restaurant that can provide an experience; the ambiance, the menu, and the taste have to be above par.

So, as we look ahead to February’s most iconic date, here are a selection of restaurants Appetito considers ideal to book if you’re looking to wow your significant other — or someone new. 

Aurora Williamsburg

Aurora Williamsburg dining room
The romantically lit, brick wall-lined dining room at Aurora in Williamsburg.

Aurora Williamsburg was opened in 2003 by Chef Riccardo Buitoni and a couple friends. Translating from Italian to “dawn,” Aurora is inviting, warm, and serves delicious food throughout the year with a beautiful patio space and a cute interior. Ingredients used at Aurora are primarily from Italy or sourced locally, with all menu items made on-premises. The pasta is delicious—and actually the burger is, too. Aurora Williamsburg is ready to celebrate love, with an à la carte Valentine’s Day menu available to view now.
70 Grand St., Brooklyn

Delmonico’s

Delmonico's dining room
Inside the main dining room at Delmonico's.

OK, so strictly speaking, Delmonico’s isn’t an Italian restaurant, but third-generation partner Max Tucci’s Italian family has imbued this classic NYC restaurant with the type of warmth found in an Old World trattoria. The steakhouse is also opening a Valentine’s Day dinner menu with four courses ($195 per person) featuring oysters caviar, Lobster Newberg, filet mignon, and other dishes to add to the romantic evening’s appeal. 
56 Beaver St., Manhattan

Don Angie

Don Angie dishes
Dishes from the acclaimed NYC restaurant Don Angie. Photo: Dillon Burke

Don Angie is one of New York’s hardest-to-get reservations right now but it’s worth the effort to get a table. The restaurant is a hotspot, but not in an over-the-top Instagram-viral trendy-moment way. It’s chic, innovative, and upscale — good enough to be one of the first restaurants on the lips of New Yorkers when they name their favorite dining spots, especially for memorable pasta dishes. The “Our Lasagna For Two,” made with Italian sausage bolognese and whipped robiolina, is a popular option and would be perfect for a romantic date night, especially on Valentine’s Day. 
103 Greenwich Ave., Manhattan

il Buco

Il Buco interior
For decades, Il Buco has been one of NYC's best, most influential, and perfectly romantic Italian restaurants.

On Bond Street, il Buco opened initially in the 1990s as an antique store. It evolved from there, with co-founder Donna Lennard evolving the space into an Italian restaurant where several of NYC’s top chefs—from Ignacio Mattos to Justin Smillie to Jody Williams—cooked early in their brilliant careers. Today, with chef Roger Martinez at the helm, il Buco continues to provide a homey and romantic setting with rustic touches throughout the restaurant, as well as some of the city’s best Italian cuisine. Il Buco is serving up a prix-fixe Valentine’s Day menu priced at $145 per person. 
47 Bond St., Manhattan

Il Mulino

wine and flowers
Il Mulino New York's Uptown location features a white tablecloth setting perfect for a romantic evening.

Il Mulino has Manhattan locations on the Upper East Side and downtown, along with plenty of other offshoots throughout the country serving Abruzzese cuisine. Il Mulino has been around for more than four decades and is characterized by its white tablecloths and “simple, straightforward, wholesome and always fresh” dishes. Il Mulino is serving up Valentine’s Day prix-fixe menus that vary by location.
Multiple locations

Lucciola

Michele Casadei Massari
Chef Michele Casadei Massari of Lucciola in New York City.

An Upper West Side gem, Lucciola fosters an enchanting environment that can be very romantic if you’ve booked a table for two. The space has an exclusive feel with a limited number of tables and its menu has a similar feeling. Chef Michele Casadei Massari focuses on what he calls “uber ingredients” in an effort to “elevate dishes from good to sublime.” For Valentine’s Day, Lucciola is offering a Champagne-focused, prix-fixe menu for two nights (February 13th and 14th - with the 14th already booked up) - and it’s sure to be special.
621 Amsterdam Ave., Manhattan

Osteria Carlina

Dining room at Osteria Carlina Tribeca
Inside the Osteria Carlina Tribeca. Photo: Scott Bleicher

With locations in Tribeca and the West Village, Osteria Carlina, from Moreno Cerutti, has a Northern Italian culinary focus. The dishes at both locations are as beautiful as they are tasty. And while a Valentine’s Day menu hasn’t yet been published, the restaurant is offering a special truffle selection as part of its winter menu on which all options are topped with black Perigord truffle. Both of Osteria Carlina’s restaurants have an upscale feel that’s subtly modern but still romantic. 
455 Hudson St., Manhattan
11 Varick St., Manhattan

Principe

Principe dishes
A selection of dishes from Principe, a seafood-focused Italian restaurant on West Broadway.

Chef Abram Bissell’s west Soho stunner is romantic on any night. On Valentine’s Day, he’ll serve a 6-course menu ($185, plus $85 with wine pairings) featuring snow crab claws, oysters, agnolotti with black truffle, and halibut (or duck), finished off with strawberries and champagne, and brioche with gelato.
450 West Broadway, Manhattan

Rezdôra 

Rezdôra
Rezdôra has become one of the hottest reservations in NYC because of its Modena-inspired pasta dishes from chef-owner Stefano Secchi. Photo: Valeria Pinto

Highly regarded with three stars from The New York Times’ Pete Wells and with a regular Michelin star to boot, Rezdôra is a Flatiron favorite from Chef Stefano Secchi and his partner David Switzer. Focused on cuisine native to Emilia Romagna, the restaurant’s house-made pasta is a main draw, and is served alongside fish, meat, vegetables, and Northern Italian wines. Rezdôra is offering a prix-fixe Valentine’s Day menu running for $250 per person with an optional wine pairing available for an additional $150.
27 E. 20th St., Manhattan

Uva Next Door

Across town on the Upper East Side, Uva Next Door is the “playful” younger sibling to the neighborhood’s original Uva restaurant and focuses on a dining experience that is cocktail-forward. The restaurant offers Italian classics with a southern Italy style - including Amalfi style pizza and also pasta - their gluten-free pasta is even made in-house. The restaurant describes its vibe as “eclectic nostalgia meets the new roaring 20s” and that description is fairly accurate. It’s homey yet fun and high end yet casual in a dimly-lit setting that certainly could serve as a great date spot. 
1484 2nd Ave., Manhattan

Appetito editors contributed to this story.

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