As I coordinate first dates for a living, I can confidently say that I have done my fair share of research looking for the great restaurants to take your date and make them feel special! Manhattan is huge and commuting can be daunting and time-wasting, especially during the weekends. Thus my advice to you is date locally. No need to turn something that is meant to be a relaxing dinner into a late-night had-to-change-three-trains homecoming story for your date.

A great first date spot needs to have two things:

  1. A great location with ease of access to travel to, either by a subway, cab or car, that has a variety of nightlife choices nearby should your date go really well and you want to continue on.
  2. The atmosphere should be intimate enough to make you feel comfortable but not too pretentious where the wait staff keeps interrupting you to serve you a fourth course.

Here’s my cheat sheet for a neighborhood located at the southern tip of borough of Manhattan, the Financial District – or “FiDi” as the locals call it.


Top three dating spots in the Financial District:


1. Felice

If you ever fell in love with Italy, but your love affair had to end abruptly, Felice will make you feel nostalgic and might even manage to rekindle it a little. Inspired by the sophisticated streets of Florence and the warmth of the Tuscan countryside,  this hip wine bar will spice up your date nights in the Financial District, with their exceptionally curated vino list, delicious Italian small plates and sexy ambiance! You can read their latest Yelp reviews here

Location: 15 Gold Street (b/t Platt St & Maiden Ln )
Hours: Monday – Saturday: 6:30am to 11:00pm, Sunday: 7:00am to 11:00pm

Call 212-785-5950 or visit Open Table to make a reservation. 


2. BLT Bar & Grill 

A very classy option for those who appreciate a modern all-American tavern style restaurant for a date night. Located in the stylish W New York-Downtown, BLT Grill and Bar features an inviting bi-level industrial space with high ceilings and Edison Bulbs. Your date will be positively impressed by the seriously delicious food offered here and the intimacy the environs create. Check out their reviews on Yelp.

Location: 123 Washington Street (entrance on Albany Street)
Hours: Mon-Sun 11:00am – 4:00pm

Call 646-826-8666 or visit Open Table to make a reservation. 

blt bar and grill

3. Smorgas Chef Wall Street

A nice refuge in FiDi from all the usual cuisines, which is great for a duo. Along with Stone Street’s most spectacular outdoor dining in Manhattan, Smorgas features exposed brick walls and landmarked European floor-to-ceiling windows taking your partner and you away on an instant trip to Northern Europe. At Smorgas you will enjoy unique ingredients with delicate flavors, from Scandinavia such as cloudberries, herring, and lingonberries are regularly featured on their seasonally driven menu. Click to view their reviews on Yelp.

Location53 Stone Street (between Broad Street and Hanover Square)
Hours: Mon-Sun 11am-10pm

Call 212-422-3500 or visit Open Table to make a reservation.

smorgas chef

Did I forget your favorite date place in the Financial District? Comment below! (..and maybe I’ll add it to the list!)