The two worst days of the year to eat out are Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. Amateur hours abound, with many kitchens and staffs phoning it in for people who are only there because they think they have to be.
Restaurants hate Mother’s Day because of all the huge parties (tables of 6+ are the norm), the set menus (to make it easier on the hoi polloi), and because no one drinks much (you are with mom after all). They hate Valentine’s Day because it’s nothing but two-tops — hence, much lower check averages and tips.
That being said, here is our list of the most romantic tables in town. At this late date, you probably have as much chance of booking a table at any of them as ELV does of scoring a date with Scarlett and her Johanssons (but the newly re-opened RM Seafood (upstairs), NOVE or Sage might have a couple of tables open):
Le Cirque (the most civilized dining room in town)
Top of the World (go at sunset)
Eiffel Tower Restaurant (lovely view, pseudo-sophistication, with prices to match)
miX (gentlemen: if you can’t score after a meal here, it’s time to retire the hardware*)
Mon Ami Gabi (outside – if you both love to people watch)
RM Seafood (upstairs – dazzling food, cozy atmosphere)
Twist by Pierre Gagnaire (prepare to be amazed, but leave your preconceptions at home)
Joel Robuchon (bring money)
Guy Savoy (bring money, and a love of great wines at decent prices)
Sage (adventuresome eats for the under 40 crowd)
Marche Bacchus (al fresco eats at their best)
Vintner Grill (swanky, Vegas goes Hamptons decor, food to match)
Picasso (a food and art lover’s delight)
ALEX (everything from your entrance to the petit fours** will be drop-your-fork memorable)
Prime (the most beautiful steakhouse in the world)
Botero (sexy steaks)
NOVE (there’s something seductive about all Italian restaurants – this one tops them all)
FYI: Since we eat in all these places all the time, ELV and The Food Gal® consider a tiny table at a funky Asian joint to be the height of romantic sophistication (long on taste, if somewhat short on atmospherics). We’ll be celebrating the start of Chinese New Year (and Valentine’s Day) at Ping Pang Pong.
* Fyi: ELV has eaten here many times and failed to score.
** Petit fours is French for: “I can’t believe they’re serving us more food.”