Over the last few years, my boyfriend and I have managed to visit quite a few restaurants in the tri-state area, some were amazing and some just so-so. The restaurants listed below are some of the best ones we have been to and are great for special occasions, first dates or just a night out with friends.
1. Top of the Tower – New York, NYTop of the Tower restaurant is located on the 26th floor of the Beekman Tower Hotel in New York City and serves Contemporary American cuisine. My boyfriend took me there for our 1 year anniversary and it is now one of my favorite restaurants of all time. First of all, the location is amazing and offers 360 degree views of New York City, at night time the view is simply breathtaking. Our anniversary happens to be on the 4th of July, so we got to enjoy some views of the fireworks as well. Second, the way the place is set up creates an intimate atmosphere and a fairly quite ambiance, so you don’t have to worry about screaming over the other guests and struggling to hear your companion. Third, the food is amazing and the service is great! I ordered a steak with mashed potatoes and portobello mushrooms and I still say that it was the best steak I have ever had. However, the place is pricy (a meal for 2 plus a few drinks cost about $250 ) so for us it is a “special occasion” type of place, but if you need a romantic place to take your sweetheart to you will not be disappointed at The Top of the Tower!
2. The River Cafe – Brooklyn, NYThe River Cafe is a hidden gem in Downtown Brooklyn, NY with spectacular views of the New York City skyline and the Brooklyn Bridge. Again, my boyfriend took me here for our second year anniversary and we both loved this place. The place itself is not that big, so when it is filled to capacity it does feel a little crowded and noisy, but our reservations were pretty late so it wasn’t a problem since we ended up being the only ones there and I have to mention that we were NOT rushed at all, which is nice and highly appreciated. Now on to the food – the portions are fairly small, like most other fancy restaurants, but absolutely heavenly. If I recall correctly, I ordered the sea scallop appetizer, steak and mashed potatoes for the main course and a sampler desert. The scallop appetizer was served in little shells on a bed of shaved ice and the firework of flavor from each of those shells will make your mouth orgasm – no joke! Unfortunately, the steak was nothing special, which could totally be my fault since I had to send it back to be more “well done”, as I prefer my food not to bleed (and yes, I know that this is not the right way to eat steak). However, the mashed potatoes made up for the steak in abundance, I just wish there were more of them. Please note, The River Cafe is on the higher end of the price list, about $100 per person for a 3 course meal, so be prepared. Also, the dress code is very strict, especially for men, whereas women can get away with any dressy, classy attire (just no jeans), men do have to wear a jacket, shirt and tie will not cut it. Overall, The River Cafe is a great place for special occasions and is lovely in many ways, so do go!
3. Sampan – Philadelphia, PASampan is a modern Asian/Thai restaurant and is located in Philadelphia, we absolutely love Philadelphia and happen to be at this restaurant often. However, there were times when we drove for an hour and a half just to visit Sampan for dinner because the food is that good! At this point we have tried everything of the menu and it was all magnificent. This place is popular and even if you do have reservations you will probably have to wait, but it is definitely worth it. I would recommend to come for a later dinner as people seem to disappear around 10pm, which solves the noise problem. Sampan is great for dates (since the food will provide lots of topics for conversation), awesome for groups of friends or family and is appropriate for any age (maybe not little kids, at least not at dinner time). We have taken my parents and our friends here and they all loved it. The menu is not lengthy, but the portions are large. I would recommend to come hungry and order the “chef’s tasting” for $45 per person, which will guarantee you an amazing meal. Overall, Sampan is fairly priced, well designed and is extremely yummy! If you are ever in Philadelphia, visit Sampan, I promise you will not be disappointed!
4. Ember Room – New York, NYEmber Room brings us back to New York, NY and closer to the end of my list. This restaurant is somewhat new and is located in the walking distance from Broadway, which is great for dinner and a show. We came here for my boyfriend’s birthday 2 years ago, right after enjoying The Lion King for the first time. At Ember Room you have a choice of “rooms” in which you could be seated and all of them are beautifully decorated. Additionally, there are rooms suited for large events, which could almost be private as there are a few levels to the restaurant. Ember Room features an extensive menu rooted in Thai cuisine and from what I remember, the 7 spice french fries and the chocolate covered ribs were “finger-licking” good. Overall, this place will not leave you disappointed, the decor alone will empress all of your guests.
5. Mt. Fuji Restaurant – Hillburn, NYEven though there are many other restaurants I could recommend, I will finish this list with a hibachi restaurant called Mt. Fuji. This restaurant is located on top of a mountain, the drive up which is fun and exciting especially if you are not afraid of heights. I would suggest to visit this location before night time, as the views are simply incredible. Mt. Fuji is great for a family with kids or a group of friends as it provides lots of entertainment. However, if you are looking for an intimate setting for a date I would pick one of the restaurants listed above, as Mt. Fuji is more of a “fun” place and it is loud inside due to all that fun people are having. The food is great and the portions are large so you will definitely not leave hungry. The cost is the same as what you would expect for a hibachi/sushi restaurant, so it is affordable. If you have a large group event in the future, you should absolutely consider Mt. Fuji as a host for your celebration!
I truly hope this list gave you some ideas for your next special occasion or a family event and hopefully you will enjoy these restaurants just as much as we do! Please come back and share your experiences at these locations if you ever do visit them.
Do you have a favorite restaurant?
If yes, please share, we’d love to visit. Thank you and come again
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