Edible enlightenm­ent from our eatery experts and colleagues Monie Begley, Richard Nalley and Randall Lane, as well as brothers Bob, Kip and Tim.

- —Richard Nalley, Forbes contributo­r

Music may be the food of love, as Shakespear­e put it, but food can work magic of its own, especially when shared in romantic surroundin­gs augmented by candleligh­t, a flickering fire, soft piano music or a panoramic view of city lights twinkling to the far horizon. Here’s a baker’s half-dozen of our favorite, most enthrallin­g and romantic dinner destinatio­ns in New York City.

♥ Majorelle

28 East 63rd St. (Tel.: 212-935-2888)

An oasis of high-luxe serenity off Madison Avenue, Majorelle’s personal-scale rooms with their graceful crown mouldings and exuberant floral arrangemen­ts are among the loveliest in the city. (Extra romance points if you’re able to score a table in the skylit garden space.) The service is silky, welcoming and impeccable. The menu of French classics, with a nod toward Morocco, is highlighte­d by the perfect and nostalgic poulet rôti “grand-mère,” surrounded by potatoes, mushroom and bacon; and the darkly meaty lamb tajine with prunes.

♥ One if by Land, Two if by Sea

17 Barrow St., between West 4th St. & Seventh Ave. South (Tel.: 212-255-8649)

This Village mainstay, housed in Aaron Burr’s 1767 carriage house, makes the impossible-to-verify but not-impossible-to-imagine claim of having hosted more marriage proposals than any other venue in the city. The setting does impress, especially on a winter’s night, with its fireplaces and tiers of chandelier­s blazing in the low light and the pocket garden glimpsed outside the arched windows, illuminate­d in the snow. The very pricey ($150 prix fixe) menu is satisfying enough—the signature beef Wellington delivers, as does the Asian-inflected colossal crab—but the cuisine is not the magnet here.

♥ Le Coucou

138 Lafayette St., between Howard & Canal streets (Tel.: 212-271-4252)

Step in off one of SoHo’s less-traveled blocks and feast your eyes on Le Coucou’s breathtaki­ng, chandelier-lit, secret loft space and its chic, gussied-up clientele. There’s plenty more to feast on here as well, thanks to American-celebrity-chef-in-Paris Daniel Rose’s playful takes on French dishes high and low, such as the pillowy sweetbread­s and the meaty, complex bites of filet Basquaise, with its refined gravy, foie gras and ham.

♥ The Nines

9 Great Jones St., between Broadway & Lafayette St. (Tel.: 212-421-5575)

This spot is a riff on an old-school supper club for the cool crowd of a new generation. Step through the velvet curtain and emerge onto a movie-set vision of a sexy, vibey ’40s nightclub, complete with crimson walls and barstools, a crooning piano player and patrons’ faces softly illuminate­d in the twilight by table candles. The short menu includes refined signature cocktails and a roster of genuinely satisfying grownup fun foods, such as Scottish smoked salmon and blini, and Kaspian potato with Osetra caviar.

♥ Manhatta

28 Liberty St., between Nassau & William streets (Tel.: 212-230-5788)

The restless, striving city pulses 60 floors below, a shimmering carpet of lights stretching as far as the eye can see. But this hushed aerie in the Financial District isn’t just counting on your gaping out the windows—what’s inside is pretty great, too: a spare, elegant, high-ceilinged room with well-spaced tables and on-point, effortless service, Danny Meyer style. The food truly doesn’t have to be this good, but it’s worth the trip itself—including the tête de cochon, with its maple-cured trout roe and peanuts (!); the tart/creamy/ briny oysters Manhatta; and the float-off-your-plate chocolate sabayon.

♥ The Waverly Inn

16 Bank St., at the corner of Waverly Place (Tel.: 917-828-1154)

Is there a more inviting winter restaurant space in the city than this dark-paneled, low-ceilinged series of tavern rooms with their crackling fireplaces and cheeky murals of the last century’s literary and artistic A-listers? The place feels intimate and dislocated in time, a kind of long-running New York fantasy of relaxed, insidery sophistica­tion. The pricey fare has a clubby, any-era feel as well, including the famous cheeseburg­er, the richly stuffed Baltimore crab cakes and the luscious two-way (roast and confit) duck.

♥ Temple Court

The Beekman hotel, 5 Beekman St., between Theatre Alley & Nassau St. (Tel.: 212-658-1848)

It took sure-footed chef Tom Colicchio a couple of tries (and the cessation of the pandemic) to nail this landing, but the 2023 version of the restaurant and its elevated American standards menu is truly worthy of its eye-popping surroundin­gs in the

1883 Beekman hotel. Outside the arched doorways is the bustling gold-and-green library-like bar and the hotel’s mesmerizin­g nine-story Victorian atrium. Inside, beneath gorgeous, Klimt-like stained-glass panels, the darkened space is dialed-in for seductions, business or personal.

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Le Coucou
 ?? ?? One if by Land, Two if by Sea
One if by Land, Two if by Sea

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