The Poni Room is a new bar underneath Saxon + Parole in Noho. The dark space, which doesn’t have any standing room, is a great option for casual dates - just grab a booth or a high-top and drink a frozen cocktail, martini, or some wine (reservations are also available if you like to plan ahead). If you opt for wine, you’ll be instructed to walk to the back, pick a bottle out of a giant sink filled with ice, and pour your own glass or carafe - to the brim if you want. They also serve a bunch of Japanese-influenced small plates and seafood skewers, and while you can eat a full dinner here, we recommend just sharing a couple things - like crunchy lotus root in soy sauce and crispy, sweet, spicy chicken wings - while you drink.
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Avant Garden is a tiny vegan restaurant putting out some excellent, and very original food. You won’t find any veggie burgers here.
A local Infatuation mainstay, Esperanto’s got that little something special that that’s kept it in heavy rotation since before Ave. C was cool.
886 is a casual Taiwanese restaurant on St. Mark’s in the East Village. It’s good for a fun and affordable group dinner.
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Eleven Madison Park
Fancy though it may be, Eleven Madison Park is surprisingly lively. But make no mistake, this is fine dining at its most serious.
While the burger and the brunch menu are great, the rest of the menu at Cafe Colette falls short.
Suggested by our writers
The Ten Bells
The Ten Bells is a natural wine bar on the Lower East Side that serves some good small plates and $1 Happy Hour oysters every day.
Davelle is an all-day Japanese spot on the LES that’s unlike any other place in the city.
Ghost Donkey is a little Mexican-themed cocktail bar with a few couches and a lot of red lights hanging from the ceiling.
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