The next time you have a “catchup” dinner with someone, but you’d really rather catch up with your couch, remember Lil’ Gem. This new spot on the Lower East Side is designed to feel like a house (complete with couches and windows with shutters), and is a comfortable spot to meet a friend or two. The food is a take on Lebanese, so you’ll eat stuff like hot and cold mezze, flatbreads, and shawarma, and it’s all tasty and not too expensive. In other words, this is a new SCRFCUWFF to add to your rotation.
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A cocktail bar that specializes in oysters, and has a very solid burger. Sel Rrose isn't our favorite oyster hangout, but it's definitely one you should know about.
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HaSalon is a party restaurant in Hell’s Kitchen where you can dance on tables after eating enjoyable but very expensive Israeli food.
You’re going to need an hour on the train to get to Tanoreen. But if you appreciate Middle Eastern or Mediterranean food, it’s more than worth it.
Kashkaval Garden is a neighborhood spot in Hell’s Kitchen with Mediterranean food that’s good for sharing and a nice back room for dates.
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Via Carota is a walk-in only Italian spot in the West Village, and there’s a good chance you’ll have to wait a few hours for a table. It’s worth it.
Lovely Day is one of the most reasonably priced restaurants where you can still feel like you've had a fun night out.
Off the main stretch in Williamsburg is Aurora, a place charming enough for a First/Early in the Game Date, calm enough for Dinner with the Parents, and with an insane, well-greened Outdoor/Patio Situation.
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