Best Restaurants to Dine at For Valentine’s Day (in NYC)

Hey guys,

Happy Tuesday! I hope you all had a great weekend and a good, productive start to the new week.

It is officially Valentine’s week and I am SO excited for it! I absolutely love this time of year and the feelings surrounding it. And while I agree and am a firm believer the your love for yourself, your significant other, etc. should not just be showcased that particular day, but everyday, I think it’s still really sweet to make that day special for yourself and/or someone else. I just love love and any sort of romantic gestures like that.

So, in light of Valentine’s Day being this weekend AND NYC getting the green light to open indoor dining at a 25% capacity, I wanted to create a post highlighting some of the best restaurants that I’ve been to with Diego that not only have great food, but also a cute, romantic-ish ambiance to it that could give you guys some suggestions for where to take someone on a date this weekend if you’re planning on it.

I also want to just mention quickly that I am well aware that we are still in the middle of a pandemic and am in no way, shape or form ENCOURAGING people to go out and gather/dine in restaurants, however, I know that people are going to do it regardless of this fact unfortunately. So, I do want to just encourage you all to do your research and if you are planning on going out this weekend, please take the necessary precautions to be safe and distant from other people that are not apart of your group(s).

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I have 6 different restaurant suggestions on my list that vary in price range, ambiance and food. While I’m going down the list, I will make brief suggestions for what we’ve gotten and I recommend you try, talk briefly about the prices and the service we received while there.

So, without further adieu, let’s get into it….

  1. NoMo Kitchen – SoHo
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Image result for nomo kitchen soho

This restaurant was so cute. All of the greenery, the hearts designs and open feel to it. We’ve only ever come here for brunch, so that’s what I will recommend it for, but they also do lunch and dinner.

They have a bottomless brunch special here where for $29 per person, you choose an entree and get an unlimited specific drink (we usually do mimosas, but they also have Rose Royale, Bloody Marys, NoMo Pimm’s Cup and Virign Salty Dogs) for 90 minutes.

Some suggestions you guys should definitely try:

Avocado Toast
Lemon Ricotta Pancakes
French Toast

Service: The first time we went, the service was pretty great and fast. We really enjoyed ourselves and even without having to call over the server, they kept refilling our glasses. The second time we went, however, the service wasn’t as great unfortunately. We did the bottomless brunch and the service was so much slower. There were times where we couldn’t even find our server for periods at a time, which considering we were paying for the unlimited mimosas for 90 minutes, was obviously annoying.

Price wise: $$

Overall, I would say to try it out if you’re really interested in it and come to your own conclusions. I know a bunch of people that went after we did and had a GREAT time.

Final thought & fun fact: There’s also a hotel attached to this restaurant, which Diego and I stood at once and really liked as well. Rooms were kind of small, but it’s cozy and in a great location in SoHo.

2. The Greens: Pier 17

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Image result for the greens at pier 17

Cabins have been all the rage recently since indoor dining was shut down again and the only way to be able to eat at restaurants in NYC were either outdoor dining or takeout. EVERYONE has been doing their own versions of cabins or igloos, which I actually think are really cute.

Diego and I came here for a random date night and I loved it. Not only did we have the cabin to ourselves, but it also had heaters within it (that we could control) and air purifiers. It was all contactless ordering and paying, and minimal contact with everyone.

Price: $$ – $$$ depending on what/how much you order.

I will say, the menu is pretty minimal. They don’t have TOO many options for food or drinks, but there was enough that we obviously both got something we liked.

Some of the items to consider trying:

The burger
The fried chicken
The grilled cheese
The bottle of rose

Something else to keep in mind: when making the reservation, you have to pay $50 to hold the reservation (it’s prepaid, and my only guess is because of how popular it’s been) AND each reservation is only 90 minutes (although I’m not sure if you’re able to extend your time because we didn’t try doing that).

3. PJ Clarke’s

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Image result for pj clarkes on the hudson

When things were normal, Diego and I loved to go to this place. The food, service and location/views are AMAZING. They have 2 locations for this restaurant, but the specific one we love going to is in Brookfield Place, near the Freedom Tower. We’ve gone here for regular date nights, anniversary dates, and just because.

Price: $$ – $$$

Our favorites:

Prime Skirt Steak Frites
The Clarke Burger
Grilled Shrimp & Shishitos
Buffalo Wings
Berne Romance rosé
Chocolate cake

4. The Crooked Knife

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Image result for crooked knife 14th street

This restaurant has like 2 different locations in the city as well, but the particular one we usually go to is in 14th street. This is actually where Diego and I went for our Valentine’s day date last year.

This is another great brunch spot that does a bottomless boozy brunch for $42 per person. You get any entree with unlimited bloody Mary’s or mimosas for 90 minutes.

The service was great and so was the food.

Diego loves his burgers so he usually gets that or the steak & eggs, and I get the Govn’r omelet which is SO bomb.

Price range: $$

5. Bowery Meat Company

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Image result for bowery meat company

This is actually the restaurant that Diego and one of my best friend’s took me for my birthday this past year. Located in downtown NYC, just off Bowery and 1st street. This is a bomb ass steak house. They have all kinds of steaks that you can possibly imagine, plus pastas and other things, but they are predominantly known for their steaks.

Now I will say that this is the MOST expensive place out of everything I am suggesting, so I 100% believe that it’s worth it, but just keep in mind that you will be spending a pretty penny here.

Some of the things we got and that I recommend:

Prime New York Strip
Whipped Potates
Kung Pao Chicken lollipops (weird name, but SO freakin’ good)
Spinach Sauteer
Fresh Baked Chocolate Chip cookies (with vanilla ice cream)

Price: $$$$$

6. Lola Taverna

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Image result for lola taverna

This is a place that we have yet to try, but I/we saw this on TikTok recently and thought it looked so cute and it’s definitely something we hope to try soon. It’s a Greek cuisine themed restaurant. The floral decor outside looks so beautiful and the reviews are pretty great for the most part as well.

Price: $$

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That is basically it for my restaurant suggestions, BUT I wanted to throw in 2 dessert place recommendations as well, because why not, right?

  1. Dominique Ansel Bakery
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Image result for dominique ansel bakery

I made an entire TikTok video about this about a month ago, but it’s definitely a must try if you haven’t already. It can be a little pricey, but again, I think it’s definitely worth it. They have great desserts here. It’s located in SoHo (Spring St.).

Some of my absolute favorites to have:

Cronuts
Chocolate chip cookie shots
Croissant
Chocolate chip cookies

Price: $$

2. Little Cupcake Bakeshop

Image result for little cupcake bakeshop nyc
Image result for little cupcake bakeshop nyc

This is a great bakery shop in SoHo as well (Prince St.). It isn’t too expensive and you can actually get a bunch of different things for like $50. They have everything from cookies to cupcakes to cheesecakes and regular full sized cakes.

Price: $-$$

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I hope that you guys enjoyed this post and it helped you in some way, shape or form!

If you end up going to any of these places, please hit me up and let me know what YOU end up thinking about it. I would LOVE to hear your guys thoughts on them.

If you liked this post, please be sure to drop a like and don’t forget to follow if you haven’t already.

Thank you guys so much for reading, and I’ll catch you in the next one!

-Xoxo, LeoGirl 

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Best Restaurants To Take Your Significant Other Out For Valentine’s Day (in NYC)

In light of Valentine’s Day quickly approaching, I thought it would be nice to share with you guys some of my suggestions for what I think are some of the best, romantic looking places in NYC to take your significant other for that special day.

And regardless of whether you’ll be celebrating it on the day of, or waiting until the weekend to do something, I think the suggestions I’m going to mention in a moment are nonetheless cute places to go to for a date night sort of thing with your significant other.

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Side Note: If the types of foods served at the restaurants I’m going to mention all are similar and/or the same, that’s completely coincidental. When Diego and I go out and find these places, we’re not actually looking for any sort of particularly cultured food, it just so happens that a lot of them tend to be similar.

Now, in no particular order, here are my recommendations:

  1. Almond Restaurant

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Location: East 22nd street, near Madison Square Park.

Type of food served: Bistro, French comfort food.

Ambience: Rustic, dim lit and comfortable feel.

Diego and I had come here for a date night of ours, without actually having it in mind to dine at. We kind of just stumbled upon it one night when our original dinner plans fell through, BUT, I’m kind of glad we ended up here. It was super cozy, good food and not that expensive either. Service was good, and it definitely had a romantic feel to it with the dim lighting and candles on the tables.

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2. Haven Rooftop

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Location: West 47th Street, on the rooftop of the Sanctuary Hotel, near Times Square.

Type of Food Served: French influenced dishes.

Ambience: Cabana styled, glassed-in rooftop spot.

I actually took Diego here for the first birthday that I had spent with him when we got together. He had mentioned to me that he really wanted to celebrate his birthday on some sort of rooftop, and since I know he’s not necessarily the party type, I did my research, found this spot and figured why not take him to a late lunch/early dinner at this popular rooftop spot?

The food was really good, and since they were just switching over from lunch to dinner, we ended up being some of the first guests here and had the place to ourself. And although I remember it being a fairly gloomy day when we came, the views from the top were still really great. Diego’s birthday is in April, so it was still pretty cool outside, but it’s closed in by glass, so it was still comfortable.

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3. Molo’s Restaurant 

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Location: Weehawken, New Jersey. Definitely on the far side compared to all the other places I’m mentioning, but 100% worth the trip if you decide to come here.

Type of Food Served: Mediterranean eatery, specializing in seafood.

Ambience: Modern, upscale riverfront with an AMAZING view of the city.

Probably one of the, if not THE most beautiful and romantic ones I can recommend. I brought Diego here for his birthday 2 years ago and it legit left an imprint on us…I don’t typically care for seafood, but I know that he does, so I figure why not?

It was about an hour and a half drive but generally it was nice to be able to listen to music and talk. And the location itself was stunning. I remember we had arrived about half hour early, so we got to walk along this boardwalk type thing and take pictures, which was really nice. And then when we finally got to be seated, we managed to get a seat right by the window which was absolutely beautiful to see the view of the city, especially since it was late afternoon and we got to watch the sunset from inside.

The servers were super nice, quick and helpful and the food was good. Although I should mention that this is more on the pricier side, but regardless think it was 100% worth every penny. If you can, I definitely recommend checking this place out.

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4. And finally, Serra by Birreria

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Location: this is another rooftop location atop Eataly in the Flatiron district, right near Madison Square Park.

Type of Food Served: Italian cuisine, house brewed ales and high-end imported beer.

Ambience: At the moment it’s sort of like a themed pop-up restaurant, in that, it’s supposed to make you feel like you’re taking a trip to the Italian Alps, while also being in a Winter Wonderland sort of feel.

I suppose this is kind of cheating to some extent, because we haven’t actually tried this place just yet (we’re supposed to be going next Monday). BUT,  I found this place online and read some pretty great reviews on it. It’s apparently a pretty popular place. It seems to have some pretty good food options, and personally, I think it looks to be a pretty romantic and/or comfortable setting regardless of whether you go with a significant other or friends. I can’t wait to be able to check it out next week and actually give you guys my full opinion on it!! (Stay tuned for that 😉 )

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I could literally probably go on FOREVER giving you guys suggestions of restaurants Diego and I have gone to and loved, but I think (thus far) these 4 are probably the most romantic-feeling ones that I can recommend with Valentine’s Day approaching.

*Also, all of these places take reservations, and they’re all available on OpenTable to be able to do that if you’re interested.*

I really hope you guys enjoyed this post, and that it helped you in some way, shape or form, whether you’re celebrating it on the day of, or just looking for some nice new restaurants to try out.

Also, I’m really sorry that things like this are subjected to the New York area only, but it is where I’m from and that’s all that I REALLY know.

Once I begin to travel a little more soon, I’ll be able to suggest more to you guys for things and places outside of New York.

But nonetheless, as I said, I hope you enjoyed. Please like, share, comment and follow and I’ll see you guys in my next post! ❤

-Xoxo, LeoGirl ❤

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Travel Diary: Cancun, Mexico.

So this might be considered cheating to some extent, because it’s been about 3 years since the last time I was in Cancun, but a lot of people would always ask Diego and I about the hotel we stood at, the things we did, our general package when we were there, etc. so I figure why not do an entire post detailing it all?

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Cancun was the first place that Diego and I had ever traveled to together. We went there in July 2015 to celebrate our 1-year anniversary as a couple, and then, since we loved it so much, we went back again the following summer (summer of 2016).

Both times that we went, we stood for a week. Saturday to Saturday if I remember correctly.

Pricing

I guess first and foremost we should talk about the pricing of it all. I don’t remember any specific amounts or prices, but I do remember that because our package was all inclusive, it was one set price for relatively EVERYTHING.

For both times, Diego and I didn’t pay more than about $1,200-$1,400 (each), which included flights going and coming, hotel, car service to and from the hotel when we were arriving and leaving, and breakfast, lunch and dinner at the hotel. Plus there was all the cool little extras within the hotel that were included, which I’ll get into in a little bit.

So, all in all, we really didn’t spend all that much (thankfully). The only outside things we spent some money on were the excursions we did, souvenirs, and if we decided to eat or order out from the hotel.

One thing we were a little worried about the first time we went was money. We weren’t sure if we HAD to convert our money, how much we should bring, etc. And if I remember correctly, the first time we went, we brought/converted I believe $300-400. We came to find that although it was fine that we did that, it really wasn’t necessary. They’re pretty modernized over there (in the touristy parts anyway), so just keeping our American money and credit cards was fine, which we learned our lesson with the second time we went.

Hotel

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What the outside and general area of our hotel looked like. I took this while I was like a zillion feet in the air when Diego and I went parasailing!

The name of the hotel we stayed at (both times) was the Riu Palace Peninsula. It’s such a freakin’ beautiful hotel to stay in when you’re in Cancun, 10/10 would recommend it to ANYONE that asked me. The scenery was gorgeous, the hotel was AMAZING, and all of the staff were so nice. I literally cannot say enough amazing things about this hotel.

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The rooms were really nice and cozy too. Comfy bed, nice decently big shower, and even a Jacuzzi! The first year we stayed here our Jacuzzi was outdoor, right outside our room on the balcony, and the second time it was right in the middle of our room which was pretty cool.

 

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For both times that we went, we stood in the same hotel. Which, looking back at it now, probably wasn’t the smartest thing to do. Yes we loved it both times and there were never any issues, but we pretty much experienced everything that we could the first time around, so the second time was ultimately just a repeat of that. Same amazing service, still, but it would’ve been best for us to book a different hotel, just to be able to experience a different one.

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One thing that was really great about this hotel (among other things), was the fact that within the hotel, there were 4 different kinds of restaurants, plus a buffet area separate. There was a steak house, an Italian restaurant, a Japanese restaurant, a Mexican restaurant, and a fusion cuisine restaurant. We’re huge foodies, so for us, this was heaven. We legit tried a different restaurant everyday that we were there, plus ended up at the buffet for breakfast, lunch and dessert (and occasionally dinner as well haha). Not to mention there was 24-hour room service and a sports bar that was open 24-hours as well to get drinks and little snacks.

All of the restaurants were included in the ‘all-inclusive package,’ so the only thing we had to worry about was making reservations for the restaurants and leaving tips.

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Not a great picture representation of it, but this is the sports bar.

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The Italian restaurant.

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These next 3 images were from the buffet they had there. Unlimited EVERYTHING; food, drinks, etc.

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The steak house restaurant they had in the hotel. Dinner with a view of the ocean ❤ _ ❤ even though it was dark lol.

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One of the MANY desserts they served on a regular basis ❤ _ ❤

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Side Note: The second time we stood here was really cool because SOMEHOW or another Diego and I got totally bumped up from the normal rooms/suites, to an adults only, VIP access type of section of the hotel. To this day we have no idea how that happened, but it was amazing. And along with being in that section came with also having a private restaurant for that area, which is where this was. I believe it was predominantly Greek food if I remember correctly.

Excursions:

Aside from the hospitality and great food, I think we can all agree that excursions are probably the best part(s) of ANY trip. Fortunately for us, Cancun had a TON of them.

Our first time here we did 3 major ones that were 100% outside of BOTH our comfort zones, which made it that much more great.

And the second time we were here, we did a bunch that were somewhat out of our comfort zones as well and just as fun.

When we first decided to come here and were thinking about the stuff we wanted to do, we knew we wanted to do one thing/excursion that was super adventurous and one that would allow us to not only have a good time, but also learn more about the history and culture of the destination we were at.

  1. The Xplor Park

If you are in Cancun and looking for a day-long, amazingly fun excursion, I 1000000% recommend for you to come to this park. We got to do this amazing ziplining course, swim in a cave, and ATV through the freakin jungle. To this day, that was probably my favorite excursion EVER. To be honest, I’m the biggest scaredy-cat EVER, so I don’t know what had suddenly came over me to be able to do all of these things, but it was AMAZING and so fun! I wish I could do it all over again.

What was really great about this excursion too was that it came with a lunch buffet; all types of great food, desserts and drinks. So we burned ourselves out with all of these activities and then got to stuff our faces afterwards lol.

Price wise, this was also the most expensive excursion. If I remember correctly, it was over $100 per person. But considering everything you were getting for the price, I think it was 100% worth it.

 

 

2. Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza is considered to be one of the seven wonders of the world. Ultimately it’s an archaeological site, displaying the advanced civilization of the Mayan people. It was actually a really great cultural experience, and interesting to see a lot of the natives from the area going about their daily routines, seeing the way they lived, etc. I would definitely recommend this if you’re looking to add a bit of an educational aspect to your trip. One thing I will say that we were totally unprepared for was the HEAT. We knew we were going to be outdoors, but didn’t know how intense it was going to be out there. It was so hot that both Diego and I got such an insane sunburn.

I would definitely recommend bringing a backpack with a few bottles of water, sunscreen, sunglasses and/or a hat, and a mini fan if possible because that Mexico heat is NO joke.

 

3. Parasailing

Doing this little excursion was actually Diego’s idea. It was the day of our one year anniversary, and I remember he was looking up at the sky watching these other people doing this, and just ended up being like “you wanna do that?”, and I was like ….. ._. um…not really. He ended up pushing me to do it, and as you can tell from the video below, I was shitting bricks. Overall though, I don’t regret it at all, it was fun and definitely something different that neither of us had tried before.

 

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4. Jet-skiing

I feel like jet-skiing is one those things that’s kind of a must whenever you go away on any sort of tropical vacation, and we hadn’t gotten to do/try it the first time we were in Mexico, so we definitely had to make time for it the second time around. It was a great little experience for the both of us, even though I was nervous as hell because I had heard a lot of scary stories from people I know when they were on jet-skies.

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5. Snorkeling

I have absolutely no idea why I don’t have many pictures and/or videos from this excursion we did, but we also did snorkeling which included speedboating as well. This was cool because we got to ride by other portions of Cancun which were absolutely beautiful, which then led us to a portion of water that allowed to snorkel for a bit. Again, I was a chicken shit lol. It was all fun and games until I actually got in the water!

*Side Note: I can’t swim, which is why I got freaked out in the water.*

But it was a pretty cool overall experience for the little time that I actually spent in the water. We got to be around a ton of fish for a while and then ride all the way back to the starting point.

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6. Speedboating

This particular excursion was really cool because it came with 2 different things to do, which was speedboating and ATV-ing. Since Diego had driven the boat the first time we did it, I figure I take a crack at the second time around 😉 . I’m sure it’s safe for me to say that we were both a bit nervous for that; and I was definitely a little shakey at first, but by the end of it I got the hang of it lol. I for sure got too excited and was on my Fast & Furious shit haha 😂

 

7. ATVing

And finally, we did ATV-ing. This was dope because we got to ride through the Mexican jungle where we saw natives on foot going about their business, and also other people on a separate excursion riding horses and we got to ride along the beach too. This excursion also came with lunch included which was great because after being in the blazing sun for the majority of the day, that was definitely needed.

 

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Another great thing Diego and I got to do was a little photoshoot on the beach and throughout the hotel to celebrate our one-year anniversary. Neither of us had done anything like that before, and it was really special for us so we figure why not. It was definitely a little pricey, but all in all I would say it’s worth it because the pictures came out beautiful and now we have that memory and those keepsakes of our first anniversary AND trip ❤

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These 2 were just a few of the pictures that we took, and also just my favorites in general ❤ _ ❤

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Overall, this was a GREAT first (and technically second) trip for both of us, especially since we were more or less just starting out as a couple and knew we wanted to go somewhere fun, but not too pricey. So I definitely recommend this to anyone, or couple, that may be contemplating a place to go that’s nice, fun, and not CRAZY expensive, especially if you really look into it and see how many great things will come along with wherever it is that you may be staying, or the excursions you may be doing.

I know this was actually a pretty long post, but it was really just because of all the pictures and videos that were included!! Hopefully I’ll get better at narrowing down all of these things as I continue to do these particular posts.

But I hope you guys enjoyed it and this was helpful to you in some type of way when it came to knowing about the hotel we stood at, the particular excursions we did, and the trip in general!

– Xoxo, Leo Girl ❤

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