Top five local spots to take a Tinder date in New York CityNo matter what you think of online dating, apps like Tinder can often feel like the only option in a city like New York. Many newcomers find it hard to meet people and make friends here, and finding like-minded dates is tougher still. Tinder sparks the kind of on the spot, all of a sudden meet-cutes that inspire some of this city's most romantic love stories. And NYC's overflowing restaurant and bar scene makes it easy to match and meet your date in an instant, then end up somewhere brand new and super fun a moment later. Here are the best spots to pop in on a whim when your Tinder swiping is successful:
A Greenwich Village classic, the original Caffe Dante opened over 100 years ago. In its heyday, the city's most famous writers and artists could be glimpsed through the shop's MacDougal Street windows. Now, the revamped spot is known simply as Dante blending heritage with the hipster details you've come to expect. Pop in for a perfect negroni at the bar, or sip your cocktail until you decide whether or not to settle in for a romantic (but relaxed) dinner. Brush up on your neighborhood history before date night and you'll never run out of things to talk about.
I've always thought messy food is the solution to an awkward first date. And let's be honest, you never learned the proper way to eat ramen anyway. Ippudo's inventive takes on classic ramen are served in a lively environment—there's always something to see in this crowd so if your Tinder match doesn't live up to the profile, you'll never get bored. Ippudo is constantly packed and the service is peppered with choruses of Japanese phrases from the very multicultural staff. Not into a full ramen dinner on your first Tinder meeting? Appetizers like Japanese cucumber and Hirata buns are perfect for a small taste (of the restaurant, or your date).
What's more romantic than sharing? Squash those first date nerves at a tiny table layered in tapas at Las Ramblas. Classic tapas dishes like patatas bravas and croquetas are balanced by the more adventurous choices you'll typically find on the chalkboard as specials. Ostrich? Osso bucco? Impress your date with adventurous selections and a seriously tasty pitcher of sangria to take the edge off. And this West Village spot is tucked discretely between neighborhood tattoo parlors and sex shops, so sitting outside in warm weather feels like dinner and a show to set the stage for your naughtier Tinder goals.
No matter how you slice it, NoLita is one of the most underrated neighborhoods in New York. Wander into Epistrophy with your Tinder match to get a feel for the local vibe, and snag a couch spot to mingle with your date and a little neighborhood flavor. The Italian food promises a seriously delicious dinner without unnecessary fuss, or just pop by for happy hour and do some solid NYC people watching. Epistrophy hosts live music on Sundays too, so if you're swiping goes well on the weekend you can drop in for something a little more lively and rest your thumbs before the week begins again.
Oysters are one of the most well known aphrodisiacs, so why not hit the ground running with some sensual food on your first date? Sel Rrose takes their raw bar seriously with a bicoastal oyster selection and other sexy shellfish, but if the sea isn't really your thing there's also a solid dinner menu to choose from. If you're still sizing up your Tinder match, keep things light with truffled fries (with thyme and parmesan, oh my) and some of my favorite cocktails in town. The Lower East Side location makes this a great spot to kick off a longer night on the town, or escape elegantly if the date goes sour—the city is your oyster.
Chloe Olewitz is a born and raised New Yorker. Her work has been published in Format Magazine, Digital Trends, The Coffeelicious, and more.