To get into Yopparai, you press a buzzer, then walk up some stairs in an apartment building on Rivington, and enter through a sliding door on the second floor. That might make this sound like a gimmicky speakeasy, but once you sit at the long chef’s counter and the food starts arriving, you’ll realize that isn’t the case at all. It’s a really good Japanese spot with a huge menu ranging from sashimi to barbecue to oden (small bowls of dashi broth with your choice of ingredients). The fried chicken with green tea powder is great, but our favorite thing here is the chef’s selection of three types of oden for $12. The two-person, cushioned stools at the counter are ideal for dates, and there are a couple larger tables if you come with a group. Either way, you should also explore the massive sake list.
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Spicy Village is not a romantic date spot. Unless styrofoam dishware gets you all hot and bothered. Take your friends, bring a bottle of wine, and prepare to spend $10 a piece on some delicious Chinese grub.
The Late Late
The Late Late is a bi-level bar on the Lower East Side with a subtle Irish theme and a lively basement on weekends.
CloudM Rooftop Bar
CloudM is the rooftop at the CitizenM Hotel on the LES. It isn’t the coolest rooftop in the world, but it has a great view, and it stays pretty quiet.
More Japanese spotsSee more
Blue Ribbon Sushi Bar & Grill
Somehow, the Blue Ribbon brand’s new spot is just as excellent as its other outposts, despite being in a Midtown hotel. This place is, however, insanely expensive.
If you’re looking for a group dinner in the heart of Times Square, sushi at Haru might be your best option.
Suggested by our writers
Kiki’s is a Greek place on the Lower East Side that’s packed every night, and serves good, affordable food.
Le French Diner
We like this tiny French restaurant on the Lower East Side so much we almost didn’t want to tell you about it.
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