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Chinatown: idk tonight’s Top 10 Date Night Picks

By: Rachel Clayton

There are many Chinatowns in the world, but one of the oldest and largest of these communities is the one in Manhattan. This vibrant neighborhood is filled with great food, art, and culture from many different Asian countries. Both traditional and modern influences are alive in Chinatown, making it a popular tourist destination and a great place to explore with your partner.

idk tonight's Top Ten Date Night Picks—Chinatown

Mission Chinese Food
171 East Broadway, Manhattan

This spot has taken the neighborhood by storm ever since it opened the sister location to the popular San Francisco restaurant. Known chef Danny Bowien takes a modern, non-traditional take on Sichuan food while keeping just as spicy as ever. The space has the romantic feel of a party that’s winding down, leaving you free to monopolize your crush with low level lighting, plush red booths, and small touches of glitzy decorations. Be bold, and share plates of Mouth Numbing Mapo Tapo, Mushroom Jerky Fried Rice, and Beggar’s Duck. Just don’t try to share water – you’re going to each want several glasses, as these dishes pack spice and flavor.

Mission Chinese Food
Credit: Mission Chinese Food
Joe’s Shanghai
9 Pell Street, Manhattan

If your lover is more impressed by classic food done right than a hip atmosphere, take them to Joe’s Shanghai. Though the decor is pretty basic – think hotel reception room – this restaurant has gained a loyal following thanks to its amazing soup dumplings. Head to this hopping spot (be prepared to wait), and see which one of you can eat the most pork and crab dumplings. They’re cash only, but make up for this inconvenience by providing fast service so you can get back on to the streets (or into the sheets – no judgement!).

Joe's Shanghai
Credit: Sherica L., Yelp
K One Karaoke Bar
97 Bowery, Manhattan

When you’re downtown and in need of a karaoke fix, K One Karaoke Bar is the place to go. Going in the opposite direction from some of the small, minimally decorated rooms at other karaoke spots, K One explodes with vibrant decor – think neo backlit bar, funky geometric shapes in the lounge area, and gold pounded walls. They have a few snack plates like wings, skewers, and fries – all food meant to soak up their delicious drinks. In addition to having top shelf spirits (if you feel the need to flex on your bae) they also fruity cocktails like Orange Crush, Jade Island, and Purple Rain.

K One Karaoke Bar
Credit: K One Karaoke Bar
Bassanova Ramen
76 Mott Street, Manhattan

Authentic ramen in calming digs can help create a cozy date night vibe over at Bassanova Ramen. This spot keeps its decor wonderfully simple with white walls, and wooden tables, with the option of eating at the spectator bar, communal tables, or in side booths. Basically, if a Muji is your happy place, you’ll love the vibe. With recipes straight from Tokyo, they serve up delicious ramen dishes with everything from green curry, tondaku, and truffle oil. If your lover is a bit picky, they can enjoy the option to choose not only what kind of both to have, but what kind of noodles and toppings. There’s something for everyone, except ramen haters – though maybe even they could fall in love with ramen here.

Bassanova Ramen
Credit: Lily C., Yelp
Mmuseumm
4 Cortlandt Alley, Manhattan

If you’ve dragged each other through every major NYC museum, it’s worth checking out Mmuseumm, which is not only radical in its display, but also in its size. The entire museum fits in an elevator shaft, parked at street level with the industrial doors thrown open. Inside is an entirely different vibe, with pure white light illuminating rows of art objects arranged to tell a story. The museum itself works as an art object, and viewing everything takes less than 20 minutes – perfect for those of us who feel defeated just by looking at a map of The Met. The museum is also open 24 hours – though some of those hours the access is through a peephole.

Mmuseumm
Credit: Mmuseumm

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Whiskey Tavern
79 Baxter Street A, Manhattan

Whiskey Tavern is the definition of a good ole bar to have a good ole time. The place can get packed with dedicated locals, but past the hustle and bustle of those crowding around the bar, you can usually nab a table in the back. Obviously a choice of whiskeys is on the menu, but they’re also known for their picklebacks should you be feeling that vibe. The food is greasy, whimsical, and almost stoner esque – bowls of bacon, homemade hostess cupcakes, and most importantly loaded tater tots – all perfect for soaking up bad decisions.

Whiskey Tavern
Credit: Whiskey Tavern
Nom Wah Tea Parlor
13 Doyers Street, Manhattan

In a neighborhood full of dim sum spots, Nom Wah Tea Parlor is the dim sum spot. Besides having the creed of staying open since the 1920s, Nom Wah also brings something new to dim sum decor, opting out of the palace look or a purely functional environment in favor of a cozy vibe reminiscent of a diner with red booths, a neon Sapporo sign, and framed photos on the wall. The prices are great, so you can treat you bae to dumplings, noodles, spring rolls, pork buns, and more for a cool $20. They also have beer, wine, and a great tea selection, so you can wash down the snacks as fast as they come to your table.

Nom Wah Tea Parlor
Credit: Nom Wah Tea Parlor
Chinatown Ice Cream Factory
65 Bayard Street, Manhattan

This spot is small but mighty, with a yellow exterior as sunny as the smile it’s going to put on your face. Yes, NYC is full of great creameries, but this place is severely under the radar – though locals know enough to form lines out the door. Service is fast and friendly, to deal with the aforementioned line, so the longest part is deciding which of their unique flavors to try – matcha, balck sesame, lychee, red bean, or durian? In addition to your typical run of the mill toppings, they have fun additions like gummy balls of mochi or two pocky sticks – perfect for sharing Lady and the Tramp style with your lover.

Chinatown Ice Cream Factory
Credit: Chinatown Ice Cream Factory, Facebook
Apotheke
9 Doyers Street, Manhattan

Wouldn’t a trip to a shuttered, old fashioned pharmacy be romantic? No? Well what if that was just a facade for one of the hottest speakeasies downtown? Regardless of whether you use this method to pitch your partner, definitely bring them here for cool vibes and stellar cocktails. Inside the space is glitzy with gold tile, arches, and romantically dim lighting, and the mixologists wear lab coats in homage to the sneaky exterior. The cocktails are expensive but worth it for their wild creativity – ingredients include absinthe, snowpeas, mezcal with sunflower blossoms, and other bizarre findings – all sourced locally or grown on their rooftops.

Apotheke
Credit: Apotheke
Magic Jewelry
238 Canal Street #108, Manhattan

A photo can be a great way to remember your date, but a photo from Magic Jewelry can be especially helpful in capturing all your loving feelings. That’s because this store is known less for its jewelry and more for its aura photography. You can finally find out if your lover’s aura is blue or yellow with hints of orange, complete with a professional analysis to let you know exactly what’s up. After you can pursue the crystals and stones, looking for one to fix you, but don’t worry about picking up rose quartz – after this date, you’ll already have plenty of luck in love.

Magic Jewelry
Credit: Magic Jewelry - Timeout

See Our Curated Date Ideas This Week