Zagat has compiled a list of the best spots to get a boyfriend — and where you can definitely ditch one. Which do you choose?
Thank goodness for the folks at Zagat, who have compiled three epic guides for where to dump and date in Los Angeles, New York City and Chicago. Although I am interested in great date spots, I’m more interested in where to love him and leave him — so I will be checking those spots out in particular. If you have any personal, first-hand knowledge of either type of locale in your city, ladies, write a review and let me know if Zagat got it right!
At the very least, these researchers are thorough. They’ve broken down each city into categories like ‘romantic celebrating’ and dating on a dime. Like I said before, though, I prefer the breakup joints, which include ‘cool loos’ — where you can escape to a place more interesting than your companion — and ‘hottest servers’ — where you can ogle, flirt…and get a not-so-hot reaction out of your date.
So where do you go? Here’s a sample selection from each city!
Where to date
WHAT ZAGAT SAYS: For “romantic patio dining” “sit by the pool” at this “elegant” little number in the Viceroy Santa Monica boasting an “over-the-top” British look by Kelly Wearstler with luxe cabanas and “pretty” gardens; “ho-hum” Cal fare, “slow” service and “premium” pricing get some surveyors down, although the lavish Sunday brunch buffet redeems it for many.
WHAT I SAY: The chef de cuisine, Chris Crary, is really, really hot (and a friend of mine). Don’t believe me? He was in the running for Eater.com‘s hottest chef in Los Angeles!
Santa Monica | Viceroy Santa Monica | 1819 Ocean Ave. (Pico Blvd.) | 310-260-7500 | www.viceroysantamonica.com
- Polo Lounge , Celeb Spotting
WHAT ZAGAT SAYS: “If you have deep pockets you can see shallow celebrities” at this “glamorous” Beverly Hills “icon” where “deals” are still brokered in the “comfortably elegant” dining room, and even “if you’re not a star”, the “gracious” staff will still “treat you as one”; no surprise, it’s not about the Cal-Continental cuisine, although devotees declare it’s actually “quite good” too; P.S. a drink at the piano bar is a less-”expensive” option.
WHAT I SAY: They’re right! The last time my good pal Carolyn was there, she spotted the Simpson clan, including Jessica, Ashlee, Eric Johnson & Bronx Mowgli as well as the adorable Dianna Agron.
Beverly Hills | Beverly Hills Hotel | 9641 Sunset Blvd. (Crescent Dr.) | 310-887-2777 | www.beverlyhillshotel.com
WHAT ZAGAT SAYS: Silver Lake is the appropriate setting for this “hipster coffee shop” where “incredible” espresso, cappuccino and lattes are “expertly crafted” by “experienced baristas”; “creative” types and nondrinkers make their own “funky” nightlife scene on the “nice patio” Thursday–Saturday when it closes at 11 PM, but more folks appreciate it as a “morning-after cure.”
WHAT I SAY: Two words: hipster. heaven.
Silver Lake | 3922 W. Sunset Blvd. (Hyperion Ave.) | 323-663-6173 | www.intelligentsiacoffee.com
Where to dump
Il Pastaio, People-Watching Places
WHAT ZAGAT SAYS: It’s “always crowded” from “power lunches” through “nights to remember” at this “lively” Beverly Hills “hangout” – and “justifiably” so, given “exquisite pastas” and other “heavenly Italian food at down-to-earth prices” from chef- owner Giacomino Drago; “tightly packed tables” feel a bit like the “last row of coach”, but staffers are “friendly” and “outdoor tables” offer a perfect perch for 90210 “people-watching”, so many say it’s “worth” contending with the “mob scene.”
WHAT I SAY: Yup, it’s a good place to look everywhere but at your date. Make sure you go during prime dinner hours (7:30-8:30) if you really want to be rude.
Beverly Hills | 400 N. Cañon Dr. (Brighton Way) | 310-205-5444 | www.giacominodrago.com
Barney’s Beanery, Loud & Crowded
WHAT ZAGAT SAYS: “Thankfully, some things never change”, such as this “delightfully cheese- tastic” WeHo “frat-boy heaven” where “rowdy” capacity crowds “scream” to be heard over “lots of TVs”, “video games, air hockey, pool tables” and karaoke; there’s a “huge list” of “reasonably priced” beers, plus “greasy” “cheap eats” off a menu as big as the “Sunday Times” – but be warned: you might “have to wait forever” to get them.
WHAT I SAY: Ditch your date — and go pick up someone new during happy hour!
West Hollywood | 8447 Santa Monica Blvd. (bet. Holloway & Olive Drs.) | 323-654-2287 | www.barneysbeanery.com
NEW YORK CITY
Where to date
Five Points, Brunch Spots
WHAT ZAGAT SAYS: Even though it’s “named after one of old NY’s worst slums”, this “lovely” NoHo Med–New American inhabits a “sun-dappled”, “Zen-like” room complete with a “babbling brook” and serves “amazing”, “reasonably priced” food; service is equally “terrific”, even during its “killer brunch.”
WHAT I SAY: Perfect for a leisurely, romantic, yummy (and informal) brunch. Get mid-morning drunk on Mimosas and spend the rest of the day in bed. PERFECT Sunday!
NoHo | 31 Great Jones St. (bet. Bowery & Lafayette St.) | 212-253-5700 | www.fivepointsrestaurant.com
Dive 75, Board Games
WHAT ZAGAT SAYS: “Perks” are plentiful at this “laid-back”, “not-so-divey” UWS venue, ranging from “tons of board games” to “free candy” and even a “big fish tank”; what’s more, drinking’s no trivial pursuit here, thanks to an “impressive selection” of beer and whiskey.
WHAT I SAY: Fun, fun, fun!!! The drinks are cheap and there are bowls of candy everywhere, literally yours for the taking. One of my favorite date spots in NYC.
W 70s | 101 W. 75th St. (bet. Amsterdam & Columbus Aves.) | 212-362-7518 | www.divebarnyc.com
Death & Co., Drink Specialists
WHAT ZAGAT SAYS: “Expertly crafted”, “out-of-this-universe” cocktails are concocted at this “moody” East Village vault where “bow-tied, suspendered” bartenders reenact the “speakeasy” era in a “Goth”-tinged setting; a no-standing policy makes “waiting in line” part of the package, and “mind-blowing” prices also come with the territory.
WHAT I SAY: Dark, sexy and the drinks are to-die-for. Damn, how I long for the Pisco Punch.
E Village | 433 E. Sixth St. (bet. Ave. A & 1st Ave.) | 212-388-0882 | www.deathandcompany.com
Where to dump
WHAT ZAGAT SAYS: “Not an Iron Chef for nothing”, Masaharu Morimoto “reigns supreme” with his “divine” Japanese cuisine delivered by a “diligent” crew at this “ultrahip”, “spaceship”-like Chelsea destination; just bring a “pot of cash” to pay for it – or two to go for the “fabulous omakase”; P.S. check out the “funky” high-tech bathrooms.
WHAT I SAY: If you need to run and hide in the bathroom, this is a perfect place for it. You may never want to leave after your initial shyness subsides (no, people cannot see you pee).
Chelsea | 88 10th Ave. (bet. 15th & 16th Sts.) | 212-989-8883 | www.morimotonyc.com
Serendipity 3, Kid Central
WHAT ZAGAT SAYS: “Throngs of children” and “tourists” “pack” this “legendary” East Side dessert parlor/gift shop for “sinful”, “high-priced” sundaes and famous “frozen hot chocolate”; “patience is a must” to handle “out-the-door lines” and – once you “wedge yourself in” – “spotty” service.
WHAT I SAY: The best place to get a sweet treat — and make it blindly obvious to the man in your life that it’s him, not you.
E 60s | 225 E. 60th St. (bet. 2nd & 3rd Aves.) | 212-838-3531 | www.serendipity3.com
Where to date
- Drawing Room, Great Food, Little Known
WHAT ZAGAT SAYS: Maybe “a restaurant attached to a club is the last place you’d expect to find good food”, but this Gold Coast eatery connected to Le Passage (and now owned by Three Headed Productions) exceeds expectations with its “innovative” New American cuisine matched with some of the “most creative cocktails in town”, mixed “tableside” upon request; better still, this “place to chill” is open into the wee hours.
937 N. Rush St. (bet. Oak & Walton Sts.) | 312-266-2694 | www.thedrchicago.com
mk, Meet For A Drink
WHAT ZAGAT SAYS: It’s continuing “kudos” for Michael Kornick’s “classy”, “happening” Near North haunt that’s “stood the test of time” and still “shines” with “honest”, “outstanding”, “seasonal” New American cuisine “minus the fussiness”; expect “knockout desserts”, a “stellar wine list” and “excellent service all around” in the “spare”, “urban-cool”, “renovated warehouse” space – in other words, it “meets high expectations” “from start to finish.”
868 N. Franklin St. (bet. Chestnut & Locust Sts.) | 312-482-9179 | www.mkchicago.com
Where to dump
Oysy, Hottest Servers
WHAT ZAGAT SAYS: The name of this “stylish” Japanese duo means “delicious” – and the majority of reviewers says it applies to the “tasty”, “reasonably priced” sushi offerings, “complex rolls” and small plates brought to table by the “eye- candy waitresses”; but finicky fin-atics point to “dull combinations” and “inconsistent” service that make them “nothing special”; P.S. the South Loop locale offers “brilliant outdoor dining” “opposite Grant Park” in the summer and live music on weekends.
50 E. Grand Ave. (bet. Rush St. & Wabash Ave.) | 312-670-6750 South Loop | 888 S. Michigan Ave. (9th St.) | 312-922-1127 www.oysysushi.com
- Bull & Bear, Meat Markets
WHAT ZAGAT SAYS: “Well-heeled” dudes and “beautiful” gals get a buzz on at this “finance- themed” River North watering hole with lots of flat-screens and “innovative” (some say “genius”) “tableside taps”; “above-par” bar grub and a “dark, rich” setting are further enticements, provided you’re “prepared to deal with the crowds” – especially “during happy hour.”
431 N. Wells St. (Hubbard St.) | 312-527-5973 | www.bullbearbar.com
** (Unfortunately, I have little to no experience with Chicago nightlife — epic fail! But I have selected some spots that sounded good. Until I make it to the midwest, you’l have to let me know what you think of said places!)