Friday Fave: Special Occasions

After an exhausting weekend last week, I thought this week would take forever, but somehow it’s already Friday and time to do it all over again. Thankfully, this weekend should be much more relaxed than last: Kevin and I are going out to dinner at Annisa tonight to celebrate our 1-year anniversary, then heading out to the burbs tomorrow to join his mom in a Relay for Life walk. In looking forward to tonight’s dinner, I thought I’d share some of my favorite restaurants to splurge for a special occasion. Hope you’ll find these recommendations helpful the next time you’re planning a special dinner or just really want to treat. yo. self.

special occ

1. Hudson Clearwater

I’ve been hesitant to share this place on my blog, because I love it so much and love that it’s kind of a secret, but I just couldn’t hold out from you guys any longer. Every time I’ve been here, everything has been beyond perfection: the ambiance, the food, the service. Doesn’t hurt that the prices are totally affordable for such a nice spot too. The entrance is actually pretty discreet – an ugly green door – hopefully to ward off the place from becoming too popular. So now that you guys are in the know, don’t tell too many people about it!

2. Cienfuegos

If the Little Mermaid had a restaurant, this would be it. I always feel like I’m dining in a mermaid’s lair at Cienfuegos. The aqua walls totally submerge you in the cool vibe and the punch drinks, which come with dainty teacups, pack a stronger punch than one would think. Small plates (small on the portions, heftier on the price) are great for sharing, but definitely spot-on for a special night out.

3. Blue Hill at Stone Barns

Dinner at Blue Hill at Stone Barns is an all-around dining experience. About 45 minutes outside of the city in Pocantico Hills, Blue Hill is set on a rolling farm (there were actually sheep grazing outside as our cab drove up to the entrance) in an even more beautiful castle-cottage building. You can choose from a 5, 8 or 12 course tasting menu. Emily, Allie and I went to celebrate our 1-year anniversary at Benchmarc, so we decided to go all out with the 8 course. The menu is verbal, so it changes every day based on the harvest. Everything we had was phenomenal, but the most memorable thing we ate was the bread and the best butter I’ve ever had from their dairy cow Annabelle. 

4. Locanda Verde

I went here for dinner on New Year’s Eve this year hoping to spot Leonardo DiCaprio to ring in 2013 with some seriously amazing food. The seasonal menu has since changed, but everything was delicious (I believe I had duck if I remember correctly – the bubbly was flowing that night). The cool lighting and hip vibe are great for a fun, festive night.

5. Gramercy Tavern

Gramercy Tavern is a classic New York restaurant that everyone should get to experience at least once; everything is impeccable. The dining room menu is far from cheap, but your money goes a long way here as far as perfect service and extra bonuses go (think amuse-bouche that are actually good and a little take-home pastry at the end of the meal). I haven’t eaten in the tavern, but the menu is much more affordable, and I’m sure everything is just as delicious!


4 thoughts on “Friday Fave: Special Occasions

  1. Pingback: Super Greens Salad with Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette | Cooking With Cara

  2. Pingback: Friday Five: Restaurant Checklist | Cooking With Cara

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