Hell’s kitchen spans from 34th St. up to 59th and from eighth Avenue to the Hudson River.
As the legend “Dutch Fred the Cop” states, the name derives from a parallel between the social conditions of the neighborhood to the sweltering temperature of a kitchen (from hell). No one knows precisely when the term originated; the nickname “Hell’s Kitchen” became popular in the 1880s with the press. New York’s history mystifies the neighborhood, given its history of poverty, crime, prostitution, corruption, and illegal activities. Historical pictures portray rundown slums, disorderly streets filled with overcrowding.
Nowadays, the name “Hell’s Kitchen” conveys historical mysticism and adds to the neighborhood’s modern-day allure. Celebrities, such as Gordon Ramsay, utilized the name and neighborhood’s reputation to market their products. The famous Hell’s Kitchen show likens its temperature (and tempers) with a hotter kitchen than hell.
While in the late 1800s, this may have been a questionable location for a date, nowadays Hell’s kitchen is filled with world-famous restaurants, shows, art, and other activities. This bustling neighborhood Offers a romantic setting, with a touch of old-world charm and modern-day glitz.
Casellula is a great wine bar with an impressive (handmade) cheese selection that changes daily. The romantic Parisian café-like interior is an excellent choice for a date night with the tall ceilings and regal cheese displays.
Briciola features an extensive wine selection accompanied by Italian tapas. The cozy dining room/bar is reminiscent of a wine cellar with brick walls, wooden wine racks, and hanging prosciutto legs decorating the space.
Ardesia is the perfect pre-dinner stop for a pair of wine connoisseurs, featuring changing wine lists, bites, and cheeses. The bi-level bar offers a spectacular view of the offerings.
Performance and Art
This gorgeous, multiple-space venue houses up-and-coming artists and fosters collaboration between NYC and visiting artists. Founded by the famous dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov, the BAC is a contemporary performance mecca.
Playrights Horizons is much more than a theater. It is the home of modern-day cultural expression. This theater/undergraduate school focuses on the discourse of the contemporary American playwrights and is a doorway to the ever-evolving American identity.
New World Stages is an off-Broadway theater that also features productions previously on Broadway. This five-stage theater features dramas as well as musicals.
A Hell’s Kitchen staple since 2007, Nizza is a contemporary Italian trattoria with a modern flair and features bottomless brunch and a wine club. The dimly lit atmosphere is a cross between an NYC bar and a nostalgic Italian family room.
This popular Korean grill serves barbecue skewers accompanied by contemporary, seasonal dishes. Both the sleek, modern interior and the elegant bar are excellent places for a conversation.
The Pure Thai Cook House is likely one of the best Thai restaurants in the city. Family (secret) recipe noodles take center stage at this bustling neighborhood haunt. The vibe is informal, reminiscent of a countryside kitchen.
Perhaps one of the most lively and colorful Cuban restaurants in NYC, Guantanamera serves Cuban classics (in solid and liquid form). On Fridays and Saturdays, the space turns into a party with complimentary, hand-rolled cigars and live music.
Located on the ground floor of the Ink48 hotel, this farm-to-table restaurant serves seasonal, sustainable dishes created by Chef Sofia Schlieben and Executive Chef Aaron Tomczak. The elegant wood and leather dining room is the perfect setting for a memorable date.
Chef Zac Zhang combines authentic Chinese creations with a Louisiana crawfish boil flare in his seafood-focused menu. The minimalist, brick-walled ambiance is perfect for a seafood-loving couple.
Chef’s Table (at Brooklyn Fare)
A creation of Chef César Ramirez, this three-Michelin-starred restaurant delights all senses with a French/Japanese fusion menu. The contemporary setting, decorated with iron and wood trimmings, is perfect for an impressive first (or 1000th) date.
Acclaimed as one of NYC’s finest sushi restaurants, Sushi of Gari 46 serves an a la carte menu and Omakase-style menu, which leaves everything up to the chef. The dining room is a contemporary, simple setting where the activity at the sushi bar reigns.
Set in an elegant, airy, and bright setting, 44 & X serves brunch and pre/post-theater dinner. The menu is contemporary American and changes seasonally. Keep an eye out for local celebrities as this seems to be the local place to be.
Gotham West Market is a more adventurous setting for a date. Dubbed “Heaven on Earth” by the New York Magazine, it’s a food hall with many upscale choices. Gotham West Market has something for everyone in a festive and informal ambiance with five restaurants on location.
The Polynesian (Re-opening soon)
Located at the Pod Hotel42, this tiki lounge serves vibrant cocktails in an equally flamboyant setting. We are all looking forward to the re-opening of this luxurious treat.
Clubs and Nightlife
Don’t Tell Mama offers a piano bar, restaurant, and two cabaret showrooms. The atmosphere is lavish and opulent, set in a dimly-lit, brick cellar decorated with red curtains. Check the website for showtimes and performances.
The Secret Room is an elegant and luxurious speakeasy supper club that offers cocktails, burlesque, and other performances galore. Other acts include theater, comedy, dance, aerial arts, belly dance, live music, and more.
Located in Yotel, the Green Room is a supper club featuring performances and live music. The stylish décor, menu, and outside space provide the perfect and elegant date setting.
Swing 46 is a lively and festive supper club that offers live jazz, free swing lessons, dancing, and dining.
Iron Bar and Lunge is a bustling, bi-level gastropub offering sports and cocktails.
A long-time favorite, the Rum House is a classic, elegant piano bar featuring daily live performances and equally elegant cocktails.
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