Slideshow: Where to Take a First or Second Date: 40 Affordable Restaurants in NYC

Coppelia (Chelsea)
Coppelia (Chelsea)
Part diner, part polished restaurant, Coppelia turns out reinvented Latin comfort food 24/7. Share some ropa vieja or ceviche while making googly eyes at each other across the booth. Read more here »

Coppelia: 207 West 14th Street, New York, NY 10011 (map); 212-858-5001; coppelianyc.com

[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

Co. (Chelsea)
Co. (Chelsea)
Devotees of Jim Lahey's bread genius would have a blast at this warmly lit corner restaurant with floor-to-ceiling windows looking out over 9th Avenue. Share a creatively but harmoniously topped pie like this Shiitake, or the Popeye with tufts of roasted spinach, Gruyere, and black peppper. Read more here »

Co.: 230 9th Avenue, New York, NY 10001 (map); 212-243-1105; co-pane.com

[Photograph: Erin Mosbaugh]

Red Egg (Chinatown)
Red Egg (Chinatown)
Impress your date with a dim sum restaurant a notch above the rest: higher quality ingredients, fresher preparation, and more interesting flavors. Read more here »

Red Egg: 202 Centre Street, New York, NY 10013 (map); 212-966-1123; redeggnyc.com

[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Exchange Alley (East Village)
Exchange Alley (East Village)
Few cities are as sexy as New Orleans, and few restaurants represent that sexiness as well in New York as Exchange Alley. This NOLA-meets-NYC excels at simple but delicious bites that have you thinking, "yes, this is what I want to eat." We'd suggest leaning towards the small plates. Read more here »

Exchange Alley: 424 East 9th Street, New York, NY 10009 (map); 212-228-8525; exchangealleynyc.com

[Photograph: Alice Gao]

Graffiti (East Village)
Graffiti (East Village)
Cozy up to your date at this tiny restaurant featuring bold South Asian flavors, like this Chickpea Crusted Skate topped with sautéed watercress and tangy mint yogurt sauce. Read more here »

Graffiti: 224 East 10th Street, New York, NY 10003 (map); 212-677-0695; graffitinyc.com

[Photograph: Nancy Huang]

Bobwhite (East Village)
Bobwhite (East Village)
Fried chicken that's easy to love and easy on the wallet. Pull up a stool in this cozy Alphabet City restaurant and treat your date to fried chicken done well: moist, well salted, and as juicy as you can ask for. Just be sure to ask for dark meat. Read more here »

Bobwhite: 94 Avenue C, New York, NY, 10009 (map); 212-228-2972; bobwhitecounter.com

[Photograph: Max Falkowitz]

Awash (East Village, Morningside Heights & Cobble Hill)
Awash (East Village, Morningside Heights & Cobble Hill)
Let the finger food begin! Finger-licking good Ethiopian, we mean, some of the best in town. It's vegetarian-friendly and fun to eat, though the meaty offerings are the best ones.

Awash: Multiple locations in East Village, Morningside Heights & Cobble Hill; awashnyc.com

[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

Motorino (East Village)
Motorino (East Village)
Tuck into some of our favorite pizza in the city, leopard-spotted Neapolitan-style pies done right. And be sure to save room for dessert: the tiramisu is one of the best in New York. Read more here »

Motorino: 349 East 12th Street, New York, NY 10003 (map); 212-777-2644; motorinopizza.com

[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

Bianca (East Village)
Bianca (East Village)
A charming atmosphere and surprisingly affordable Italian fare makes Bianca an excellent date night spot. Read more here »

Bianca: 5 Bleecker Street, New York, NY 10012 (map); 212-260-4666; biancanyc.com

[Photograph: Laura Togut]

Han Joo (East Village)
Han Joo (East Village)
Korean barbecue cooked tableside isn't the cheapest meal, but it's plenty of fun, and now that Flushing mainstay Han Joo is open in the East Village, it's more accessible than ever. Don't miss the pork barbecue! Read more here »

Han Joo: 12 Saint Marks Place, New York, NY 10003‎ (map); 646-559-8707; hanjoonyc.com

[Photograph: J.Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Prima (East Village)
Prima (East Village)
Seafood at very un-seafood-like prices. Add in the marble-topped tables, brick walls, and sophisticated cocktails, and you have a very sexy atmosphere. Read more here »

Prima: 58 East 1st Street, New York, NY 10003 (map); 646-559-4823; primanyc.net

[Photograph: Maggie Hoffman]

Gazala Place (Hell's Kitchen & Upper West Side)
Gazala Place (Hell's Kitchen & Upper West Side)
Share a new experience at Gazala Place, NYC's first Druse restaurant, which is like hummus-heavy Mediterranean food with a twist. For example, take this Moshakal platter, a combo of lamb, chicken, and kafta served with rice and salad. Read more here »

Gazala Place: Multiple locations in Hell's Kitchen and the Upper West Side, New York, NY; gazalasplace.com

[Photograph: Carey Jones]

Yunnan Kitchen (Lower East Side)
Yunnan Kitchen (Lower East Side)
The Chinese food here comes from Yunnan province, and is full of bright herbs and exotic spices of the region's Southeast Asian neighbors. A cool, clean-flavored spot for a taste of something new and modern that doesn't lose its sense of place. Read more here »

Yunnan Kitchen: 79 Clinton Street, New York, 10002 (map); 212-253-2527; yunnankitchen.com

[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

Franchia (Midtown East)
Franchia (Midtown East)
Accomplish two major feats at once: finding tasty vegan food and a serene spot in the bustling craziness of NYC. At Franchia, you can get to know one another over dishes like this Vegetarian Bibimbap with mountain greens. Read more here »

Franchia: 12 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10016 (map); 212-213-1001; franchia.com

[Photograph: Garrett Ziegler]

Sip Sak (Midtown East)
Sip Sak (Midtown East)
Sip Sak has what might be the best Turkish food in Manhattan, and it's a boon to the affordable food dessert that is Midtown East. Don't miss the lamb chunks over eggplant purée or the kebabs, and definitely start with a huge mezze platter. Read more here »

Sip Sak: 928 Second Avenue, New York, NY 10022 (map); 212-583-1900; orhanyegen.com/sipsak

[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

Bamiyan (Murray Hill)
Bamiyan (Murray Hill)
Experience some of the oldest and best Afghan food in the city at Bamiyan, where you can sit on embroidered pillows at tapestry-covered tables. Read more here »

Bamiyan: 358 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10016 (map); 212-481-3232; bamiyan.com

[Photograph: Garrett Ziegler]

Anjappar (Murray Hill)
Anjappar (Murray Hill)
Chettinad cooking has two overarching characteristics: much of it is fried, and much of it is heavily spiced. If you're down with that, then Anjappar is the place for you. For example, take this Gobi 65: cauliflower florets stayed firm and bone-white, despite being thickly battered and coated in freshly ground garam masala. Crab dishes in curry sauce are messy to eat but fun to share. Read more here »

Anjappar: 116 Lexington Avenue, New York, NY 10016 (map); 212-265-3663; anjapparusa.com

[Photograph: Garrett Ziegler]

Salvation Taco (Murray Hill)
Salvation Taco (Murray Hill)
With Chef April Bloomfield of The Spotted Pig behind the helm, you know you're in for some really good grub (especially if it's pork). The place is kind of eclectic and colorful with a brick wall warming up the vibe. Read more here »

Salvation Taco: 145 East 39th Street, New York, NY 10016 (map); 212-865-5800; salvationtaco.com

[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Laut (Union Square)
Laut (Union Square)
Got a hot date? Keep things spicy with Malaysian food at this Michelin-star rated spot in Union Square. Read more here »

Laut: 15 East 17th Street, New York, NY 10003 (map); 212-206-8989; lautnyc.com

[Photograph: Christine Tsai]

Jin Ramen (West Harlem)
Jin Ramen (West Harlem)
Not afraid to slurp noodles in front of your date? Head to Jin, a gem of a ramen joint way up north—without the epic long lines of the older, more popular ramen restaurants. Read more here »

Jin Ramen: 3183 Broadway, New York, NY 10027 (map); 646-559-2862; jinramen.com

[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Murray's Cheese Bar (West Village)
Murray's Cheese Bar (West Village)
Cheeseheads, look no further. You can taste and share to your heart's content at Murray's Cheese Bar. Best for a cheese plate and small nibbles to go with wine. Read more here »

Murray's Cheese Bar: 264 Bleecker Street, New York, NY 10014 (map); 646-476-8882; murrayscheesebar.com

[Photograph: Max Falkowitz]

Otto (West Village)
Otto (West Village)
Still going strong after all these years, Otto is a fun place to sit at the bar, which is modeled after a train station. You could nibble on appetizers or even pastas with glasses of wine suggested by the friendly barstaff. Just a heads up: we'd steer clear of the noisy dining room and less-than-stellar pizzas. Read more here »

Otto: One Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10011 (map); 212-995-9559; ottopizzeria.com

[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

Bab al Yemen (Bay Ridge)
Bab al Yemen (Bay Ridge)
Forgo forks and even the rush of the city in this cozy Yemeni restaurant with spiced dishes like this Lamb Segar Hummus and a delicately charred Fasolia. Read more here »

Bab al Yemen: 413 Bay Ridge Avenue (69th St), Brooklyn, NY 11209 (map); 718-943-6961; babalyemenrestaurant.com

[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

Alice's Arbor (Bedford Stuyvesant)
Alice's Arbor (Bedford Stuyvesant)
With its lovingly worn aesthetic and locavore cred, Alice's Arbor's does the Brooklyn restaurant thing well at reasonable prices. Read more here »

Alice's Arbor: 549 Classon Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11216 (map); 718-399-3003; alicesarbor.com

[Photograph: Garrett Ziegler]

Littleneck (Gowanus)
Littleneck (Gowanus)
The only nouveau clam shack that holds up to a New Englander's standards. Munch on a whole belly clam roll with crisp, light batter. Read more here »

Littleneck: 288 3rd Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11215 (map); 718-522-1921; littleneckbrooklyn.com

[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Lot 2 (South Park Slope)
Lot 2 (South Park Slope)
Just novel enough, well-executed, and a little bit sophisticated while still gut-level appealing. This neighborhood restaurant with dim lighting and warm wood tones will do you right, especially if you get the burger. Read more here »

Lot 2: 687 6th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11215 (map); 718-499-5623; lot2restaurant.com

[Photograph: Robyn Lee]

The Islands (Prospect Heights)
The Islands (Prospect Heights)
Good Caribbean food is hard to come by in NYC. Show your date that you're in the know with The Islands, which churns out hearty oxtail and jerk chicken platters like your long-lost Jamaican grandmother. It's a tiny restaurant with a steep stairway, but the effect is a place that earnestly feels like a hideaway tucked in Prospect Heights. Read more here »

The Islands: 803 Washington Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11238 (map); 718-398-3575

[Photograph: Carey Jones]

Ramen Yebisu (Williamsburg)
Ramen Yebisu (Williamsburg)
Tasty bowls of ramen in a clean modern space—a boon for Williamsburg's previously ramen-less scene, and a bargain to boot. Read more here »

Ramen Yebisu: 126 North 6th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11211 (map); 718-782-1444; ramenyebisu.com

[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Allswell (Williamsburg)
Allswell (Williamsburg)
More interested in drinking but still want some good food to go along? It's all good at Allswell, where you'll find tasty food and drinks, as well as a vaguely pubby atmosphere. Read more here »

Allswell: 124 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11211 (map); 347-799-2743; allswellnyc.com

[Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

Il Bambino (Astoria)
Il Bambino (Astoria)
Italian sandwiches and small plates that the locals swear by, with an affordable but delicious beer and wine list. During warmer weather there's beautiful garden seating. Read more here »

Il Bambino: 34-08 31st Avenue, Astoria, NY 11106 (map); 718-626-0087; ilbambinonyc.com

[Photograph: Max Falkowitz]