Spring has officially sprung in New York City and that means less ordering in and more stepping out to take advantage of all the great eateries this city has to offer. Don’t know where to start? Read below for some recommendations.
Look no further. Your new favorite way to dine is here.
Tucked into a beautiful corner in the Upper East Side, Parma Nuova is the latest creation from the minds of restaurateurs Giorgio Manzio and La Masseria Group’s Enzo Ruggiero, Giuseppe Iuele and Chef Pino Coladonato. We stopped by on Monday night to sample some of their menu items!
When you walk into the restaurant, you’re greeted with the quintessential, comforting scene of an elevated New York Italian restaurant: white tablecloths, cherry wooden chairs, a tall candle stand on every table. We sat down before the dinner crowd rushed in, so got to see the ambiance transform from quiet to bustling yet warm.
For our first course, we chose the BURRATINA CON MELANZANE, PEPERONI ARROSTOE POMODORI SECCHI. Served with sundried tomatoes, marinated eggplant, and sweet roast peppers, this preparation turned the typical, but still delicious burrata starter found on every menu in the city, into something bright, unique, and delicious. Our second dish was the INSALATA PARMA, a medley of arugula, radicchio, tomato, peppers, olives, and endives, topped with sheets of parmesan. It was the last day of the heat wave, and we needed a cool salad to revive our bodies – this hit the spot.
We sipped on summery aperol spritzes and enjoyed our appetizers while we excitedly browsed Parma Nuova’s decadent pasta and entree menus. After debating over traditional and modern dishes, we finally settled on GNOCCHI ALLA SPUMA DI PARMIGIANO E TARTUFO, a gnocchi in parmesan sauce with fresh truffles. When the pasta is brought to your table, the server comes with a precious truffle in a glass jar and shaves it directly onto your plate! I’d never seen this done before, and as a truffle-obsessed foodie, I was awestruck. If you’re a fan of truffle, and I’m thinking that applies to almost every single person reading this, you definitely need to try it fresh. Our decadent pasta helpings were completed by their daily special, the Branzino, with roasted carrots and potatoes. The fresh fish was deboned and plated, cooked with a deliciously simple seasoning and the perfect complement to the rich, cheesy pasta.
Before we finished our meal, we had to try some of their desserts – the TORTA DI MAMMA PAOLA, a flourless chocolate cake, and the MISTO BOSCO CON SORBETTO AL FRUTTO DELLA PASSIONE, a passion fruit sorbet topped with fresh summer berries. Offering something luscious and something refreshingly light, these desserts left us very full, and very happy. Before we left the restaurant, we caught up with Giorgio and Enzo to learn a bit more about Parma Nuova’s launch and vision. Officially opening just a few weeks ago, the restaurant offers a similar menu to Masseria dei Vini, just with a few more regional specialties from the Parma region. The La Masseria team is hoping to offer the Upper East Side a taste of the authentic Italian cuisine that has delighted Rhode Island, Palm Beach, and Midtown West for years.
Nestled streetside into the dreamy restaurant-lined blocks of west Soho, 12 Chairs Cafe brings gourmet Israeli food to New York. It started out as a small cafe, and evolved into a neighborhood favorite drawing in crowds of patrons day after day. As you walk by groups of laughing friends and families, you get the easygoing sense of summertime and the scent of fresh cooked food wafting through the air. In the late evening, you might even be able to hear the sound of tambourines and traditional music filling the streets as the dining experience turns into a party. We stopped by on Tuesday night to try some food we haven’t had here before, and fully experience their day to night vibe.
First up, we had the pita with a few small dips: the Babaganoush and Labaneh. As the energy of the restaurant started to build around us, we dipped warm pillowy pita breads into creamy labneh and spiced olive oil, and babaganoush topped with fresh herbs and blended to the perfect chunky-creamy consistency.
After our appetizers, we tried their Shipudim and Arayas. The Shipudim consisted of impossibly juicy chicken skewers topped with tomatoes and served with crispy potatoes and spicy tomato salad. Each bite of hot, spiced chicken paired with the fresh tomatoes and salad captured the beauty of Mediterranean flavors, and reminded us why 12 Chairs is such a beloved neighborhood staple. The Arayas, which are grilled pita filled with minced lamb, were served with the same spicy tomato salad that seems to complement all meat dishes. These packed a punch of substance, and each little triangle really fills you up! These delicious bites were more than enough to satisfy our hunger and then some, but of course, we had to grab some dessert.
First up on the dessert menu, their take on a classic cheesecake. The Israeli style cheesecake served at 12 Chairs is much lighter and fresher than American versions, and a bite of this topped with strawberries really captures that summer feeling. Our second dessert was Malabi, a dish I’d never tried before. It’s a coconut milk pudding covered in pomegranate syrup, and topped with coconut flakes and pistachios. A bit like panna cotta in texture, this creamy dessert was also a refreshing end to our delicious meal at 12 Chairs.
I’m so excited to keep coming to this restaurant to continue trying all the items on their menu as the summer goes on and beyond. If you haven’t tried this spot yet, be sure to put it on your list! And if you go as often as we do, hopefully you’ve discovered some new dishes to sample on your next visit by reading this. Check out 12 Chairs’ website and menu here!
On the bustling streets of 6th avenue, in the heart of midtown NYC, Avra Estiatorio unveils the newest gem in their collection: Avra Rockefeller Center. Taking over the space next to the MLB storefront, Avra Group’s newest location is grand and imposing, yet an impressively inviting respite from the business right outside. Facing Radio City Music Hall, office workers and tourists are bound to be curious about this block-spanning new restaurant with an outdoor seating terrace.
We stopped by for the grand opening of Avra Estiatorio Rockefeller Center to learn more about the brand’s hopes for their stellar new location, and sample some of the Greek cuisine that the brand is famous for.
Walking into the stately entrance on 6th ave, we were greeted by Avra’s light-filled interior, reminiscent of Greek style architecture and design. As some of the first few guests to arrive before the large crowd shuffled in, we had the chance to really take in the artistry and craft of the new location’s breathtaking design – complete with a waterfall under the stairs and a row of seats that look like you’re dining al fresco in a small town on the Greek islands. The two signature cocktails being served that night were the Mykonos Breeze, a passion fruit vodka based cooler, and the Santorini Martini, a gin-based cucumber martini. We loved both, and recommend the Mykonos to those who want something fun, light, and fruity, and recommend the Santorini to those craving something still light, refreshing, and less sweet.
After enjoying our drinks at the patio and taking in the June evening’s warmth, we decided to check out the raw seafood bar setup on the ground and lower level floors. Suit-clad guests lined up to be served from the vast array of west coast oysters, east coast oysters, lobster, and shrimp, with cocktail sauce, horseradish, and lemon wedges for dressing. The abundance of the seafood on display, together with fresh fruits and veggies, evoked a seaside scene. This spoke to the freshness of the cuisine offered here and fed perfectly into the ambiance that Avra Rockefeller Center is trying to create. Aside from the raw bar, appetizers were passed around throughout the night – everything from salmon and tuna crudo to meatballs and our favorite, the spanakopita.
From the delicious cocktails to mouthwatering appetizers, guests dined wonderfully as they were entranced by the new Avra location’s beauty, possibly imagining carefree summer dinners here throughout the season, like we were. Even Jennifer Lopez was spotted at Avra’s grand opening! Make your reservation here and check out their website today!
Beverly Hills Food and Wine Festival raises a glass to a fantastic weekend filled with the best of food and wines you can find all throughout Los Angeles.
This cute hole in the wall is where you need to go on your next Mexican food excursion.
Boston is a city that defines America. Beantown is rich in history and full of legendary moments that defined the country. From the steps of the freedom trail to the momentous halls of education, this is a part of the world that cannot be denied its status of admired appreciation.
Some of the brightest culinary minds gathered for this one event