What began as a traditional German konditorei nearly 80 years ago has transformed a lot—by changing its name, adding an espresso machine, and hiring French Culinary Institute grad Cristina Nastasi as pastry chef—but when it comes to the essentials, not much has changed. Rudy's Bakery & Cafe still packs its gleaming display cases with cookies, danishes, cupcakes, and cakes, the latter of which can also be customized for weddings, birthdays, and baby showers for mothers or rain clouds that are expecting. But the spot also features more novel treats, such as gelato and cake pops, along with a range of specialty espresso drinks.
Artful twists on classic recipes reign at Rose Valley Cafe and Grille. Charred octopus shares a plate with lentil salad and herbs. Grilled polenta pairs up with braised beef short ribs. Spicy avocado, pickled tomato, and ginger add a piquant flair to cured salmon. When the elegant meals draw to a close, customers' dessert-trowels dip into housemade ice cream and cheesecake, the varieties of which change daily, unlike the pope's fashion statements.
After more than a decade following different paths in the restaurant industry, friends Donny Giordano and Pellegrino Mongillo merged their culinary passions into Pellegrino's Restaurant & Lounge. In the kitchen, chef Mongillo—a Culinary Institute of America graduate—and his staff combine fresh, seasonal ingredients into dishes inspired by the various regions of Italy. Fresh seafood crops up in the octopus bruschetta and the scallop-, shrimp-, and mussel-flecked orzo. Other offerings include seared hangar steak with provolone and cavatelli pasta with sun-dried tomatoes, goat cheese, and chicken.
In the main dining space, servers glide across tiled floors to wood tables set under arched doorways. Behind a granite bar, bartenders mix specialty flavored martinis and pour a range of international wines.
Luis Parada is an unofficial ambassador for Cuban culture. A celebrated musician, he traveled the globe sharing the unique arts of his homeland. But he's also a master of traditional Cuban cooking, having tried his ladle at homestyle dishes that have been passed down through generations. Today, Luis and his fiancee Doris Fenton make it their mission to share the spirit of the island at the Cuban Flavor Cafe. That heritage informs every plate that passes out of the kitchen, whether its a classic Cuban sandwich with roasted pork, ham, and swiss cheese, or a grilled, marinated skirt steak proudly waving a tiny flag. And ears can feast on Cuban flavor as well?live music fills the cozy cafe on Friday and Saturday nights.
The team at Sweetalicious Cafe bakes all 14 flavors of ice cream in-house, just like the rest of the sweet treats on the menu. They swirl frothy peaks of frosting on top of cupcakes, and they decorate their cake pops to suit the season or to make them look like brussels sprouts. Several treats can be made gluten-free, including fudge brownies.
Sweetalicious Cafe's staff welcomes customers dig into their selections in a retro-style eatery with a checkerboard floor and turquoise walls. 45 single records adorn those walls—which could also be said of Wayne Gretzky's shed.
Every day, bagels emerge from the ovens at Manhattan Bagel. Crisp on the outside, doughy on the inside, they form the perfect base for customers to top with cream cheese, whether plain or blended with fruits or veggies. Bagels are also split in two to build sandwiches, with eggs and bacon for breakfast, or deli meats and crisp veggies for lunch. Not limited to bagels, the eatery also crafts sandwiches using wraps, focaccia, and other breads. Specialty coffee drinks get brewed with beans roasted in small batches for a smoother flavor than using a file to even out each bean's rough edges.