The culinary wizards at Spanish Pavillion adroitly sate hunger pangs with their multifarious lunch and dinner menus that feature authentic Spanish cuisine. Noontime noshers feast on handheld victuals such as an imported ham-and-cheese panini with saffron aioli ($8) or delve carnivorously lunching forks into the meaty depths of the 8-ounce filet mignon with mojo verde ($16). During dinner, put kindergarten-honed sharing skills into practice with the savory tapas menu, which dishes out small plates including a Galician bean stew ($4), grilled chorizo ($9), and octopus with hot paprika ($11). Larger entrees include the paella calasparra, hosting a toothsome protein party of clams, mussels, prawns, calamari, scallops, chicken, shrimp, and chorizo congenially hot-tubbing in a saffron seafood broth ($26, $49 for two). Red-wine-braised short ribs delight mouths with their tender flavor-kisses ($24), and the 1.25-pound grilled twin lobsters team up in matching red costumes for a palatable duet ($31).
Harvest Table specializes in fresh farmhouse fare that, according to the New York Times, “calls to mind a just-picked bounty.” Customers gather around the counter—a long table designed, built, and sanded by the father of owner Carissa Borraggine—adding to the restaurant’s homey feel. Behind the counter, Carissa's team crafts sandwiches, salads, and smoothies based on customers' create-your-own inventions or house recipes.
Sandwiches include a club with crisp bacon and house-roasted turkey stacked between three slices of eight-grain bread. Salad-wise, shrimp, grilled pineapple, and sesame-ginger dressing flavor the High Thai'd, whereas Cajun chicken and tangy mango dressing add kick to the Aztec. Fruit smoothies like the Peach Sunrise—a blend of peaches, strawberries, honey, and soymilk—act as healthy dessert options. Patrons can round out meals with Harvest Table's generous selection of coffee, tea, and hot chocolate.
A suit of gilded armor greets diners when they step inside Chateau of Spain, reminding them that in both décor and cuisine, the restaurant seeks to transport to another land. As a peninsula nation, Spain has developed a cuisine reliant upon fresh, copious seafood, and bright-pink shrimp works its way into many of the dishes on this menu, including shrimp sautéed with mushroom sauce, stuffed with crabmeat, and hobnobbing with other shellfish in the seafood paella. The lunchtime menu showcases a mix of Spanish and American fare, including burgers and BLTs, which diners can enjoy as they watch the small fleet of televisions affixed to the wall broadcasting soccer matches or the latest Real Housewives of New Jersey dubbed in Spanish for easier understanding.
The layout of Rio Rodizio is telling: with a candlelit dining area in one section and a long bar lined with flat screens in another, it's as much a place to take a date for a romantic meal as it is a spot to grab a drink after work. In the dining room, gaucho chefs carve cuts of lamb, beef, and pork right at the table, forcing diners to clear plate space next to seared fish, homemade pastas, and sushi rolls drizzled in flavorful sauce. Like a home that's been decorated by robbing a furniture store in the dark, the cocktail menu is a fusion of tastes, its Asian and Brazilian proclivities represented by sangrias, tropical juices, and sake.
Along with importing Portugal's unique recipes to the shores of Newark, Sol-Mar Restaurant envelops patrons in an atmosphere that recalls a sidewalk café in Lisbon. Adorned with leafy foliage, murals, and terra-cotta awnings, the dining room features large, arched windows through which commedia dell'Arte archetypes can make their dramatic exits. To top the earth-toned tablecloths, a menu of authentic Iberian fare features dishes such as creamy clams casino, stuffed salmon with crabmeat, and grilled veal chops.