Flickering candles tucked into tiny caves garnish an exposed-brick wall or glimmer atop rich, dark wooden tables, spreading their glow onto a wall forged from rustic timber planks. This combination of soft lighting and contemporary-yet-pastoral decor fosters a sophisticated, Spanish-inspired ambiance inside La Zarza. But it's the eatery's menu of authentic Argentinean and Spanish cuisine made from indigenous recipes and organic ingredients that really transports diners to another country.
To bolster bites of tapas, fresh ceviche, and slow-cooked steaks—an Argentinean staple—live guitarists strum traditional Spanish tunes and reality show theme songs every Friday and Saturday. The soundtrack continues thumping further into the night when La Zarza morphs into an upscale lounge fueled by pulsing beats from international DJs. At full bars across two floors, bartenders regale revelers with mojitos, sangria, and signature cocktails amid chic furnishings, such as opulent chandeliers and crimson drapery.
Alberto Gonzalez, dissatisfied with New York City’s culinary offerings, spent a year questioning New Yorkers on the streets about what they wanted in an organic restaurant. Only after carefully considering his findings did he launch GustOrganics, a USDA-certified organic restaurant and bar that uses only 100% organic ingredients. Those natural building blocks, from fresh ginger, grass-fed beef, rice flour, and locally produced mozzarella wind up in a wide range of dishes, including vegetarian and gluten-free offerings. In the bustling kitchen, the chefs pinch together house-made ravioli and toss fajitas into sizzling pans.
The employees at the certified Green Restaurant also care for the health of the environment. In addition to working with local organic farmers and never dropping pennies into scenic geysers, the staffers care for the natural world by composting, recycling, and enlisting only wind and solar energy.
Nestled inside a Midtown storefront accented with a sleek maroon awning and floor-to-ceiling windows perches Café Nunez, a Latin American cuisine hotspot that serves up Spanish tapas. Head chef Rene Hernandez parlayed his education from Spanish culinary institute El Bulli into a gastronomical career, churning out flavorful morsels from the prolific menu. Both cold and hot shared appetizers—or tapas—rev up taste buds for main courses such as Chilean-sea-bass fillet or chicken medallions, which diners can devour or don as trophies, and desserts, including traditional flan or three-milk cake, add decadence to savory Latin American flavors. The lounge displays a variety of hookahs smoldering with fruit essences, and Latin Friday events transform the eatery, beckoning guests to boogie on an expansive dance floor to hip-shaking beats alongside succulent steaks dancing the merengue.
Taking its name from a romantic epic poem from Russia’s most celebrated poet, Onegin enchants its guests with plush finery and cuisine reminiscent of the passionate poetry, stately imperial balls, and voluminous sideburns of Pushkin’s St. Petersburg. Portraits of Russian nobility grace the ceilings, forming backdrops for crystal chandeliers that cast light upon tables decorated with verse in gold leaf. Birch trees lining walls and bar tops call to mind the restaurant’s Slavic heritage, and meals of Caspian Sea caviar, blini, wild-caught trout and chicken Kiev prepared by Ukrainian head chef Ilze Ritina awaken the palate to the rich fare of Czarist-era noblemen and ladies. As diners sup on tender veal cutlets or traditional meals of brick-oven rye bread and pickled herring, they relish in the revelry of romantic karaoke ballads and occasional burlesque-performance revues.
It could be said that B.A.D. Burger's dining room operates outside the conventional boundaries of time: their grill is hot 24 hours a day and the entire menu, be it burgers or breakfast, is fair game no matter the time on the clock. Cooks fill the crispy grids of buttermilk waffles with syrup before pairing them with pieces of fried chicken and plate omelets with helpings of home fries, grits, or french fries. Fresh-baked buns envelop 8-ounce patties of beef, black beans, or garden veggies that are slathered in toppings such as guacamole, eggs, and marinara. Not a page of the menu is complete without a bevy of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options, including vegan cheese and grass-fed tofu. Additionally, the diner's in-house sweet-makers Bad Girls Bakery, wrest pans of vegan and gluten-free brownies, cookies, and cheesecakes from the oven.
Garnering praise from the Wall Street Journal for delicacies and decor and from the Wine Enthusiast for libations, the sister-run kitchen of DUO Restaurant & Lounge delicately fashions contemporary American dishes. Fava beans cuddle up to dried-fruit chutney and thyme-enriched madeira jus atop the organic, free-range chicken breast, which may inspire spontaneous crowing. Pearl onions and pearl couscous lie in savory strings across bordeaux-braised short ribs, and moist slices of red velvet cake come decadently slathered with cream cheese icing.
Ever meticulous, DUO's owners hand-placed each Swarovski crystal upon the walls to create the perfect ratio of sparkle to glitter. Massive paintings of sultry-eyed subjects gaze over the dining room as patrons sink into the silvery upholstery of the plush banquettes.