The smells don't match the scenery at Market Café. With a modest exterior and a formica-tinged, art-deco theme on the inside, the venue seems like a traditional diner. Yet the aromas sneaking from the kitchen bely a more complex story—one of daily-made flatbread dough, pork burgers stuffed with cilantro, and sautéed tiger shrimp. These are but a few of the protagonists on a continental menu of made-from-scratch plates. The café's stress on in-house prep and signature touches—such as the loin-of-pork sandwich's housemade butter pickles—defies its unassuming design, offering what New York magazine calls "culinary salvation" from the area's standard eateries.
In addition to prioritizing housemade fare, Market Café caters to dietary restrictions. Its gluten-free menus draw from many mainstay listings for brunch, lunch, and dinner, and diners can also sub gluten-free noodles and buns into regular pasta or burger dishes. Much of the café's press homes in on its generous desserts—specifically the chocolate cake, a three-layered slice big enough to split between several people or act as a doorstop until someone gets hungry. The decadent confection pairs well with offerings from the fully stocked bar. Fresh blueberry purée and lime juice mix with gin in the blueberry gimlet, and the Dirty Goose—Grey Goose vodka, vermouth, and prosciutto-stuffed olives—preserves an avian motif that began with dinner's grilled quail served in a red-wine reduction.
Beyond Madiba Restaurant's metal-plated storefront, South African music dances through the air, and hanging masks beam down on an eclectic assortment of chairs and tables. Designed by South African native Mark Henegan and his wife Jenny, the dining room evokes the lively, communal ambiance of a South African shebeen—an informal dining hall where locals gather to eat, drink, and socialize. A chandelier of vintage coke bottles illuminates the mismatched assortment of tabletops, plates, mason jars of water, and bottles of house wine.
In the kitchen, Henegan and his kitchen staff whip up authentic platters assembled with imported and local ingredients that garnered praise from Time Out New York and Gourmet magazine. As slow-cooked oxtail stew simmers in a cast-iron pot, cooks baste meats in the apricot, red wine, tomato, and raisin medley that makes up their signature sauce. Chefs whip up a range of seafood entrees and curries, using fish imported directly from South Africa after granting sets of wishes to three local fishermen.
The restaurant hosts a variety of live events throughout the week, from local South African bands to DJ dance parties. Madiba divvies up a percentage of its profits to benefit several community-outreach programs, aiding people locally and internationally with funds for education, urban farming and renewal, and equal rights.
“There is something very French about getting a Nutella crepe to go from the sidewalk window—it's almost like Paris,” lauded the Wall Street Journal after sampling crepes crafted by Vive la Crêpe founders, brothers, and Mexico City natives Carlos, Alfredo, and Andrés Mier y Terán. Today, across four New York City locations, a team of skilled flippers pour silky batter onto crepe skillets, creating the base for a menu of sweet and savory creations, such as sugar and butter or spinach, mushrooms, and basil oozing with goat cheese harvested from Earth’s second, lesser-known, goat moon. Baristas pull shots of illy espresso to craft cappuccinos and other café drinks as diners linger in shops reminiscent of modern Parisian cafés, contentedly munching French fare or debating whether the Eiffel Tower is actually an illusion.
Vive la Crêpe’s convenient mobile-app-based rewards program, available for iPhone or Android, helps customers track their crepe consumption and earn prizes, including complimentary treats. Vive la Crêpe’s convenient mobile-app-based rewards program, available for iPhone or Android, helps customers track their crepe consumption and earn prizes, including complimentary treats
Delish! Cooking School, whose classes were voted as some of the Best of WNY by Buffalo Spree, is known for its quality instruction and taste. Within a comfortable urban space, customers can pick up sweet selections such as fresh fudge, scones, bar cookies, and hand-dipped chocolate. Fresh-brewed espresso drinks accompanied by baked goods or housemade ice-cream sandwiches tempt tongues, while a range of cooking tools, sauces, and spices line shelves for at-home chefs to use in their own kitchens.
Experienced chefs lead cooking classes geared toward the home cook looking to hone skills without memorizing transcripts of the Food Network’s full broadcast. Students sip wine during classes such as The Exciting Foods of Thailand, Casual Italian Supper Party, or The New Vegetarian Cuisine.
Lovin’ Cup’s owners had a dream of creating a place that celebrates life’s pleasures and offers the unique and personal experience each of their customers seeks. And to achieve that dream, it took the combined efforts of all five owners to truly fill Lovin' Cup to the brim, each one specializing in a different area of the culinary arts or entertainment. The crew started with a simple, delicious menu of familiar eats made right, such as Angus beef burgers, gourmet pizzas, and hearty sandwiches. They paired these, with an array of craft beers on tap – plus more than 50 varieties in bottles – and a carefully curated list of international wines.
To entertain the brain's higher functions, they host game nights every Monday, open mic performances every Tuesday, and live music of every genre on Thursdays. Performances rotate between jazz, alt-country, indie, and rock groups as often as they change out their drafts on tap and, presumably, their socks. And finally, the owners paid similarly close attention to the artistic décor of their space, from the polished wood of their wine racks and tables to the mutable collection of art that peppers the walls.
Rarely do two burgers at Burke's Restaurant and Bar ever look the same. Not only do diners get to choose from four buns—including pretzel buns and english muffins—but they can also crown their burgers with more than 16 toppings, such as chipotle mayo and Irish bacon. Burgers, however, are just one of many options available at Burke's, whose remaining menu sports everything from chicken parm sliders to Irish chicken curry. Bartenders complement hearty feasts with myriad libations, from 19 draft beers to liquor-spiked milk shakes, which visitors can sip while watching games on 14 flat-screen TVs and two widescreen projectors.