New York: Mediterranean-inspired dishes at dimly-lit Estela
Launched in 2013 in an intimate space that once housed the Knitting Factory music venue, Estela quickly made a big bang. Long-time in the food business, both Thomas Carter and Ignacio Mattos seemed to know what a restaurant needs to be all about. And with acclaimed reviews and a full-house each night, even POTUS Barack Obama wanted to pay a visit.
What are you waiting for?
Wooden floorboards, small tables and intimate dining; that's how the place looked as soon as I first got in escaping the busy streets around Houston street. A combination of smells reminding slowly cooked food hit me and I immediately got hungry.
The menu (a la carte only) offered equally unflashy dish titles such as ‘Iberico jamon' and ‘mussels escabeche on toast’ but also unique-tasting flavors such as 'fried arroz negro with squid' and 'grilled foie gras and grape leaf'.
Enjoying good wine and good company, I thought to myself that this must be one of the best restaurants in New York. No wonder it's included in the Best 50 World's Restaurants list (No.44 in 2017), Estela is remarkable for its originality and for Mattos’ ability to draw out deep flavours from seemingly regular, yet well-chosen, ingredients.
P.S. Make sure you get a table in advance and try the refreshing salad of Endive, walnuts, anchovy, and ubriaco rosso!
Cover photo: Krista on flickr