This may look like a very wintry night, but that’s just the fairy lights. I was elatedly running around without a jacket, to and from dinner at one of my favorite neighborhood hangouts, Barbounia. (There’s nothing to make you feel more white bread than being with someone of Cuban and Spanish parents, who grew up in Australia and now lives in London. Talk about gloriously cosmopolitan!)
Barbounia is my go-to dinner spot for visiting friends who are willing to come to my neighborhood, Gramercy Park. First of all, the room has amazing atmosphere; you’d never set foot in any of the Cipriani outlets in New York (or London, for that matter) after experiencing this space. The service is fantastic, attentive and friendly. (Franco is my favorite waiter in the city because he remembers that I drink Perrier without ice, and where I sat and with whom every time I’ve been – which is a lot. Also, he is adorable.) Third, this is not a loud restaurant, even with its usual sizable crowds – and the room is large enough to let you get a table without reservations or much of a wait. Lastly, the food is off the hook. Everything is not just good, but wonderful. Last night, we shared red snapper ceviche, charred octopus, and hummus – all marvelous. My dining companion loved her mushroom gnocchi (which other friends have raved about), and I ordered the swoon-worthy sea scallop and pumpkin risotto with goat’s cheese for the second time. Their lemon chicken is also fabulous, as is the beetroot and goat’s cheese salad, and anything you want to order at their brunch (which comes with unlimited champagne for just $12). Barbounia wins on every imaginable count, right down to the restroom, which is multi-gender without being creepy.
250 Park Avenue South
New York, NY 10003