Is bigger better when it comes to glamorous restaurants in New York City?
Given the several large-scale eateries that have recently opened around town, some restauranteurs definitely say yes. Forget the uninspired spots turning over table after table at a brisk pace and serving mass-produced food: We’re talking about buzzy places where the meal is an event, reservations are a hot ticket, and the design is a major talking point.
Take Ci Siamo, Danny Meyer’s and chef Hillary Sterling’s new Italian spot at Manhattan West. The bi-level spot spans close to 8,000 square feet and has an open kitchen, lounge, main dining room with a wood-burning oven, an outdoor dining terrace, and a private dining room with views of the Empire State Building. Just try booking a table, even at 5 p.m. on a Tuesday night, and lucky you, if you get in.
The New York interior design firm Goodrich is behind the aesthetic, which is meant to be modern yet warm, according to the company’s founder, Matthew Goodrich. “It’s a big setting, but we wanted it to feel intimate,” he says.
To amplify the wood-fired menu, Goodrich turned to elements formed by fire: terra-cotta, ceramic, metals, and blown glass. The main dining room features a terra-cotta mural, for example, and has ceramic red-tile columns. Also, the light fixtures incorporate metals and blown glass. Vintage furniture sourced from markets in Europe and the United States is throughout the space—the burlwood cabinet behind the host stand that’s filled with Italian vases from the 1940s and 1950s is especially worth calling out.
Looking to upcoming openings, Avra Rockefeller is debuting in the spring at Rockefeller Center and measures in at 17,000 square feet spread over three levels. It will be able to accommodate 340 diners, according to cofounder Nick Tsoulos, who adds that he and his partners love the energy of big venues. “They’re vibrant and feel like destinations,” he says.