Kaia Wine Bar

Perfect For: Date Night Dining Solo Dinner with the Parents First/Early in the Game Dates

Kaia is the South African wine bar you need in your life, and it’s one of the best hangs on the Upper East Side. It feels like eating at your world-traveling Aunt’s place - more like a home than a restaurant. They serve over 50 wines from South Africa, and encourage you to try them until you find exactly what you’re in the mood for. The people here want you to learn about their wine and, just like your aunt, they pour massive glasses of it.

Everything we’ve eaten here is tasty and different - like the elk tartare and lamb burger. They change the menu often, but there’s always the kale salad, which is actually great.

Kaia is a spot you’d probably walk right by without noticing, but it should have a siren on top of it. If you’re a parent seeking an hour of alone time, dinner for one at the bar is a great idea. First dates, husbands/wives, and parents will all appreciate this place as well. If you live on the Upper East Side and you enjoy drinking wine, Kaia should be in your rotation.

Food Rundown


No need to rush to get here for Happy Hour, because oysters are $1.50 all day, every day at Kaia.

Wild Boar Slider

Probably the only restaurant in NYC that really wants you to kick things off with a boar slider. Get off on the right foot and do it.

Elk Carpaccio

One of their signature dishes, elk is less gamey than you might expect. Silky smooth and super tasty, definitely order it.

Winter Kale Salad

One of the best kale salads we’ve ever had, and one we’ve been back for multiple times. It’s a giant bowl of kale, dried cranberries, brussels sprouts, quinoa, butternut squash,and walnuts in a roasted walnut vinaigrette.

Mac & Cheese With South African Beef Jerky

If your first impulse isn’t to order the mac and cheese with beef jerky, then we are not motivated by the same needs.

BBQ Pork Ribs

Technically, this dish is called “Rooibos Tee En Bosbessie Vark Ribbetjies,” which means “rooibos tea and cranberry BBQ pork ribs with coleslaw.” These are a mandatory order. Meat falls of the bone, and there’s a ton of flavor.

Lamb Burger

This is a very different burger, and one we absolutely love. It’s expensive - $23 - but thef lamb is extra rich, meaty in flavor, and crazy juicy, made by hand and served with roquefort and cherry compote. You won’t be disappointed.

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