Every neighborhood needs a restaurant "Perfect For" pretty much everything, and that's exactly what the quickly changing area of Harlem below 125th Street received a couple years ago when Vinatería moved in. From the get-go its been abundantly clear: this is a restaurant that's going to be here for the long haul. Along with Red Rooster and The Cecil, it's one of the key players in the new Harlem restaurant scene.
A Spanish/Italian hybrid, and favorite of Friday Fives alum Lin-Manual Miranda, Vinatería has got it going on across the board. It's a sleek, stylish room filled with good vibes, and there's a serious Outdoor/Patio Situation out front to be taken advantage of during the warmer months. The food is all really solid. We're big into the lamb ribs and calamari, and they do one of the best grilled whole branzinos in town. On top of that, the beverage program is impressive, they take their cocktails seriously, and curate a small but potent wine and beer list. Also, Vinatería crushes brunch. Their Huevos Rancheros are waiting to cure your next hangover, and it's also the only time they serve their burgers.
When you go, you'll most definitely meet Gabriella, who runs the place (her husband, Gustavo, is the chef). Gabriella will make her presence felt, in a good way, at your table. She'll be checking to make sure everything is OK, that you like the food, and asking about your personal life. Sometimes you'll even get Yvette, the owner, perched at your table, chatting you up and making you feel welcome. Yvette is a Harlem lifer whose dream was to open up her own neighborhood restaurant someday. Dream realized. It's the hospitable ownership and overall good intentions that allow Vinatería to get away with having otherwise fluky service, as many of the servers don't really have a full grasp of the menu, or much experience working in restaurants we've found.
Regardless, Vinatería is one of those restaurants we've found ourselves wanting to come back to, wanting to support, and wanting to tell people about. Harlem is most definitely going through some changes right now, and if Vinatería is any indication, they're changes for the best.
Absolutely perfect. Order some.
Fried balls of bacon. Fried balls of mushroom. Truffle aioli to dip. These are good. Order them.
A finely-cut raw beef salad that comes beautifully presented with all kinds of flavor activity, thanks to capers, horseradish, and a raw quail egg no top. Mash it all together and enjoy.
One of our favorite dishes here - we order the calamari every time. You can't beat the black garlic and piquillo peppers this appetizer is cooked in.
Great ribs, but they can be a risky order. A good batch of these is about as good a lamb rib can get, but a bad batch - when you catch a couple ribs that have way too much rubbery fat and not enough fall off the bone meat - is problematic. Proceed at your own risk.
If you order one pasta, this is the one to order. It's simple, but it's executed perfectly, and is a dish we come back for time after time.
All pasta tastes better with breadcrumbs on top. This is a fact. The black spaghetti here is one of our go-to pasta orders. It should be yours as well.
Whoa. Leeks Sauce. Hello. More people should get on the leeks sauce train because the sauce that lathers up the whole grilled fish here absolutely makes this dish a knock out. Definitely get this.
You can tell a lot about a restaurant by the quality of their sauces. The sweet, buttery carrot puree makes this duck the meat entree to order. The duck itself is no slouch either, as it's got a ton of moisture and a ton of flavor, but it's everything else that had us licking our plate clean.
Trust us, for brunch, you want to get dirty on the Vinatería Huevos. It's a big hot mess of eggs, tortilla, beans, tomatoes, avocado, and cheese action. Your hangover's best friend.
Burgers are only on the menu for brunch, and there are a couple of them -French Burger, Mexican Burger, Cheese Burger. Our favorite is the Argentinian Burger. Bacon and chimichurri make everything taste better.