We stayed in Midtown for the first few nights of our NY trip. Even though I love downtown (West Village, Greenwich, SoHo etc.), I thought it was important for Lex to stay somewhere central when we first got there, so that he could soak up the city. It was a rainy night in NY and we didn’t have a restaurant reservation so we scoured through Yelp and OpenTable to find somewhere local and affordable. Lex came across Ayza Wine & Chocolate Bar and got a good feeling when he checked out their website – luckily I managed to get a booking for an hour away which gave us enough time to get ready and head out.
- Midtown (where we visited)
- West Village
As it was a rainy day Ayza had their front area enclosed and heaters blazing. We snagged a seat inside on a bar stool table. It was a really intimate, dimly-lit and romantic restaurant – absolutely perfect for date night. In fact, we had a couple next to us who were on a first date. We could tell by the rigid, interview style conversation they were having. I think they looked cute together 🙂
Anyway, our waitress greeted us and asked if we were from Australia. She proceeded to tell us she’d spent time in QLD. We convinced her to come back and check out Sydney next time. Lex is a very proud Aussie and we both love when people love Australia. She was very attentive to us for the duration of our meal, and offered us each a sample of their hot wine. We drank it to be polite, it wasn’t really our thing!
What we ordered:
We started by ordering some mixed marinated olives and two dips, hummus with fresh parsley and olive, and tzatiki with cucumber and walnut. I couldn’t fault the dips, they were fresh and flavoursome, and the olives were delicious (especially as I LOVE olives and hadn’t had any since I got to NY). The food also arrived at a good time – not too quick, enough time for us to sit there and have a glass of wine whilst soaking up the mood and romance of the place. I can’t remember the exact red that we ordered but it was free flowing and went down easily!
For mains I ordered the Chopped Mediterranean salad and Lex went for the Ayza Shish Kebab. The salad was a mesclun mix with capsicum (bell peppers), tomato, feta cheese and cucumber. All the ingredients were diced (hence the chopped title) and all tasted fresh. It wasn’t the most complex of meals, but they did it well. I would have liked a splash of vinegar or chilli to make the salad really stand out. Lex’s Shish Kebab came with a salsa, as well as a fresh tomato, herb and onion salad. Lex thought it was yum and for the $19 price tag it really fit the bill.
The service and atmosphere of Ayza Wine & Chocolate Bar was truly great and I’d go back for this reason. I loved the romance of the place and thought it was a great place for a date. Sure the food could have been more memorable, but if we weren’t full on dips and wine I’m sure their dessert menu would have been delicious – after all their chocolate bar is what they are most known for.