AT VINO LEVANTINO, TASTE THE FOOD OF THE OTTOMANS AND SEPHARDIC JEWS

vino-levantino-bar

At Vino Levantino, a new wine bar and restaurant on 94th street between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue, the menu is filled with specialties inspired by the cuisine of the former Ottoman Empire. Menu items include fattoush salad, grilled lamb chops, and borekas, which are savory appetizers wrapped in phyllo dough. Yelp says they’re Kosher, but I couldn’t find that on the website.

West Side Rag reader Marion went on one of the first nights: “It’s cozy and has a great selection of wines, including Turkish wines. Their menu consists mostly of [very tasty] small plates but they do offer some entrees and excellent desserts.”

Here’s the restaurant’s description:

“Vino Levantino is first and foremost a wine bar. Our wines are imported from all over the world, mostly from boutique wineries in France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Turkey, Israel & the Americas.

Our menu reflects the diversity of the Ottoman Empire. It is also influenced by the cuisine of Sephardic Jews, many of whom journeyed to Israel through Turkey. Some of our recipes are over 500 years old, while others entered the Levant via travelers from different countries across the Middle East. The dishes at Vino Levantino are a celebration of ingredients, flavors, and colors, and will transport you to a time and place where food was simple, fresh, and tasty. Our goal is to create a local, friendly ambiance with professional service. You are always welcome at Vino Levantino, where quality wines and savory dishes await you.”

Here’s the menu.

Photo via Vino Levantino.

FOOD, NEWS, OPEN/CLOSED | 15 comments | permalink
    1. Susie Baumohl says:

      Definitely not kosher. Their menu features both milk and meat dishes.

      • Scooter Stan says:

        ALWAYS a reason to kvetch about something!

        Here’s a new start-up with what appears to be a wonderful menu (click the link) at absurdly reasonable prices ($10-$12…with lamb chops the most expensive at $18!!) but someone always has to find a reason to make it seem unsuitable.

        Maybe it’s unsuitable for a small segment of the over-all population, but it certainly seems suitable for the rest of us!

        Can’t wait to try it!

        • Cyrus says:

          Wow, Scooter, simmer down. Not sure Susie was “kvetching” as much as commenting that the menu isn’t actually kosher. Which was mentioned in the original post.

    2. Joanna says:

      They also have jazz every Thurs night from 9-11!

    3. Andy says:

      I’ve been. It doesn’t seem like it’s kosher. That said it was great. Warm service and a real neighborhood type feel to it. Hopefully being on a side street (not Avenue) doesn’t hurt it. Please go check it out. The low-mid 90’s really could use small businesses like this.

    4. PRL says:

      This place is a gem and a well-needed addition to the neighborhood! They have a great wine selection, a nice menu, a warm atmosphere and friendly staff. See you all there!

    5. webot says:

      Looks like a Mom and Pop to me…. not the evil corporate empire boogieman so loathed by commentators here.

      So go and support this new business in our midst.

      or it will be replaced by Buffalo Wild wings.

      • PRL says:

        Or worse yet – another empty storefront!

        I hung out there a few weeks ago and the owner, Ozmun, gave me some history. He is from Turkey and his partner is Israeli – hence the name and menu. He owns at least two other wine bars in the city but this is his first above 14th Street.

        My personal hope is that we all welcome this new establishment, help it succeed, and perhaps more will come our way.

    6. David T says:

      I have great hopes for VL. Would be nice if it drew some business to the Indian joint next door. It’s the 2nd wine bar in the neighborhood, with the Buceo 95 over on 95th St.

      Question: Across the street, next to the Day’s Hotel there is a building – black front – that looks like it used to be a restaurant. I’ve lived in the neighborhood for 8 years, and nothing’s been there. Anyone know what it was? Looks like a great space. Would be nice if another restaurant opened there and made 94th St a cute little restaurant row.

      Thanks!

      • Andy says:

        Totally know what you’re talking about Dave T and always wondered the same.

        My completely baseless assumption has always been the hotel owns it and uses it as storage or something.

        You could probably go in and ask the hotel manager what it is.

        • PRL says:

          It was indeed a restaurant at one time, and my recollection is that it closed at least 10+ years ago. I can’t remember exactly what kind of food they served but I do remember that I liked the space. Always hoped something else would open up there.

    7. Artee says:

      Great addition to the neighborhood! Been there a few times already, and tried several items on the menu. All, with no exception, were delicious! My favorites are the lamb chops, and the sweet potatoes.
      Had a chance to speak with the Israeli owner, who explained it is not kosher (Yelp misinformed..). Safe to say it is kosher style and vegetarian friendly.
      The staff is also very friendly and welcoming.
      Didn’t have a chance to check out the live music yet.

    8. JR says:

      Went for a little light dinner/wine Saturday evening–I live on 94th between C’bus and A’dam and was excited to see this open, plus I figured if the usually-cranky readers of Westside Rag like it, it must be pretty good!

      I was fairly happy with it–the food was good if not spectacular, and the space was really cozy (much more laid back than the cacophany of Buceo 95, too). It took forever to get our tab but we were in no major hurry.

      I’m glad it’s here–it’ll definitely be a good spot to stop after work for a bottle of wine and an order of those tasty roast fingerlings.

    9. Pam Collier says:

      I wish I were closer to New York! My great grandmother was Nicchia Levantino (daughter of Giovanni Levantino and Giovanna Spital). My family immigrated to the U.S. from Sicily and my mother regards herself as Italian. My DNA analysis is 13% Iberian peninsula and I’m positive the family was Sephardic Jew before converting to Catholicism (as so many were forced to do). I’m trying to learn the cuisine & hope to make it to NY to taste it made right 🙂 Congrats on your wine bar and restaurant!