If you can’t make it downtown to Aria‘s original location, you can get a glimpse of the infamous cozy and buzzing atmosphere in its Midtown West sister-restaurant. Aria‘s Hell’s Kitchen location may not be as hip as the one in the Village, but is still a great option in an area that, imho, lacks of good date-night options.
Aria Wine bar is an Italian tapas bar with an authentic taverna feel to it, focusing on traditional Venetian small plates also known as “cicchetti”. The food menu is quite extensive with a mix of tapas and classic Italian dishes, and offers something for everyone: pasta, salads, meat, fish, a wide range of vegetarian dishes etc. All dishes are made for sharing.
The food is “ok” – meaning it’s not what keeps me coming back. Some dishes are good, sure. But nothing is “spectacular”. To me, Aria is the perfect “wine & cheese” type of place, to which you should just add some unpretentious small plates (I often get the burrata, crostini, the lobster salad, the truffle mac & cheese). The main dishes are average but still satisfying for the average palate if I may say so 😉 – stick with Pastas and the Lamb Chops.
The best thing about the food menu is its pricing – each dish is priced $10-$15, which is extremely reasonable considering the portion sizes and the area.
Aria is also a wine bar, with a very affordable list of Italian wines. Wines by the glass and carafes are are bargain, although the major con (for Frenchie winos like myself) is that they are served in water glasses – eek! The selection is decent but not for wine snobs. For the true aficionados with a bigger budget go with their Reserva bottles (and you may even be lucky enough to snatch one of the dozen real wine glasses they keep for special customers).
For first dates, sit at the bar
You’ll find the signature charming and overly cozy setting, with exposed brick walls, wood tables, and intimate lighting. This rustic industrial space is very inviting with floor-to-ceiling windows and doors that remain wide open during warmer months. Aria Wine Bar is the quintessential date spot, with a lively crowd in an intimate setting.
Aria is open all day and offers lunch, brunch and dinner. This Midtown location is a lot less packed than the one in the West Village, but can still get cramped during Happy Hour. Come for weekday lunch and afternoon snacks if you want a more chill environment and guaranteed seating. Aria only takes reservations for parties over 6 people, which makes it a great option for after-work group or corporate dinners.
Stop by Aria before or after your Broadway show!
Aria Hell’s Kitchen is the perfect spot for after-work dates, but also great for casual drinks and nibbles between friends or co- workers, girls’ night out and a convenient pre- or post-theater pit stop on your way to or from a Broadway show.
Come here If you want an easy, great atmosphere at a reasonable price tag, as long as you do not have too high expectations of the food, wine or service.
Open everyday from noon-midnight and until 2am on weekends.