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After opening in 2013, Estela was an instant success. It was one of the hottest tickets in town and was listed on many ‘top’ lists including Bon Appetit’s Best New Restaurants in America the year it opened, and more recently, took the 44th spot on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list.

We didn’t make it to Estela during our past few visits to NYC but after reading about their brunch service, we decided to pop in right after our flight. Brunch is only served on weekends from 11:30am to 3:00pm while dinner is offered every evening starting at 5:30pm. Reservations can be made up to 30 days in advance (even for brunch which is a nice bonus). We arrived right when they opened and it quickly filled up.

The restaurant is located right on Houston Street, a block and a half east of Lafayette, and is situated on the second floor of the building. Once you walk up a narrow stairway, you’ll find a long, narrow space with a long bar which takes up a good chunk of the space.


The exterior

The space features exposed brick walls, globe lights, dark furniture and marble table tops. It’s a very cozy space. And when I say cozy, I mean very cozy. As in, I hope you don’t mind getting cozy with your neighbours – tables are tiny and very tightly packed.

Estela is brought to us by co-owners Thomas Carter (Director of Beverage and Service) and Chef Ignacio Mattos who, according to their website, has created a menu of “food inspired by the Mediterranean, cooked with a personal approach that incorporates the distinct flavors of New York—from the stalls of Chinatown to the bakeries of Brooklyn.”



The brunch menu has a selection of both breakfast items as well as more lunch-y items. Dishes range from $14 for the poached egg with bacon and frisée to $24 for the cod with chanterelles. But the important thing to note is that the portions aren’t huge which means you’ll need to order more than one dish per person. Dishes are meant to be shared and they recommended four to share between the two of us. We ended up ordering three which we felt was enough. It left us satisfied but not too full which was our intention since there were other food destinations we had in mind for the afternoon.

We started out with the Burrata – with salsa verde and charred bread ($16). Not a very breakfast-y dish but it was nearly noon. And let’s be honest, is it ever too early for burrata?



Even though this cheese is such a commonplace on menus these days, I still haven’t gotten sick of it. It’s such a mild cheese that allows it to be dressed up in so many different ways. In this case, they paired it with a soupy salsa verde that was reminiscent of those trendy new pressed vegetable juices. The salsa verde had a grassy note to it which on its own, might not be my cup of tea but when paired with the creamy burrata, it was really something else. Definitely one of those cases where the whole is more than the sum of its parts! The only downside was the lack of bread. The cheese sat on top of a small piece of charred bread which I wished there was more of.

Up next was the Egg, Pancetta and Avocado Sandwich ($16). Considering this doesn’t come with any sides (and the horribly performing Canadian dollar), this was one hell of an expensive breakfast sandwich. But price aside, this was also one hell of a delicious breakfast sandwich.

Despite how simple it sounds, it was really big on flavour. I loved the poppyseed pastry (called a tebirke) which resembled a pain au chocolat but without the chocolate. It had a crisp exterior, a flakey texture and soaked up the egg yolk nicely without getting soggy. I also loved that they added some hot sauce to the sandwich which gave it a nice kick.

Egg, Pancetta and Avocado Sandwich

Egg, Pancetta and Avocado Sandwich

The last dish we shared was the Ricotta Dumplings – with mushrooms and pecorino sardo ($23) which you can also find on their dinner menu. The dumplings sat in a pool of mushroom broth topped with thinly shaved raw button mushrooms (the white circles you see in the dish).

The fluffy ricotta dumplings were very cheesy – certainly not subtle. They paired so wonderfully with the delicious warm broth. The dumplings were great but that broth was a showstopper. I scooped up every bit of it and ate it like soup. I’d order it again in a heartbeat. Highly recommended…but only if you like mushrooms.

Ricotta Dumplings

Ricotta Dumplings

Overall, we had a great meal at Estela and I wouldn’t hesitate to come back. But #44 in the world? I’m not so sure about that.

At a glance:

  • #44 on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants list
  • Long, narrow restaurant; casual atmosphere; tightly packed tables
  • Dinner is offered every evening starting at 5:30pm; brunch on weekends from 11:30am to 3:00pm
  • Reservations accepted up to 30 days in advance – brunch included
  • Visited for brunch; enjoyed our experience
  • Brunch dishes range from $14 to $24
  • Portions aren’t very large and are meant for sharing; our server recommended four dishes to share between the two of us
  • Highlights: Burrata and ricotta dumplings

Ratings (out of 5):

  • Food: 4 stars
  • Service: 4 stars
  • Atmosphere: 4 stars

Estela Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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