What's the vibe?
For Nicki Laborie, the former View the Vibe owner turned brains behind Bar Reyna, details mean everything. This is evident when you set foot into the two-storey space, formerly home to Caren’s Wine Bar in Yorkville. Renovations were handled by Toronto firm Solid Build & Design (also responsible for Miss Thing's and Home of the Brave), and they've done an impeccable job. The space is split over two floors: a cocktail bar upstairs, and a formal dining space on the main floor (the latter leads out to a gorgeous, hidden patio space and the true showstopper here. Tables have been built around the trees so they become living fixtures, and Laborie is in the midst of installing a retractable roof so that Bar Reyna can be patio approved all year round. You know where you'll find us.
What to drink?
Bartender Mana Moghadam has crafted a playful cocktail menu highlighting her own house-made infusions and syrups all with a tongue and cheek royal theme. Case in point: Her Royal Highness is served in a large copper pineapple and made with a four ounce blend of Mount Gay XO, Elyx Vodka, saffron, cardamom and rosewater syrup, orgeat, grapefruit and citrus. According to Laborie, it's been an instant hit since the restaurant opened. If you're looking for a hit of summer try King Arthur’s Concubine: made with a mix of Botanist Gin, strawberry, basil, lime and rhubarb bitters, it's refreshing—but still has a bit of bite to it. And if cocktails aren't your thing, Bar Reyna's wine list is fairly extensive, with offerings from France, Greece, Spain and the USA.
What to eat?
Laborie worked closely alongside head chef Omar Ma (formerly of Buca Yorkville) to create the vision for the menu resulting is a set of dishes that feels like a direct passport to Greece, Spain and Turkey. It screams group gatherings with everything in snackable form. The spinach and feta borek, a phyllo-wrapped snack served with whipped honey yogurt, is simple yet unforgettable and if you're looking for something classic, try out the Merguez Lamb Pide. The flatbread is tender; the lamb, even more so. And while you can't leave without trying one of Reyna's fries (we recommend the Greek variety, topped with wild oregano, shaved feta, olive oil and feta dip), the star dish is The Cataplana: served in a iron bake dish and loaded with lobster, shrimp, clams, mussels and monkfish. It's served with plenty of sourdough to soak up the red pepper sauce.
Dinner and drinks for two: around $150
158 Cumberland Street; 647-748-4464; barreyna.com