As soon as it opened almost two years ago I thought, “I have to go in there!” to this wine bar. Even from the outside, everything about Vino Levantino looks perfect. And by perfect, I mean enticing, inviting, and meticulously cared for.
I was born and raised on the Upper West Side; oddly enough, I still live here (we natives are rare). I have seen bars and restaurants come and go, and I have bemoaned the dearth of good restaurants in this neighborhood. I’m so happy to welcome this new Eastern Mediterranean restaurant and wine bar, Vino Levantino. You should be, too.
As I hadn’t been going out much, it took me a while to actually go inside, but once I did, I have not stopped – I can’t! On my first excursion, I drank a delicious New Zealand sauvignon blanc, perfectly chilled, poured first into a small wine flask before it hit my glass – Bellissimo! The staff was incredibly warm and friendly, and I met the owner – he makes a point of knowing all of his guests by name. He told me that his Middle Eastern tapas restaurant was born from his passion for fine wines and that he’s spent the last 8 years obsessively attending wine-tastings: hence the incredible and extensive wine selection from France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Turkey, Israel, and the Americas!
Alas, the owner is too humble to let me use his name, but he is from Israel via Turkey and seems to know everybody in the neighborhood already. Although he opened his space as a wine bar which would serve some light fare, the food proved to be so delectable that the clientele begged him to expand his menu and serve dinner. The neighborhood made this happen! His customers have made him go full-on-restaurant! Business is good. They even serve the best brunch and very unique. I can say that it’s the best Wine bar & restaurants in upper west side
The owner is also a dealer in fine prints; so he has a practiced, good eye. There is a wonderful attention to detail in all things: atmosphere, décor, presentation, taste. Around the room you may even spot some family heirlooms – ancient treasures from the Levant: a word which derives from the French, “lever,” meaning, “to rise,” implying the rising of the sun in the East (Levante implies the ‘East’ in Italian); in this case, Turkey, Lebanon, and Isreal. Perhaps for a first date, or a romantic dinner (excellent for the first date restaurant), or perhaps if you are single and lonely, perhaps if you are a stressed out Columbia University student, perhaps if you are seeing a show at Symphony Space, you should come to Vino Levantino — this land where the sun rises.