We went for dinner yesterday and was very much
We went for dinner yesterday and was very much disappointed, especially by the service. We came to the restaurant earlier than our reservation and was told we can only be seated at the bar. When I asked them to let me know if a table becomes available, they responded that that's very unlikely. However, the host told the party behind us they have the option of the bar or a table but they would need it back by 1.45hrs. I think that the fact that we weren't even given that option was very rude. When we finally got seated, our waiter was rushed and when we asked about their recommendation, they only pointed things out without explaining what they were. I had to stop them from rushing away to ask what the dish was.Lastly, when we moved from the different dishes, I was waiting for our plates and cutleries to be changed. However, that never happened and no one came by for me to ask. After a while, I gave up and continued to eat. To my surprise, when the table beside us was done with a dish, their plates and cutleries were changed. For the food itself, we ordered the tartare, the endive, and the ricotta dumplings. The tartare was good but not anything special. The bread was good though! The endive was too sour for my taste. The ricotta dumplings were the best out of the three. However, as it's quite rich, I think it's best to have just a little bit. Overall, for a Michelin restaurant, definitely very disappointing.
EstelaI spent $300 to walk out of the restaurant hungry.
Estela is a small intimate restaurant. A great date spot. The service was attentive throughout our entire night and is the star of the experience. Unfortunately, much can't be said about the rest. Not much to comment on for the bread and olives, it's what you would expect. The oysters were fresh but tasted like drinking sea water, way too salty. The tartare is perhaps the best dish out of everything we got. The squid ink rice was nice as it at least helped fill the stomach rumbling, the foie gras was appetizing but an awkward experience due to it being soupy. Wrapped up with the steak, which was nice, but felt more like an appetizer than your main entree. Overall, I'm surprised by the high reviews this place received. I must be the only one crazy, but it's at 3* at best.
This place was very atmospheric, great lighting, super fun and attentive staff. Everything was delicious and portions were perfect for a small table of guests.
Ambiance was 10/10! Service was amazing and the food was so
Ambiance was 10/10! Service was amazing and the food was so good and creative! Their menu is so diverse and the flavor combinations are unlike any I've tried before. Would highly recommend the Arroz Negro
Don't arrive early otherwise you will have to stay in the hallway waiting. The restaurant is super small. They only have small menu and they just pump out the food pretty fast. I felt rushed. Everything was so hectic. I did not like the experience. I would not recommend it to anyone!
Nice experience, can improve
3/5 by 👻 @LEMB
Food and drinks were honestly amazing, kitchen takes care of the dishes thoroughly, however our waitress was not happy that our order was not as big as she expected, also we constantly needed to ask for more water as we didn't get a bottle, I think the place is nice for a romantic dinner but a lot to improve with the sevice in order to be considered one of the top restaurants in the world
Always have a great meal here.
Love the casual yet modern vibe. Food is always interesting and layered. The service is helpful and friendly without being annoying. Their cocktails are on point. Great spot for a date or to impress a visiting friend.
I was happy to have snagged a reservation here and was
I was happy to have snagged a reservation here and was looking forward to our early lunch. The space and the vibe are decidedly unfussy, but more informal than I expected. It wasn't bad at all. I just expected a little more attention from our server given the Michelin star rating. That being said, the food is excellent. I would give special kudos for the ricotta dumplings and the fried arroz negro. Also the lobster dish was fantastic. In a city with so many great dining options, Estela is a solid if not spectacular choice.
Great food, not so great experience
The less then stellar rating is really about the ambience and the service, not the food. The place is small, ver small, and the tables are quite close. Not unexpected for a place like this. The noise level, though, is so high that it’s distracting. Maybe more soft, sound absorbing surfaces would help? Anyway, the food is quite good, but the service and the ways dishes are brought out so quickly right on top of each other makes for a very rushed experience. I get that you want to turn tables on a Friday night, but rushed service really impacts the overall experience and makes it difficult to fully appreciate and enjoy the food.
My boyfriend and I are regulars here.
This place has a well deserved Michelin star. Very cozy date night spot. Service is great, staff all have personalities of their own and are very personable. Great spot for wine as well. Iconic dishes:Duck Foie gras Steak tartare Ricotta dumplings Black rice
Terrible service, nice food.
My knife was literally whisked away while I was still using it - 20 minutes after sitting down. Service was rushed and crass for no reason that we could see because there were several unoccupied tables. They denied hustling tables. When we asked to speak to the manager we were told we were speaking to him - a clueless wonder who sort of apologized but not really and did nothing to remedy the situation. We were looking for a reason to leave a tip and he couldn't think of one. We have never not tipped. This was a $400 tab and someone might have liked the min $100 we would have normally left for anything approximating a good meal. This place is not deserving of any stars - NYT, Michelin or otherwise. I would leave zero stars if I could.
Took my boyfriend here for his birthday dinner and we were
Took my boyfriend here for his birthday dinner and we were blown away. Food was amazing, drinks were strong and great, and the ambiance is very chic and dark. Highlight was the squid ink calamari rice and beef tartare. Good people watching too, if you're into that.
When you're at a one Michelin star restaurant, you expect
When you're at a one Michelin star restaurant, you expect every dish to be delightful, surprising and fulfilling. Estela was none of these things. The endive salad was well-rounded, but felt like a mix of things put together with no real connection. Cheese, nuts, endive, olive oil lack any harmony. The truffle they used for the entree was of poor quality, and kind of ruins the dish. The black rice was pretty bad, tasting like overcooked bland rice. To add insult to injury, In the end the waiter was super rude. He rolled his eyes at us for a super simple request to get the bill and his face was filled with disdain. The space is also super cramped without and room to move your arms. Not sure how this place got its Michelin star, or has managed to keep it. I have serious questions with Michelin for allowing this place to hold a star.
Chocolate cake with whipped cream and panna cotta.
... OMG. That's all. Dumplings are still my favorite thing on the savory side.The cara cara shrimp chili dish was interesting. It was tasty. Couldn't tell if it was a dessert or a fruit salad.
TLDR: the fried arroz negro and the ricotta dumplings are
TLDR: the fried arroz negro and the ricotta dumplings are two of the best dishes I've had this year. Restaurant is pretty cozy, so I don't recommend you come after shopping or with bags like we did.Came here on a weekend for lunch with a friend. I actually knew nothing about Estela before coming and I was so pleasantly surprised by how good our lunch was! We ordered the three "signature dishes" as advertised by our waiter: the endive salad, arroz negro, and the ricotta dumplings. We added the duck as well. For dessert we got the panna cotta. The fried arroz negro and the ricotta dumplings - I still think about these dishes weeks later. Two of my favorite dishes this year. I would go back just for these. I love the crispy rice texture. The dumplings were so soft and unassumingly flavorful. Great. The salad felt endless. I personally thought there was too much cheese. The duck was also good, but not super memorable. The dessert was okay. Vinegar on panna cotta was not my favorite and I gave the rest to my friend after a few bites.Service was friendly and attentive. Ambiance was casual, but you can dress up if you prefer. Restaurant is quite cozy!
Fantastic in all ways. Excellent food (all dishes!) nice and attentive service, good location. Highly recommended! Would love to come again.
Great food and experience
Wonderful dining experience with creative dishes. Not cheap but worth the money. Only point of criticism that the place is tiny and feels a little bit cramped. Noise level also high. Nevertheless highly recommend for a special occasion.
OVERPRICED and soulless
We were very disappointed with this restaurant. Everything starts with a cold welcome, you have to wait out, in the corridor because your table is not ready. The dishes are tiny, banal and overpriced. The table is tiny and you are stuck between a wall and the other customers. The waiter is neither smiling nor friendly... A real disappointment! I really don't recommend...
Delicious start to finish
The stars of the show here are definitely the dishes - in our case, 12 different ones. We had a party of 4 and were guided to about 9 dishes as the right volume of food to share among us - they then threw is an extra compliments of the chef and we tried 2 desserts. I can honestly say every single one of them was both delicious and extremely interesting - nothing "plain" or "standard" here. Everything had a unique combination of flavors, an interesting twist, some fun for the taste buds and a beautiful plating. We debated after dinner and could not come up with a definitive "favorite" despite several contenders. Outside of the food, we found the rest of the experience lovely as well. I saw comments in other reviews about poor service, being rushed, or not being provided clean plates between courses - we saw none of that. The staff was terrific, pleasant and worked extremely seamlessly across the team. They probably replaced our plates and silverware close to a half a dozen times through the night, kept our wine glasses full and never rushed us at all (plates came out in a smart order and at a sensible pace). The comments about the restaurant being loud are accurate, but I didn't see that as a "negative" but more as consistent with the setting. If you are expecting an elegant, quite, refined atmosphere (which many might assume is the case in a Michelin star restaurant), this is not it. It is quite small / cozy and quite plain in decor with people in every seat (and, as a result, a loud buzz of conversations around you at all times). But, at least for us, that gave it a casual warmth and was a great environment to enjoy the fabulous food. If you need hushed silence and a white tablecloth for your tastebuds to work, this isn't the place for you.
Casual delicious dinner
The food was incredible. I would recommend the oysters, endive salad, beef tartare was amazing and the duck which was incredible. The service was spot on. They were attentive without being pushy. The only reason I wouldn’t give it 5 stars is the noise level. We were there on a Thursday night early 6:30. The noise just got worse and worse as the evening progressed. It definitely took away from such a special meal and I would probably not return because of that.
Wow! This place is amazing! If you really love tapas like I
Wow! This place is amazing! If you really love tapas like I do, then I highly recommend coming here. The employees are very attentive and helpful. Our waiter was very educated on all of the menu items and told us what are the popular dishes that people order. This is a very cute place to go on a date night. My boyfriend and I ordered their snapper with uni and seaweed, fried arroz negro with squid and romesco, steak tartare with elderberries, steak yuzu kosho mignonette, and panna cotta. My favorites were the fried arroz negro with squid and romesco and beef tartare. Those are must orders! Everything was delicious.
Tried 3 dishes, 1 dessert, and 1 drink for lunch 2 people
Tried 3 dishes, 1 dessert, and 1 drink for lunch 2 people ($157 after 20% gratuity) on 7/23/22....it was alright I guess?Made a reservation for lunch, but there were empty tables throughout our entire meal despite it being a Saturday, not sure we really needed to. Our entire meal took maybe 1-1.5 hours, didn't feel rushed or like we were waiting, great pacing.When we showed up on time for our reservation, there were deliveries still going into the restaurant, we had to wait ~10 minutes for them to finish up before we could even get by (the entrance is tiny, no way you're going in at the same time as anyone else). Kind of weird, but maybe they don't control their delivery schedule and they were running late, I'll allow it.We were seated at our table for 2, right next to a table of 4. There was another empty table for 2 next to us that wasn't taken for our entire meal. Why not give everyone some space?Which brings us to the next point. The dining room, and the tables, and the space between the tables, are TINY. You can hear everything the table next to you is saying, and forget about getting up at any point without bothering the people next to you. There are mirrors on the walls which try and make the space look bigger, but they do nothing for the loudness of the room. I actually used the Apple Watch noise level measuring and it tipped into yellow "Loud" at times - I know you make do with what you have, but some cushions/decorations/anything might go a long way towards making it a little more tolerable.Drinks were great. I ordered the Bloody Mary and it came with a lot of pepper and Thai chili, definitely not a recipe I've had before, big fan.At this point, the server recommended that we order 4-6 dishes for the two of us. If we had followed this advice, I think we would have had to take food to go - absolutely not what I want to do on a hot NYC day. The portions are decently sized (even for the Michelin star price), go small and order more/eat dessert after.Two of our ordered dishes were big hits. We ordered two signature Estela classics, the fried arroz negro and the ricotta dumplings, and both were great. The arroz negro had a different texture every bite - my partner and I ate this one really slowly and tried to figure out the ingredients the entire time we were enjoying. The ricotta dumplings are just simple goodness, and it was a great touch for a server to bring us some complimentary bread to soak up the mushroom broth at the end.One dish missed. The "steelhead trout with sea urchin and seaweed" broke apart oddly (trout is one of the easiest fish to get to be flaky?), the sea urchin was actually used to make the sauce and therefore I could hardly even taste any of the rich, buttery, seafood-y taste that's its signature tasty goodness, and the kelp-y seaweed was drowned in a citrus-y vinaigrette. I couldn't even taste the saltiness of the seaweed, that was a super weird experience.The "panna cotta with vinegar and honey" dessert was awesome - not too sweet, not too much vanilla, not too acidic, perfect temperature for a HOT summer day in NYC. Great touch by the server to choose this moment to acknowledge our special occasion as well!I think I'd return with a bigger group to try the entire menu - it's the sort of place where you WANT to try everything. With a bigger group, you're also less likely to get bullied around with the space concerns since you'll literally be taking up more table space, and you'll definitely be able to hear everyone in your group since you can hear everything that's going on in the dining room anyways. I'd LOVE for Estela to fix the dining room to be better for small groups - I really think it'd be as simple as putting in furniture to absorb some of the loudness of a room with brick walls and mirrors. But right now, the environment definitely detracts from the food, and I'd only be back alone at the bar or in a group that'd take much of the space (and unfortunately, that'd probably be at the expense of others).
This is what it looks like every day in front of Estela on
This is what it looks like every day in front of Estela on Houston Street. Food scraps waste trash strewn. I can't believe anyone would walk down this block to eat there because it's so incredibly disgusting. The sidewalk tree planter beside it is full of huge rat holes for huge rats. I avoid walking on this block at all costs because it's just one of the most disgusting blocks in all of the neighborhood. It amazes me that people walk thru this trash to eat food there. Beyond gross. The business owners clearly don't care for their neighbors or their own outward appearance.
Walked in on a Saturday at 6pm and got bar seating, which
Walked in on a Saturday at 6pm and got bar seating, which was a bit cramped, but beggars can't be choosers! Our waiter/bartender was super sweet and had great recs for both food and drinks. We started off with the seasonal crab + celery root and seaweed dish, then went on to the beef tartare (crunchy and creamy!), endive (refreshing, tart, yet savory, and super fun to eat), the foie gras (perfectly tender and rich, wrapped in greens), and ended with the ricotta dumplings, which were the highlight of my night. The food was extremely well thought out and delicately presented; it felt like we went through a whole gastronomic journey with all the textures and taste profiles.We also got a cheese to share as dessert (it looked like a flower!) and each got a drink - a white wine for myself and a spritz for my friend. All in all, it was a lovely dinner - perfect for date nights or intimate special occasions! It's probably not a great choice if you have a large group, but so delicious that you should stop by.
Tiny spot and a little crowded but the food and drinks
Tiny spot and a little crowded but the food and drinks really hit the spot. Definitely worth the late night res
Some standouts but generally overpriced and over-seasoned.
The vibe inside is nice (it's a small restaurant and sitting at the bar feels very New York in a good way). Beef tartare with sunchokes and elderberries - quite good; you don't taste much elderberry but the sunchokes add a nice crunch.Foie gras in grape leaves - really nice, would recommend! The grape leaves add freshness/bitterness and the foie is cooked perfectly. Arroz negro - way too salty. Flavor is nice if you like squid ink, but there wasn't much squid. Was a bit like Rice Krispies baked with table salt. Ricotta dumplings - the raw mushroom was an interesting touch, dumplings were nice but a bit mushy. Would recommend to try at least once though.Sweet potato with rum ice cream - much too alcohol-forward for me. Not much depth of flavor or texture either, just alcohol flavored mush.
Two bites into this meal, I declared it my new favorite
Two bites into this meal, I declared it my new favorite restaurant. The vibe is low-key but the food is upscale. It's perfect for a date or girl's night. It's dimly lit so it's a good spot for an anniversary celebration as well.
I came in for a lunch estela was hosting benefitting
I came in for a lunch estela was hosting benefitting planned parenthood. I sat at the bar and was immediately served a drink and the first of four courses on the menu that day. I had reserved the lunch knowing it was going to be four courses, but it was really more like 9! Everything was executed perfectly. I especially loved the endive salad, which I know is a staple on their normal menu. The chocolate cake was perfectly balanced with sweetness and a hint of salt, and it was one of the only chocolate cakes I've eaten where I really got to appreciate the flavor of the chocolate (and trust me, I've tried plenty of chocolate cakes). The drinks were creative and paired amazingly with the courses, and I loved the more sophisticated sub for an espresso martini, which have gotten so popular at bars that it's losing some of its luster. At the end of the meal I asked if I could add gratuity even though I had prepaid for the lunch. The bar staff insisted they were all working that day so they could help raise money. This place seems to be not only a food destination, but a place where its staff want to do good. Would definitely love to come back for dinner next time I'm in the area!
Sublime across two visits, lunch and dinner, about 6 weeks
5/5 by 👻 @J B.
Sublime across two visits, lunch and dinner, about 6 weeks apart. Having eaten and most of the best restaurants in NYC this genuinely my favorite. Pictures are from lunch in June.
Food good, experience not so much
Food was delicious. It was meant to really be savoured, enjoyed. Unfortunately the experience was really ruined by how much the staff rushed the meal. Plates were meant to be enjoyed one by one. We'd not even finished one plate before they'd brought the next one. Also, it seemed strange that our plates weren't changed once during the meal causing the flavours from very different dishes to mix together. Also the sommelier absolutely did not add any value to the wine choice. They should really recommend directly next to each dish on the menu. Perhaps even offer a wine flight to accompany one's meal.