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May 3, 2011 07:42 AM

Kaia Wine Bar: A New Place on the UES

I used to go to Sfoglia on Lex and 92nd Street quite often and as it turns out, one of the employees there decided to open her own wine bar on 3rd avenue. My husband went with a friend of his the other day and then suggested we have dinner there. It was great!

What you should know:
Wine: This place focuses on bringing guests wines from the New World, so think Africa, South America, New Zealand/ Australia. I had a great sauvignon blanc from South Africa. I think this is great because so many restaurants on the UES focus on Italian and French wines in general, so this was a nice change.

Decor: minimalist. Great use of space and great lighting at night.
Food: really cool. I had the ostrich mini burger (ate it in 2 bites) which had a secret spice that made the whole dish work. I have no idea what it was but it really made the dish stand out. My husband and I also shared some cheeses and salami, which came with mango chutney. For our main courses, he had the sausage with polenta and I had the bunnychow, which was basically a curry-based chicken (very yummy and not too spicy!) inside a bowl of bread. It had very traditional sauces on the side. Very interesting.
The wait staff: overall very nice. The guy at the bar will let you try a sip of different wines for free until you decide which one you would like to buy a glass/bottle of. Also, I liked that they never tried to push a certain dish on us. You can ask them what they like and they'll offer an opinion, but otherwise they are not pushy. Also, we stayed for over an hour and a half to eat and, although it was busy, no one ever kicked us out or made us feel unwelcome.

Overall, a nice dining experience.

1402 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10128

Kaia Wine Bar
1614 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10128

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  1. I just visited Kaia Wine Bar yesterday and I agree -- a really nice dining experience! It's still so new that there isn't even a sign outside yet, nor is it marked with an address. GREAT wine selection. Even their house draught red wine, a wine from Long Island's North Fork, was delicious. I really liked my Chilean carmenere, and my boyfriend enjoyed his South African pinotage. We tasted the wines before ordering full glasses.
    We had the Kaia salad and samosas to start. I had the bunnychow (really interesting spices that went well with the carmenere) and boyfriend had the pulled pork pancake. Dessert was a sticky cake... I can't remember the exact name for the dessert, but "sticky cake" was used to describe it on the menu. Also delicious.
    Prices were very reasonable. Beer selection was varied and something that I will try next time I'm there. The place was pretty lively and crowded on a Thursday night. Definitely worth a visit.

    Kaia Wine Bar
    1614 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10128

    2 Replies
    1. Kaia address: 1614 3rd Ave
      (between 90th St & 91st St)

      1. Thanks for the info, I've been walking by this place for the past month, will def try it now. A tapas place also opened recently next to the Kinsale and they finally opened up the doors after always having the shades drawn. Maybe they'll get some business now. Wonder if anyone tried that yet.