For those yearning to escape their concrete jungle environs, look no further than the lush tropical oasis encompassing Fandi Mata: a globally-inspired restaurant in the heart of Brooklyn’s trendsetting Williamsburg neighborhood.
Set inside a creatively revamped industrial space, the expansive bi-level establishment teleports guests to an energetic Mediterranean eatery on the ground floor, and an artisanal mezcalería, dubbed Little Oaxaca, on the mezzanine. Moorish tiled tables, bespoke bohemian-chic decor, warm-hued orange-and-hot pink overhead lights, plus glittering disco balls illuminate the vibrant dining space. Custom verdant foliage by local high-end floral design studio, Floresta, sprawls throughout the bar front and main seating area creating an airy indoor-outdoor atmosphere.
Aligning with the Aegean ambiance, the menu ranges from seafood-focused small plates and vegetable-driven mezze platters to spice-fueled main courses. Start with the Red Snapper Ceviche to cleanse the palette before dipping into the Mezze Platter — which comes with hummus, baba ghanoush, and muhammara alongside warm bread.
Ordering the whole broiled Branzino For Two dressed with house-made champagne vinaigrette is a no-brainer at a restaurant specializing in the region’s oceanic flavors. For non-seafood eaters, however, there’s a medley of pizza pies to choose from, such as the Sorpresta topped with spicy cured pork, chile honey, and oregano, or the Prosciutto with arugula and shaved parmesan cheese.
When it comes time for dessert, sweet delights play on childhood favorites such as the Classic Banana Pudding with cereal bread crumbs and the Citrus Panna Cotta garnished with colorful Fruity Pebbles.
Upstairs at the secluded Little Oaxaca, Fandi Mata’s Co-Founding Partner and Beverage Director, Milos Zica, knows a thing or two about crafting a mean cocktail from his 15-year background bartending at New York City’s award-winning speakeasy, Employees Only. Covered in hand-painted pink stone imported from Mexico, the mixology bar sports a robust list of mezcal-centric cocktails highlighting exclusive labels — including La Clandestina 40 Mezcal and Enmascarado 54 — that transport guests to an authentic Oaxacan watering hole. Sipping on a Selena (La Clandestina Cirial 50/50, homemade raspberry elixir, Chareau aloe vera liqueur, piri piri agave, and fresh citrus) seems befitting here.
For a culturally-infused dining experience that transports you out of New York City for an evening, look no further than Fandi Mata’s lively aesthetic.
Location: Williamsburg, Brooklyn
Address: 74 Bayard St, Brooklyn, NY 11222
Price Point: $$
Takes Reservations: Yes – Resy
The vibe: A lively Mediterranean-style restaurant with an exclusive Oaxacan-themed bar in the heart of Brooklyn’s trendy Williamsburg neighborhood.
Our favorite thing on the menu: We could’ve devoured about a dozen more platters of Croquettas comprising bacon, date, manchego, tartar aioli, and topped with shaved manchego. Drinkwise, we loved the frothy, frosty, fruity, and herbal Big in Japan (served only at the main restaurant level) with Hendrick’s Gin, Italicus liqueur, homemade honey-raspberry elixir, lemon, egg white, and sage.
The attire: Smart casual
Breakfast, Lunch, or Dinner: Dinner: Mondays through Thursdays from 5 p.m. to 12 a.m. and Fridays from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. Brunch: Saturdays & Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Other articles you may like: