La Sirena, the Massive New Restaurant From Batali & Bastianich, Opens Tonight

Courtesy of La Sirena

The opening of Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich’s highly anticipated new Italian eatery La Sirena -- their first stand-alone venture in Manhattan in 10 years -- is finally here, with dinner service beginning tonight at 5pm. The sprawling indoor-outdoor trattoria situated in Chelsea’s Maritime Hotel has been beleaguered with delays, but from the look of the Mod-inspired decor and the casual Italian menu, it seems worth the wait. Here are some highlights to get you familiarized with what’s poised to be one of the hottest new spots in town.

Courtesy of La Sirena

The look

Diners will enter La Sirena through its spacious bar area that boasts high ceilings, a custom Portuguese tile floor, and an astounding 38ft marble bar. Serving as a divider between the north and south dining rooms, the bar room is the centerpiece of La Sirena, with a bold and bright atmosphere that makes it the perfect transitional space.

The connecting dining rooms mimic the bar’s sleekness, with floor-to-ceiling windows accentuating a minimalist white and gray color scheme and casually elegant furnishings. Currently at a spacious 200 seats, outdoor dining via the bar-adjacent patio will add another 100 seats to the venue later this spring. And if that wasn’t enough room, two private dining areas will also be opening upstairs, both of which will feature retractable glass roofs.

Courtesy of La Sirena

The food

La Sirena boasts a wide-ranging menu with a well-balanced selection of apps and entrees that span from traditional to casual. Antipasti include burrata, zucchini fritters, and artichoke carpaccio, while primi options include cavatelli with spare ribs, bucatini with spicy tomato sauce, and leek & mascarpone stuffed panzotti, to name a few. Grilled lamb chops, sweet and sour pork meatballs, and “old school” beef braciole round out the meat selection, with grilled swordfish and branzino for two also on hand. And if you have any room left, indulge in a pineapple bombolini or honey walnut semifreddo -- odds are you won’t regret it.

Courtesy of La Sirena

The verdict

With an approachable menu, dramatic interior, and a coveted indoor-outdoor expanse, La Sirena has all the makings of the new “it” venue. Keep an eye out for lunch and breakfast service in the next few weeks, and be sure to swing by the bar to sample one of the two-dozen signature cocktails.

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Christine Fischer is a freelance writer for Thrillist who will be dining at La Sirena ASAP. Follow her on her website, Facebook, or Instagram.