Go Shopping with RHONY’s Sai de Silva on Her Perfect Day Off in Brooklyn
The native New Yorker spends a day in Boerum Hill shopping small, eating sushi, and drinking oat milk lattes.
By Liz Provencher and Sai de Silva
Published on 7/17/2023 at 12:00 PM
Sai De Silva – content creator and RHONY cast member | Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist
Glitzy trips to the Hamptons and over-the-top Upper East Side townhouses were once hallmarks of the Real Housewives of New York. But when the series reboot airs in July, Sai de Silva and the rest of the new cast are aiming to show a different side of the city. De Silva is a fashion influencer and founder of the lifestyle brand Scout in the City who grew up in East Flatbush, making her the show’s first native New Yorker. Now, she’s raising her family in Boerum Hill and spending her days off supporting small businesses up and down Atlantic Avenue while finding restaurants that feel like home (some of which you may even see on the show).
I would never replace growing up as a city kid. I feel very, very lucky. Any interest or hobby that you have is right at your fingertips, because this is New York City. So nothing seems foreign. If you wanna learn something, there is someone that will teach you. It's such a melting pot to grow up in. We were introduced to so many different ethnicities and cultures and it's the norm.
Now I am raising two children in the city, and it teaches them to be so open-minded, which I really, really appreciate. There’s just this hustle bustle. As a city kid you just don't sit around and wait for things to be handed to you. You get up and you go out and you do the things—it's a hustle that you cannot find anywhere else. And that’s what the city teaches you.
I love it. Some of my followers reach out to me and are like, “I don't know how you trek your kids around on the train and everything.” But I love it. My kids know every last stop on the F train—this is our world.
I usually start my day at Cafe Volkan when I am dropping off the kids. Since we do take the train, Cafe Volkan is right there and they have great oat milk. I'm so crazy about oat milk, and they also have great acai bowls and pastries. It's a little bit on the healthier side–they even have chaga mushrooms–and I'm a big health nut, so I really like it. Plus, it's in a cute little area where you could sit outside and see your neighbors.
Rucola is amazing for lunch. They are also open for dinner, but I personally love lunch because they have this Antipasto Sandwich that is amazing. Sometimes I will order from there, pick it up, and then just come home and sit at my desk and work for the rest of the day. But it's a great neighborhood spot. We don't have a lot of places in Boerum Hill that feel like that. It’s almost like Cheers where everyone knows your name. It's one of those restaurants, when you go in, you know you're going to see a friendly face. It's very warm and welcoming, so it is one of my favorite spots in the neighborhood. I actually filmed for RHONY at Rucola this season, so you might recognize it on the show.
Rucola | Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist
“Rucola is a great neighborhood spot in Boerum Hill. It’s almost like Cheers where everyone knows your name. It's one of those restaurants, when you go in, you know you're going to see a friendly face.”
Colonie is my favorite restaurant. I mean, I go here to the point that it's almost too much. My followers are like, “We get it. Do you own the restaurant by now?” I'm so obsessed with this restaurant that I actually hired the chefs to do a dinner for us for RHONY. It was so fun. It's a farm-to-table spot so the menu changes with the seasons, which I really, really like. Even if you just want to sit at the bar and have a really great dirty martini, this is your spot. And I highly recommend that you get dessert, they have this Sticky Date Cake that is insane. I do not own it, but I am a spokesperson for it, basically.
And then anything that Colonie makes, of course I'm gonna go to, so I love Pips. It’s so great I actually had my 40th birthday party there. Since it’s run by the same owners of Colonie, I knew that the food would be really great. But the wine is fantastic. I am a really big fan of biodynamic wines and they have such an extensive list. So it's somewhere that my husband and I go to quite frequently, sometimes on date nights. They have these flash-fried chickpeas—you have to get those, they’re amazing and highly addicting.
Taiki is a really great sushi place right around the corner from me. The owner and my son are very close. It's to the point that my six-year-old son will walk in and be like, “Hey, Taiki, give me a pound.” It's really cute. My son always wants to sit at the sushi bar. There are only two people at the sushi bar that are running the entire restaurant and Taiki, the owner, is one of them. So Rio, my son, just wants to sit there and talk to Taiki the entire night.
Oddly enough we have a lot of home stores on Atlantic Avenue. I never really noticed it until I started doing a renovation to my apartment. They're all within walking distance from one another. When I finally figured out that there were all these stores here, shopping around my neighborhood became one of my favorite things to do.
Outline is a clothing boutique. They have a lot of small brands, including their own, and have some really nice linen pieces, especially around this time, as well as a lot of things that you wouldn't normally find somewhere else. They also have this beautiful outdoor area that kind of surprised me when I first found it. They sell soaps, candles, and jewelry as well, so it's really great for picking up a gift.
Sai de Silva at Outline | Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist
“They have a lot of small brands, including their own, and have some really nice linen pieces... They sell soaps, candles, and jewelry as well, so it's really great for picking up a gift.”
Assembly Line just popped up in the neighborhood. I'm doing a renovation upstairs, so I've been really into home supplies, especially things made in Brooklyn. I really love to fill my home with things from small companies and brands. So Assembly has the most amazing stuff. It's a small place, but it's very chic.
Then Michele Varian has everything. It’s a local jewelry and home goods store. The fine jewelry is very intricate and delicate. They have a ton of little pieces for your ears, and I know a lot of people who love ear candy, so they have a lot of great pieces there. They also have a lot of handmade porcelain mugs, vases, plates, and other pottery. I love the cups, I actually have quite a few. I broke one the other day and I felt like my heart was in my feet—I was devastated. But overall, they carry a lot of local brands so I really like to go check it out, and they bring in new people all the time.
Mud Australia is another great place for porcelain homeware. It's a bit on the pricier side, but they have beautiful pieces that are also great for entertaining, especially in the summer if you have any outdoor space. Of course, that is very rare in New York, but you know, if you're lucky enough that you're not sitting on your fire escape and you need some homeware, that might be the place for you.
Collier West has a lot of chandeliers throughout the store that they find at estate sales, vintage markets, and things like that. All of the chandeliers that are hanging up are all for sale, and they’re so beautiful just to look at.
Collier West | Photo by Cole Saladino for Thrillist
“I’m really into the non-toxic, clean brands, especially with candles. So when I have those things in my home, especially around my kids, I’m very particular about them.”
I’m really into the non-toxic, clean brands, especially with candles. So when I have those things in my home, especially around my kids, I’m very particular about them. The Primary Essentials has a lot of great soy wax candles and a lot of scents that are non-toxic.
The Brooklyn Circus is a Black-owned company that sells predominantly men's clothing, but I love to borrow from the boys’ style all the time. It's more street wear, so think hoodies, sweatpants, and things like that.
There's even a cute little bra store called Iris Lingerie. The owner, [Iris Clarke], is the sweetest woman ever. You walk in there and she's literally selling you every bra on the planet. But she's like, “Let me take your size, dear, you look amazing.” Sometimes New York can feel very big, but this neighborhood can make you just feel like you’re part of a community.
I think people have this misconception about New Yorkers being so cold and mean. And yeah, if we have something to do, don't mess with us. But we're actually really nice people. If you need directions, we got you. Definitely don't slowly walk in front of us while texting, that's annoying. But if you need something, we got you.