While new restaurants open every day in NYC, Il Fiorista looks a little different. The venue’s window-facing high-top table hosts bountiful bouquets, a circular surface displays individual stems for made-to-order arrangements, and a near floor-to-ceiling wall-mounted display offers dozens of home decor products for sale. And beyond all of these blooms lies the bright, charming bar and restaurant.
It’s an eye-catching approach, but it’s more than an intricate set for an Instagram post. Il Fiorista’s owners, Milan-transplants Alessandra and Mario De Benedetti, have an unmatched affinity for flowers and their beneficial properties. “Flowers have been consumed for thousands of years all over the world, and many studies have been done about their amazing beneficial properties. We believe the time is right to focus (again) on flowers and herbs and their incredible benefits, and to make them accessible to everyone,” Mario says. “We hope Il Fiorista will play a role in educating people about the emotional, physical and nutritional benefits of flowers and herbs.”
First and foremost, the space functions as a bar and restaurant, serving flower-focused food and drink from 5:30PM to 11PM seven days a week. But they’ll also host floral arrangement-making workshops and edible flowers 101 classes, and the front of the space will operate as its own boutique—selling flowers, books, vases and more. Bouquets by Floral Director Mindy Cardozo will be on sale here too.
“Our dream is to make Il Fiorista a community space where guests come together to learn about and celebrate the beauty of flowers in all their various forms,” Mario continues. “Immediately upon entering the restaurant, guests can stop in the boutique to pick up the latest gardening book, swing by the bar to sip a floral-infused cocktail (or tisane) and order an arrangement to pick up after their meal. Classes are offered on select dates, which will be announced on social media and on the website.”
And Il Fiorista’s Mediterranean menu offers dishes that include edible flowers like artichokes, capers, broccoli, zucchini flowers, and saffron as well as lesser-known and unexpected floral ingredients. “And we love all the flowers and their incredible colors and perfumes,” Mario continues. “We also respect their seasonality and source them locally as much as possible. For example, we currently have sunflowers in both a drink and a dish. We offer a cocktail called Drunken Sunflower, done with rye whiskey, toasted sunflower, popcorn shoots, turmeric; and we also serve a dip made from pureed sunflower seeds, served with sunflower petals and shoots.”
Their menu also includes a mezcal-focused drink called Thorn In My Side (mezcal, rose, galangal, sweet basil seed, bergamot and seltzer), and an Arctic char dish (with grilled peach, sprouted hazelnuts and succulents).
“We love the hustle and bustle of New York,” Mario says. “But felt the city was lacking a community space like Il Fiorista, where guests can come to slow down and appreciate the beauty of flowers and herbs.”
Images courtesy of Il Fiorista