SANT AMBROEUS | UNA BELLA VITA

IN THE BUSTLING HEART OF SOHO, SANT AMBROEUS CHARMS AND DELIGHTS, SETTING THE TONE FOR A LAVISH BRUNCH AMIDST SPRING’S MOST LADYLIKE CONFECTIONS.

Clockwise from L to R: Yellow Hasty Sandal, Jimmy Choo ($750). 716 Madison Ave.; 212.759.7078. Brass Perfect Hex Bangles, Jennifer Fisher ($270 each). 103 5th Ave; 888.255.0640. Pinball Ring, Lele Sadoughi ($115). 1005 Vanilla Sunglasses, Cutler and Gross ($500). 110 Mercer St; 212.431.4440. Ice Blue Cadence Clutch, Jimmy Choo ($1,550). 716 Madison Ave.; 212.759.7078. Composition Cuff, Eddie Borgo ($950). Editorialist.com. Micro Peekaboo Nappa Leather Handbag, Fendi ($1550). 598 Madison Ave; 212.897.2244. Black and White Anouk Pump, Jimmy Choo ($625). 716 Madison Ave.; 212.759.7078. Metal Cuff Embellished with Signatures and Glass Pearls, Chanel ($1,825). 139 Spring St; 212.334.0055. Spring Green Granita Earrings, Oscar de la Renta ($395). 772 Madison Ave; 212.288.5810. Striped Jean Box Clutch, Edie Parker ($1,195).

Over on Lafayette Street, a scalloped melon awning juts out into an otherwise grey NYC sidewalk as if it were a Milanese café plucked straight out of the Piazza del Duomo. Wicker chairs line the façade, the distinct scent of bold, Italian coffee fills the air and diners appear as elegant as the dishes they’re enjoying: berry-dotted yogurt parfaits in the morning; micro-green-topped salads mid-day; herbed, fresh pastas at night.

In actuality, the pretty urban oasis is the newest location to join the Sant Ambroeus empire, a group of beloved Italian cafés on the Upper East Side and in the West Village and Southampton. And though the SoHo space has been open for little over a year, it’s already a regular stomping ground for the “who’s who” in fashion (we should mention that it is by far the most recommended venue on CITIPHILE). In effect, it seems to capture the best of all worlds: the elegance of Madison Avenue, the charm of the West Village, the homeyness of Southampton and the vibrancy of SoHo.

Surely it doesn’t hurt that the location happens to have the most dialed-in maître d’ in Manhattan either: Alireza “Ali” Niroomand is the brains behind the restaurant’s infamous plate wall featuring one-of-a-kind plates by boldface fashion names like Brian Atwood, Edward Enniful and Jonathan Adler (all friends of Niroomand’s). “The plate series started very organically, when my friend Bäast came for dinner on Valentine’s Day. I asked him to draw on a plate and he came back with a design that lent a unique and distinctive element to the restaurant,” he says. “This is how it all got started.” Now, with over 100 original designs, the chic space is practically tailor-made for elegant ladylike confections— both gastronomically and sartorially speaking.

Take, for example, Sant Ambroeus’ fresh, buttery pastries: a myriad of flaky croissants, fruit danishes and floral-scented muffins as delightful on the tongue as spring’s candy-coated accessories are on the eyes. A pearl Lele Sadoughi ring mimics the sugary sprinkles atop an orange blossom muffin; a sunny lemon Jimmy Choo sandal its delicate flavor, while a black-and-white Edie Parker clutch mirrors the contrasting seeds of a nearby whole wheat croissant, its boldness softened by spring green Oscar de la Renta earrings and a gilded Chanel No. 5 cuff.

From L to R: Periwinkle Taris Sandal, Jimmy Choo ($950). 716 Madison Ave.; 212.759.7078.  Cherry Blossom Ring, Meadowlark ($1,115). LatestRevival.com. 14k Gold Lips Ring, Jennifer Fisher ($200). Editorialist.com. Micro Peekaboo Nappa Leather Handbag, Fendi ($1550). 598 Madison Ave; 212.897.2244. 440 Envelope Clutch in Metallic Embossed Croc, Diane von Furstenberg ($248). 874 Washington St; 646.486.4800. Rose Gold ID Cuff, Jennifer Fisher ($210).  103 5th Ave; 888.255.0640. Coco Crystal Heel, Sophia Webster ($598). Paloma Picasso Sugar Stacks Bracelet, Tiffany & Co. ($30,000). 727 5th Ave; 212.755.8000. 1005 Azure Sunglasses, Cutler and Gross ($500). Medium Wave Flap Bag, Salvatore Ferragamo ($1,290). 655 5th Ave; 212.759.3822. Four Peak Bangle ($230) and Jennifer Fisher x Stop it Right Now Cuff ($250), both Jennifer Fisher. 103 5th Ave; 888.255.0640. Flamingo Scarf, Bulgari ($420). 730 5th Ave, Ste. 2; 212.315.9000. Pearl Starburst Earrings, Oscar de la Renta ($250). 772 Madison Ave; 212.288.5810.

On the traditional side, the restaurant offers several egg dishes— our favorite being a classic Eggs Benedict. Rich, wholesome and yet surprisingly well-balanced, it is a near-perfect match for timeless pieces like a silk Bulgari scarf, a pink Fendi bag or a metallic Diane Von Furstenberg clutch. And for those wanting creamy, but sweet, Sant Ambroeus’ requisite yogurt parfait is among the finest in the city. Dotted with honeyed granola and bright berries, its prettiness is echoed by a pink sapphire Tiffany & Co. bracelet and powder blue Sophia Webster pumps.

From L to R: Printed Calfskin Olive Clutch, Valentino ($3,145). 693 Fifth Ave.; 212.355.5811. Emerald-Cut Swarovski Choker, Ralph Lauren ($995). 109 Prince St; 212. 625.1660. White and Brown Chain Clutch, Valentino ($1,495). 693 Fifth Ave.; 212.355.5811. Classic teardrop C Earrings, Oscar de la Renta ($390). Front Double Pump in Nude, Christian Louboutin ($875). 59 Horatio St; 212.255.1910. Tiffany T Square Bracelet, Tiffany & Co. ($5,000). 727 5th Ave; 212.755.8000. Gold Metal Signature Cuff ($775) and Metal Cuff Paved with Strass ($2,650), both Chanel. 139 Spring Street; 212.334.0055.

Lighter still, the house’s salmon tartare is garnished with slightly bitter frisée and best enjoyed alongside a bellini or rossini (strawberry purée and prosecco), as are other popular salads like the Insalata Centocolori, a vegetable-centric dish of avocado, tomatoes and olives, and a new spring quinoa salad with artichokes and shrimp. Certainly among the more modern offerings, the dishes cater to funky tie-dyed and cut-out Chanel cuffs and the Fornasetti-like Italian paisley of a S/S ’15 Valentino bag.

From L to R: Charlotte Origami White Bag, Jason Wu ($2,895). Tiffany T Chain Necklace in 18k gold, Tiffany & Co. ($5,700). 727 5th Ave; 212.755.8000. Mint Green Molten Sandal, Jimmy Choo ($795). 716 Madison Ave.; 212.759.7078. Gold Vein Multi-Stone Ring, Delfina Delettrez ($660). LatestRevival.com. Rose Gold Mini Nail Cuff ($295) and Single Bar Cuff ($615), both Jennifer Fisher. 103 5th Ave; 888.255.0640. Multi-Color Gem Strass Bracelet, Chanel ($3,375). 139 Spring Street; 212.334.0055. Wood Tassel Earrings, J. Crew ($50). 99 Price St; 212.966.2739. Oyster Stack Ring, Alison Lou ($760). Alisonlou.com.

From L to R: Pink Chain Clutch, Valentino. ($1,495). 693 Fifth Ave.; 212.355.5811. Tiffany T Wire Ring with Diamonds, Tiffany & Co. ($1,500). 727 5th Ave; 212.755.8000. Granita Embroidered Nappa Leather Alyssa Pump, Oscar de la Renta ($1190). 772 Madison Ave; 212.288.5810. Navy Charlotte Python Clutch, Jason Wu ($4,395). Russian Gold Twisted Rope Bracelet ($295) and Black Checkered Crystal Choker Necklace ($595), both Oscar de la Renta. 772 Madison Ave; 212.288.5810. “Oser Sans Poser” Miaudière, Chanel ($9,700). 139 Spring Street; 212.334.0055. Darcey Cuff, Chloé ($712). Editorialist.com.

Of the sweeter offerings, the lemon ricotta pancakes are an elevated take on a breakfast crowd pleaser— they’re fluffy, zesty and a touch playful, not unlike J. Crew’s arts-and-crafts tassel earrings or Jimmy Choo’s mint-and-metallic sandals. Paired with a seasonal fruit bowl and one of the location’s fresh-squeezed juices (orange, grapefruit or carrot), you’ll be left wanting little more.

That is, until the dessert menu hits the table. Tiramisu, berry tarts and cakes of every variety (chocolate mousse, hazelnut sponge, pumpkin cheesecake), each is its own mini-work of art, but then again, how else would one end a lovely Italian meal? So, put your best Oscar de la Renta pump forward, order one (or two or three) and in true European fashion, “let them eat cake!”

**As our April Restaurant of the Month, Sant Ambroeus SoHo will offer a complimentary glass of Sant Ambroeus Prosecco to all CITIPHILE readers that make a reservation for lunch or dinner in the next month. Just mention CITIPHILE to your server and Instagram a snap with the hashtag #CitiphilexSA. Cheers!

Sant Ambroeus, 265 Lafayette St. btwn Prince and Spring; 212.966.2770. CP

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