Bottom line: Budget friendly eatery in Murray Hill with DIY bloody Marys, a relatively classic menu and capacity for groups
Food/Drinks: Overall, a very standard brunch menu, with the delicious spaghetti frittata being the most unique item. The portions were just right to fill you up without overstuffing you, and making you feel like you are getting a great value for your cash.
- Pancakes: The classic pancake dish comes with strawberries, blueberries and banana slices and is beautifully presented. It comes with only two pancakes, because these are the thickest pancakes we've ever seen - so fluffy! They taste great, the only drawback is because of the amount of pancake in each bite, you really need to drench with syrup so it will soak all the way through.
- Tomato and basil omelette: Loved the basil flavor in the omelette which wasn't overpowering. The ingredients are mixed into the egg batter just the way I like it (vs. folded inside like a crepe) and the portion is just right. It needed salt, and I think adding fresh mozzarella to the omelette would have made it just right (but I'm no chef!).
- Two eggs any style: Simple dish done right. We got it scrambled and the eggs were cooked perfectly - not too runny and not too dry. Also, it was just the right amount of food so you aren't stuffed but feel like you get a good value for your money. Comes with bacon, toast and potatoes for an extra dollar for a total of $9.
- Eggs benedict: Honestly, pretty standard and nothing special. Wouldn't order again with so many other delicious things on the menu.
- Spaghetti frittata: We don't know who thought of mixing these ingredients together, but they deserve a medal. This pasta / egg concoction was actually really really good. It is made with parmesan cheese and tastes almost like a fettucini alfredo - but much lighter.
- French toast: Another well-done classic that comes with berries to complete the meal.
- Mimosas: The mimosas were tasty, and had a good balance of champagne and OJ. They were constantly refilled, without us having to ask, but they were refilled with pitchers of the mixture which almost cheapened the drink experience. Of course, we know that it is quicker this way, plus we are only paying $6.50 for the bottomless mimosas, so we'll let it slide.
- Bloody Marys: The bloody Marys are a lot of fun because you get a class with the classic mixture, and then you receive a bucket of spices and sauces to create to your liking. Celery salt was not among the ingredients which was a bit odd, but all the other classics were readily available. Only drawback, in order to not water down the bloody Mary mixture, there is no ice in the pitcher, so the drink is lukewarm every time your glass is refilled. Easily fixed with a cup of ice, but something to keep in mind.
Atmosphere: When the restaurant fills up around 1PM, it gets LOUD so be prepared especially if you are at a large table because it may be hard to hear one another. The decor of the eatery is nice and definitely seems like a romantic dinner spot with a large wine selection. Love how the wine bottles, barrels and cases are integrated into the interior design. The service is a bit slow but attentive overall, and we didn't feel rushed to leave. In fact, our cocktails were refilled even after our plates were cleared.
La Giara: 501 Third Avenue (at 34th street), 212.726.9855