Pandemic Or Not: Delicious Tapas & Cocktails Ready To Be Served At Bar Dalia
By Jessica Militello
Bar Dalia is an exciting new craft cocktails and tapas restaurant that opened on July 26 on 31st avenue. A grand opening during a pandemic is truly an accomplishment. So I made it a point to stop by to see what their menu has to offer and talk to Bar Dalia’s owner, Tom Romano, on opening his second bar in Astoria.
I first noticed Bar Dalia’s outdoor seating as I approached the tapas spot. There were plenty of rows of tables and chairs covered by umbrellas and chattering patrons enjoying each other’s company coupled with a breeze as summer’s golden hour approached after another bright and humid day.
I was greeted by a hostess who gave me the option of seating out front or in Bar Dalia’s backyard, to which I selected the latter. I walked past other seated guests and sat down at my table. I removed my mask and looked around, seeing smiles and smelling something delicious in the air, and for a moment life actually seemed normal. A masked server brought me some water moments later, gently snapping me back into reality. I quickly reached for my mask, but the gesture felt empty as he seemed to come and go in the same moment.
Next to my table, there was a sticker with Bar Dalia’s ornate blue logo for guests to scan in order to see the menu from their phones. The tapas’ food and drink selections seemed equally appealing, especially their fresh, creamy guacamole with tortilla chips. As the name suggests, Bar Dalia places a high emphasis on their cocktails, which, according to Romano, is meant to be the focal point that the tapas were created around.
“The ideal perception is that it’s a cocktail bar with great food,” said Romano, “instead of a restaurant with great drinks so that people say, “I’m at this really great cocktail bar and they have awesome food.” [That was] the reason to do tapas, so people come here after dinner or when you want to have a light dinner.”
“The analogy I use, it’s like I’m swimming upstream,” said Romano. “I hear about everyone closing and it would have been the easier path to just walk away and not invest the additional money. But it’s like an artist that has a picture in their mind that they have to draw and that was a vision that I knew I had to bring to them even if it wasn’t able to succeed because of this environment. I did my part and we’re putting our best foot forward and hopefully it works.”
Their menu has so many delicious plates to choose from, but you can’t go wrong with their fresh and creamy guacamole and tortilla chips. Other notable plates are fresh house made crab cakes that are satisfying and packed with zesty flavor, and the gambas al ajillo, sautéed shrimp in creamy garlic sauce, with delicious slices of toasted bread on the side. Their cocktail menu made it hard to choose, so I decided to go for a classic and ordered the dalia margarita, but other drinks like the rosalita and the pisco punch are certainly worth a try.
As the neighborhood gets more familiar with the great menu and staff at Bar Dalia, Romano’s vision of creating a community for his customers and staff with great food and drinks will soon be realized.
33-17 31st Ave.