Raf’s NYC

The more things change, the gloriously more they stay the same. With the opening of Raf’s NYC, it’s a throwback to the early 2000s. It was a time when restaurants were the size of a shoebox, independently owned, and tables practically on top of each other. Raf’s is all of these things and everything that’s effortlessly authentic about the NYC dining scene. This is the review.


Raf’s recently opened on the fringe of Soho on Elizabeth Street, just a smidge north of Houston. The space has been a family-owned restaurant/bakery since the 1930s and even has the original brick oven. Under the rendition of Raf’s, the restaurant has the distinction that it’s led by a powerhouse female team of Mary Attea and pastry chef Camari Mick. If this team sounds familiar, it’s because Raf’s is the sister restaurant to the Musket Room. Raf’s cuisine beautifully threads between French and Italian, even cleverly landing in Corsica with a nice selection of wines. After all, Corsica may be French, but at its heart it’s Italian. In many respects, that’s Raf’s in a nutshell.


Raf’s vibe gets everything right. It’s actually one of the reasons that you’ll come back and even put Raf’s on your restaurant rotation. Candles and lighting elevate anyone from a 7 to a solid 9 and tables are right on top of each other but yet charmingly intimate. The decor, down to the subway tiles on the walls and marble on the bar is so quintessentially French. Raf’s is like a throwback to the old Schiller’s and French bistros on Avenue A back in the early 2000s. You know, the days when NYC restaurants were effortlessly cool.


Unlike the Musket Room, I don’t think that Raf’s is in contention for a Michelin star, but that’s the point. By day they sell pastries and bread on the weekends, and by night, it’s a super sexy bistro. They also have plans to open for brunch and lunch soon. When they do, they have a solid menu with food that you can eat any time of the week. No matter what you order, the food is clean. In fact, the menu, whether purposeful or not, is what you would authentically find in Corsica. Corsica is French by ownership and Italian in spirit, which is the essence of Raf’s NYC.

The endive salad has a pistachio puree and thin slices of ricotta salata and comes perfectly dressed. They charge $14 for the bread of the day, but remember it’s made in that original brick oven, and worth every penny. They bring out fresh butter and a spicy olive oil concoction on the side. The pasta is made in-house, and they are a highlight. Portions of all, from the starters through the entrees are generous, so you’ll want to share everything with the table. What I respected about the food is that Raf’s knows exactly who it is, and delivers beautifully.


There are certainly some opening bumps in managing table flow, but once you do get a seat, the service is seamless. Also, they don’t rush you out of there. If you wanted, you could sit around all night talking with your dinner companions. Just make sure you’re courteous and continue to keep the wine flowing. The restaurant is tiny, and this is a place where we all want to succeed.

Overall: 7.5/10

We are cheering hard for Raf’s. It’s the perfect go-to bistro for a date or a group of friends.

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Q: Where is Raf’s NYC located?

A: Raf’s is at 290 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10012

Q: What are Raf’s hours of operation?

A: During the weekend days, Raf’s is a bakery, and at night, it becomes an intimate restaurant. It will soon be open for breakfast and lunch. It’s current hours of operation are as follows:

Raf’s is open for Dinner beginning at 5pm Tuesday – Sunday

The Bakery is currently open from 9am – 2pm on Saturday & Sunday

Q: What type of for does Raf’s NYC serve?

A: Raf’s serves French and Italian-inspired food.

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