Mon, noon-10pm; Tue-Thu, noon-11pm; Fri, noon-11pm; Sat, 11am-11:30pm; Sun, 11am-10pm
L at Eighth Ave.; A, C, E at 14th St.
American Express, MasterCard, Visa
Like a ray of Provençal sunshine on a shabby stretch of Lexington Avenue, this sunken café evokes the Mediterranean with its unwavering devotion to olive oil, a featured ingredient in nearly every dish. Olives swim in it. Vegetables are marinated in it. Fresh, artfully arranged salads are dressed with it. Once you've found one you particularly like—the Château Leoube paired with the salmon crudo, say, or the Arbequina that anoints the fig-and-olive salad—you can repair to the on-premise shop and buy a bottle to take home. The market-like ambience, the wicker armchairs, the Provençal rosé all conspire to create a convivial European air that attracts neighborhood suits, hospital staff, and gossiping girlfriends, all mixing much better than oil and water.Brunch
Sat.—Sun., noon—4 p.m.