STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — The 2023 Michelin Guide restaurant stats are out. Staten Island’s own landed in the prestigious ranks — recognized not with stars, but with a special value designation called Bib Gourmande. This year, four businesses received accolades.
Enoteca Maria of St. George and VINUM of Stapleton kept their status from years prior. They are jointed by two newbies — the long-time, Sri Lankan spot Lakruwana of Stapleton and Seppe Pizza Bar at Urby, also Stapleton, for its precious Italian fare, pizza and cocktail program.
Alas, Sagara Food City — 98 Victory Blvd., Tompkinsville; 718-285-4556, Facebook.com/sagaraanucorp — lost its Michelin status. The restaurant switched over completely to a to-go/delivery/grocery store format during COVID, a factor that might have impacted inclusion.
Compared to three standouts in 2019 and last year, the borough has made a wee bit of progress with Michelin adding a fourth selection.
Here’s a bit about each establishment.
ENOTECA MARIA — 27 Hyatt St., St. George, 27, 718-447-2777; EnotecaMaria.com
Probably Staten Island’s most famous restaurant with a global clientele, the cozy eatery features a different star Nonna each evening cooking dinner. Michelin peeps appreciate its proximity to the ferry and gives props to owner Joe Scaravella for his cookbook “Nonna’s House.”
The guide gushes, “With its Carrara marble and lively vibe, most foodies flock here for a certain authenticity that is rarely sacrificed.”
LAKRUWANA — 668 Bay St., Stapleton, 347-857-6619; Lakruwanarestaurant.com
Lakruwana takes its name from owner Lakruwana Wijesinghe. He and his family run the most formal of S.I.’s Ceylonese spots with a sit-down format (to-go, too, is available) in a charming dining room. Lakruwana offers soft drinks and a great introduction to the cuisine via its all-you-can-eat weekend buffet, presented from 12:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. for $15.95.
Michelin describes, “Lakruwana is covered floor-to-ceiling in murals, sculptures, flags, and more. The flavorful fare here is spicy, from fiery red chili lunu miris chutney to deviled chicken.”
In a further ode to the signature deviled dish it notes, “Loaded with ginger and garlic, this stellar tomato-based chicken specialty comes with cooling raita and tangy vegetable curry.”
SEPPE PIZZA BAR — 3 Navy Pier Ct., Stapleton, 718-727-3773; Seppepizzabar.com
Located in the Urby residential/restaurant complex, Seppe’s sleek digs have a bistro feel with a marble-topped bar and black-and-white mosaic tiled floor.
From the breezes blowing off the water to the natural light flooding its space, this Navy Pier restaurant is a breath of fresh air. Start with one of the fantastic pizzas, such as the unusually delicious “Pep in your Step,” starring pepperoni, sliced jalapeños and a drizzle of spicy honey.
“It’s always wonderful to be recognized by Michelin. Congratulations to all of the winners. So many wonderful establishments are on Staten Island. It’s a real honor to be recognized at this level,” said Joe Iovino.
VINUM — 704 Bay St., Stapleton, 718-448-8466; Vinumnyc.com
Chef Massimo Felici’s wine bar, now open for dinner only, earned a place in Michelin’s heart shortly after it opened in 2017.
Michelin enthuses, “Inside this wine-focused eatery is unexpected décor that gives the place the look and feel of a proper osteria. The menu is designed for sharing, making the salumi and cheese platters a prevalent choice. ‘The Meatball Bar’ is another treat, with unlikely twists on tired offerings — think truffled veal or lamb.”
Felici is the chef and tender of Casa Belvedere’s dining services and catering. He also owns Don Cheech in Rosebank.
He shared, “I am super stoked about receiving this for five years in a row out of six, especially since I know restaurants do lose it if you don’t keep up. It’s about work, determination — always keep up the passion.”
Felici added, “And, yes, you always need a bit of luck to be recognized and be discovered for what you do and offer.”
Pamela Silvestri is Advance Food Editor. She can be reached at email@example.com.