The Citiblog

A New Bi-Level Lounge and Restaurant from the MaLa Team Opens on LES
April 12, 2024, 6:57.13 pm ET


Photos: Ori Harpaz (Interiors)

Only Love Strangers, a new bi-level cocktail lounge and restaurant with nightly live jazz performances, has arrived on the Lower East Side. It is led by the team behind MáLà Project - Amelie Kang, Simona Petrovska, Christian Castillo, Irene Li, and Yishu He.

The immersive dinner-and-a-show experience promises a sensory journey bordering on Stanley Kubrik’s “2001: A Space Odyssey.” Striking Cobalt Blue floor-to-ceiling tiles complement an aluminum clad bar and banquettes upholstered with the late Verner Panton’s 1969 “Black and White Optik”design.

Photos: Heidi's Bridge (F&B)

Signature cocktails from Beverage Director Fabrizio Argiolas (Obicà Mozzarella Bar), feature the Bebop (Tequila, Green Apple, Red Beets, Pomegranate, Citrus), the Bossa Nova (Mezcal, Pink Grapefruit, Yellow Pepper, Pineapple, Citrus), and the Nu (Vodka, White Creme de Cacao, Frangelico, Espresso Ice Cube). Martini lovers are also in for a treat, with options like the Double Dirty (Kalamata + Sevillano Brine), the Pickled (House made Pickle Brine), and the Ouzo (Dry Anise Liqueur).

The seafood driven menu is a collaboration between Culinary Director Tabitha Yeh (Noma, Per Se) and Chef de Cuisine Alberto Gomez (Prohibition, The Williamsburg Hotel), drawing inspiration from Spain, Italy, and Greece.

The meal begins with a shareable seafood tower flowing with Oysters, Little Neck Clams, Shrimp Cocktail, Salmon Rillette, Scallop Tartare, Razor Clams with Chorizo along with traditional pintxos and mezze dishes. Other highlights include an Osetra Caviar Cannoli with Potato, Sour Cream & Onion; Shrimp Kataifi with Calabrian Chili Aioli; Squid Ink Tagliatelle with Sea Urchin and Bottarga; and Branzino with Salsa Verde, Olives, and Dandelion Greens.

For a sweet finish, try the Baklava Sundae with black pepper gelato, caramelized figs, and pistacho. Only Love Strangers is located at 200 Allen Street, near East Houston, in New York City. For more information, visit