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  • Tolani

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Tolani Details

  • Dining Style: Casual Dining
  • Website: http://tolaninyc.com
  • Email: info@tolaninyc.com
  • Phone: (212) 873-6252
  • Hours of Operation: Brunch: Saturday & Sunday: 10:00am - 4:00pm; Dinner: Downstairs/Garden: Nightly: 5:00pm - 11:30pm, Upstairs/Lounge: Nightly: 5:00pm - 2:00am Special Events Join us for 'happy hour'everyday 4pm to 6pm- free tapas dish with every drink ordered! Please check in with us for our special event calander.
  • Payment Options: AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
  • Cuisine: International, South African, Contemporary American
  • Dress Code: Smart Casual
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, Bar/Lounge, Beer, Counter Seating, Delivery, Farm to Table, Full Bar, Happy Hour, Late Night, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Personal wines welcome (corkage fee applies), Private Room, Smoking Area (patio only), Takeout, Weekend Brunch, Wine, Wine Bar
  • Special Events & Promotions: Starting Monday January 24th, Tolani will be hosting International wine tastings every other week! Each week, a four course tasting designed after the country of interest will be served, accompanied by wines from the same region. Make your reservation today! Also, join us for 'happy hour'everyday 4pm to 7pm- free tapas dish with every drink ordered!

Getting there

  • Parking: Public Lot
A word from Tolani
In South African slang, "Tolani" means "too good," and that is exactly what this UWS gem is – an unpretentious spot of which you simply can't get enough. Drawing from the very best flavors, techniques and ingredients from each corner of the world, Tolani Wine Restaurant's menu brings a culinary adventure to your backyard, marrying authenticity with ingenuity.Continued
Foodspotting photos
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Diner Reviews
  • "On Tolani's website they point out that the name actually means "Too Good" in South African slang. This spot definitely lives up to its name. Came here with 10 of my friends on Good Friday and we decided to go with the restaurant's pairing experience...7 amazing courses (and a bonus fish taco for each of us they threw in which was awesome), each course came with a new glass of wine that was expertly selected to match up with that dish. Our whole group had an amazing time, 3 hours just flew by and everyone is already buzzing about going back. Highly recommended for a very fun and delicious experience. "
    Dined on 4/18/2014
  • "I love this place. I used to live in the neighborhood and now when i return to NY I always stop by for the delicious and artistically crafted food. Also, it is one of the few places where you can get south african wines. Tolani always has a selection of great pinotages. "
    Dined on 2/1/2014
  • "I don't know if he was the owner but the stout South African gentleman behind the bar was great"
    Dined on 4/10/2014
  • "Tolani is a truly special restaurant. Upstairs is a quirky and fantastic room with an active bar scene to the left . Downstairs there is a sexy-vibe dining room suitable for large groups. Beyond this, an outside dining area. From the moment you enter, you are welcomed by a most hospitable staff. Servers are accomodating and the owner is a knowledgeable South African gentleman with whom I had a most interesting conversation about the briny oysters from a beautiful part of South Africa. The food is outstanding. We sampled about six small plates, suitable for sharing, and served in an unhurried fashion so that we could savor the unusual flavors without rushing our palates off to the next ones. ...a place to return again and again."
    Dined on 4/12/2014
  • "Creative vegetarian offerings allow for happy food sharing for everyone. As a vegetarian myself it is lovely to find gastronomic choices as interesting as those for omnivores. The downstairs is quiet and cosy."
    Dined on 4/1/2014
  • "This restaurant has a bit of it all. Sidewalk seating, vibrant bar, young patrons eating on the main floor, lower level a little quieter and an outdoor garden. The menu is tapas and many good choices good for vegetarians as well as meat options. Nice atmosphere and attentive service."
    Dined on 3/28/2014
  • "Tolani has a great menu- very appealing for vegetarians and omnivores alike! the space is very small, but cozy and service as excellent. A great place to have in the neighborhood when you want to go out for a nice dinner but don't want to travel far. Moderately priced for the level of presentation, quality of food and ambiance. Absolutely delightful!"
    Dined on 3/29/2014
  • "Get yourself down to this place as soon as you can. Great service and super great food and wine."
    Dined on 3/1/2014
  • "Just a fun place to go to eat different food (lots of interesting small plates) and drink delicious wine!"
    Dined on 2/9/2014
  • "Good food, service & very reasonable prices! Will definitely be back."
    Dined on 3/25/2014
  • "Drinks a little small. Tables very close. Great food."
    Dined on 3/14/2014
  • "Solid, nothing great. When it is sunny and warm the inside is dark and dank."
    Dined on 3/8/2014
  • "There is an upstair and downstairs. I have been twice only downstairs and the two experiences were polar opposites. Once during a cold week, were almost alone and it was very quiet as a result. 2nd time was packed and it was extremely boisterous - including one birthday song rendition. Upstairs seems to be consistently mellower, with moderate sound. So if I could give this two ambience and noise level reviews I would. Food consistently interesting. I'll return again, with a reservations specifically for upstairs."
    Dined on 3/7/2014
  • "Went here prior to attending the NYPhil and had 2 hours to enjoy a fantastic experience! The waitress was knowledgable and they encourage you to share and order what you want, when you want. We were surprised to find out it was still happy hours and drinks were buy one get one free. The fish tacos were wonderful but the highlight was the African Bread Pudding. I will be craving this for a long time. I highly recommend."
    Dined on 3/7/2014
  • "Having been to Tolani before I knew the food was not the main reason to go, this is said under the guise of being a vegetarian and can only comment on the food options to which I can ascribe. The main reason to visit is for a date night, fun atmosphere and great wine selection (although please more options by the glass). The service was "good", kind and friendly but seemed a bit overwhelmed. This can be for any number of reason so I don't want to harp. People give servers a harder time than need be. I will be back perhaps in a while once the menu changes again assuming its seasonally prepared."
    Dined on 3/1/2014
  • "Delicious! I went on a Friday and had to go back on Sunday because I couldn't stop thinking about the food!!"
    Dined on 2/23/2014
  • "I had no idea what to expect, but two of the vegetarian dishes were standouts - the meatball and mushroom stroganoff. Service was attentive and food was delicious and reasonably priced. I will be back."
    Dined on 2/14/2014
  • "In general this place is great but it was too crowded for valentines day which meant certain things on the menu were sold out. I still love going here on regular nights."
    Dined on 2/14/2014
  • "We went there for Valentines. Food was good and I would recommend the mushroom strogonoff and the skirt steak as well as the pork little hamburger (delicious flavor). However, most tables are really tiny and as we saw there were others a little bigger empty, we asked to change but we were told they were booked (which we noted that took some hours for people arrive). Our second course delayed a lot! Other then the service and food being small food was delicious."
    Dined on 2/14/2014
  • "This is a place you go if you are planning on having a night at the restaurant. The service isn't slow, not in the least, it's attentive, friendly & knowledgable. It's a place where you linger enjoying another delicious taste of something, with very good glass of wine and talking with friends. It's just dark enough that everyone looks good. The food is very good and just different enough. The squash salad was fantastic, as was the salmon tartar. The vegetarian meatballs are a must, I would never have ordered them, but so glad the person I was with did. They had 2 dessert options -- definitely chose the one that isn't the cheese cake!"
    Dined on 2/7/2014
  • "Unfortunately the music was too loud, and rather unfitting for the restaurant. Otherwise, the food was good."
    Dined on 2/3/2014
  • "We went to Tolani for my birthday dinner with friends. It is lovely, warm space. We felt welcomed. The wine list I stellar and the staff very knowledgable. But the food is the real stand out. We did a tasting menu and everything was terrific. The flavor profiles are complex, but the flavored are all clean and stop on. The squash salad with pomegranate seeds was such a treat. We couldn't have had a better night. We"ll certainly be back."
    Dined on 2/1/2014
  • "Check out the raw oysters and Brussels sprouts, and the South African carbernet blend wine."
    Dined on 1/30/2014
  • "I really enjoyed my dinner at Tolani. I would not say the food is hit or miss but rather the food is solid and sometimes surprisingly delicious. For instance the fish with cauliflower puree and truffle oil was amazing, whereas the taco was fine - not bad in any way, but not outstanding. Which is completely on par with the price of the food -- very reasonable. The drinks were similarly good - some were good without deserving any mention, but others were really tasty. They have a nice happy hour special. I think it's a really nice place to go on a casual night out with friends or on a date. The service was very warm and welcoming. I would totally come back to try other dishes."
    Dined on 1/26/2014
  • "A great little wine bar with an excellent wine selection and a unique tapas style menu. We decided to try the tasting menu that also included the wine pairing. We found the entire five course meal to be delicious, with an appropriately attentive staff and a quiet, intimate atmosphere (we asked to be seated downstairs). The tasting include salmon, lamb, mushrooms with a well selected variety of wines. We had a very relaxing and enjoyable time."
    Dined on 1/24/2014
  • "We were a group of 6 people and we tried lots of things from the menu. From the "Fall" we most enjoyed the Mussels, Brussels sprouts and the squash salad. From the rest of the menu, the lamb ragu, meatballs, and pork belly were incredible. We didn't leave anything on the plates. They don't bring bread to the table, but if you ask for some, like to dip into the mussels sauce, they'll bring some at no charge. We stayed on and talked for a while after finishing the meal, but no one bothered us, and we didn't get the sense that they want us to leave. We had a great experience."
    Dined on 1/4/2014
  • "A winning find for these two tourists over the holidays. Excellent food, exceptional service. Portions sized to satisfy but not to stuff. Loved the Cornish hen, it was tender, succulent and the cider was wonderful side kick for this dish. The curried mussels were fresh and steamed to perfection. We look forward to coming back to NYC and Tolani will be on our "NOT to miss" list."
    Dined on 12/24/2013
  • "The tapas style of the place allows everyone to get a taste of many things. A variety of delightful flavors."
    Dined on 12/16/2013
  • "We really enjoyed this place. Friendly staff, fun food concept, great food, great "by the glass" selections. We are out of the city, but will make a point of planning this place as part of our trips in. It was that good."
    Dined on 12/4/2013
  • "Went to Tolani on a Friday Night. Great look and Feel about the place. Decor was fantastic. Fantastic wine list, had a great wine from South Africa, The beer list was small but very interesting, had a great Kenyan beer. The food was unbelievable. Pickled radishes? Who would have thought. The cheese and meat selections were first class. Had the fish tacos and the Sea Bass, Wow! The service was very attentive without being disruptive to the mood. First Rate place.."
    Dined on 11/22/2013
  • "The new pricing/Portion size makes no sense. Small tiny portions for more cost is not appealing. They should go back to previous pricing /portion size."
    Dined on 11/22/2013
  • "Lovely, warm ambience.....food so good, I would be happy to pay a bit more for full size portions. Looking forward to returning. The owner is charming, I hope you get to meet him!"
    Dined on 11/21/2013
  • "Second time here, first time for wine and light snacks, this time for wine and dinner. Both times we had excellent service and an enjoyable time. For a quiet dinner, with enjoyable music, go on a weeknight and ask to sit down stairs. Seasonal tapas selections provided a good variety of choices and at a reasonable price. The fish tacos, the Cornish hen with risotto and the curry muscles were our favorites. (the fries were very tasty as well). The wine list provided a nice set of choices and won't break the bank. Just a couple of nice experiences and we look forward to going back again."
    Dined on 11/18/2013
  • "The food was excellent! The owner was present and helpful. Out waitress forgot about us. We will go back and definetly order the vegetarian meatballs with spaghetti squash."
    Dined on 11/16/2013
  • "For the 2nd time we purchased a tasting menu for 2 voucher and while the food was good, we didn't feel it was as good as the first time, but that won't stop us from going back. Our waitress was terrific and the wine parings were nice."
    Dined on 11/15/2013
  • "We made last minute arrangements to go to dinner with another family. Tolani was able to seat us at a reasonable hour. The waiter was friendly and helpful and then the owner Stanton came to greet us. He made wonderful suggestions, helped us pick an amazing wine and took our order. Everything was delicious and we had a wonderful evening. We have eaten there many times before but this evening was especially wonderful. Thank you Stanton."
    Dined on 11/9/2013
  • "We used a living social coupon here, and it was well worth it. We had a 6 course dinner with wine pairing and everything was very good! The service was great and the wine they paired the meals with was perfect. We sat down downstairs which is a small romantic area to sit in. Great place for a date!"
    Dined on 10/26/2013
  • "My husband and I did the 6 course tasting menu with wine pairings and it was great! The food was delicious and the wine complimented each meal. I also forgot my phone on the table when we left and the restaurant contacted me via opentable and I was able to get it back. Thank you for that! We will definitely be back to Tolani"
    Dined on 11/1/2013
  • "We chose Tolani for our first night out after baby destination and we're happy we did. Great food (the farro was Italy in a bite), lively but quiet enough for conversation (downstairs, upstairs by the bar would be challenging)."
    Dined on 11/2/2013
  • "Each small plate was well prepared and excellent...not fit, however, for a big, hungry man, my husband. Unless, that is, the man has deep pockets...you'd need many small plates to feel satisfied. Two for one drinks at Happy Hour were a good deal...any wine that you ordered."
    Dined on 10/31/2013