After postponing their planned March 2020 opening for nearly a year, Fandi Mata (73 Bayard) will open on Friday, January 22. The restaurant focuses on Mediterranean-inspired global share plates, plus cocktails, with a menu led by Spanish chef Javiar Vazquez Marino, and alum of Chicago’s Alinea Group.

Fandi Mata, which means “to connect” in Romani, officially lives in a 7,000-square-foot multi-level multi-use space. Due to pandemic restrictions, the restaurant will celebrate its grand opening in a streetside heated pergola which seats up to 38 guests.

“I think everyone’s starving to connect right now,” said Doni Digiovanni, director of operations at Fandi Mata. He’s excited to finally see the concept come to life, beyond the takeout the restaurant has been offering the past few weeks. Out of the thirteen restaurants he’s opened in his two-decade-long hospitality career, this one has certainly been the most challenging.

“It’s hard for takeout to be our first impression to people, we’re an elevated concept,” Digiovanni said. “There’s nothing like eating in house.” Fandi Mata’s menu includes an extensive range of spreads ($4-$6), small plates ($9-$21), panini ($13), flatbreads ($7-$22), and entrees ($22-$69) including homemade pastas and a 22 oz bone-in ribeye.

For opening night, Fandi Mata’s outdoor dining reservations filled quickly. Passersby can also shop from two pop-ups inside Fandi Mata – Floresta, a florist, and Dyphor, a global antique shop.


In the upcoming weeks, Fandi Mata plans to launch brunch service, as well as special activations, like a tasting menu through the Mediterranean. Because even if we can’t travel the world right now, we can at least eat outstanding food in our own backyard. “Our team is completely dedicated to creating a safe experience, so everyone is comfortable,” Digiovanni said. “Right now, we need to the support of the community more than anything.

Fandi Mata is open Wednesday- Sunday, 4 p.m. – 10 p.m. Happy Hour runs from 4 – 6 p.m. for select cocktails, wines and light bites. Reservations are available via Resy.

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