Just in time for the cold winter months, a hot new restaurant helmed by former Felix and The Garret visionaries has recently opened in the heart of New York’s Soho. Boasting warm, tropical vibes, Her Name Was Carmen is a two-story Latin American restaurant that fuses the carefree spirit of South America with modern food and design offering dinner and dancing every night.
“The space is a haven for New Yorkers who appreciate a refined atmosphere perfectly integrated to the beat of a global soundtrack,” says Colombian-born, co-owner Andres Diaz of Felix, who opened the restaurant this month with his partner, Thatcher Shultz of The Garret.
Earlier this year, the nostalgically elegant Primo’s opened in Tribeca where the pricey, but strong cocktails are paired with optics of Italy’s Art Deco scene of the 1920s and ‘30s Riviera. Moving up through Manhattan, and up through the decades, Her Name Was Carmen pays tribute to another moment in cultural history: the modernist wave of ’50s and ‘60s Latin America. Located in prime Soho (527 Broome St.), it is of the niche epicurean restaurants that incorporate design, fare, and lifestyle for the ultimate experience that defines New York nightlife.
Her Name Was Carmen’s first floor is dimly lit, subtle, and electric. Designed by Venezuelan-born Maurizio Bianchi Mattioli, the interiors are absolutely Latin modern. Oceanic blue walls house lapis-hued tables and cerulean velvet banquettes that contrast with imposing black and white tiled floors under them. A sleek modern bar is topped with vases of oversized palm leaves and innovative cocktails that are almost too beautiful to drink. In the kitchen, former Flora Bar chef and Peruvian-born food god, Omar Ben-Hammou whips up elevated Latin American fare with a selection of eclectic seafood dishes.
After dinner, a tropical, yellow mural designed by Simon Vargas lures you to the dance floor downstairs where Music Director, Nacho Isa ensures diversified programming (House Thursdays, Disco Fridays, and Latin Saturdays). Inclusivity is important for Diaz, who wants the space to feel like “a celebration of the never-ending party, vibrancy, and life that embodies New York.”
Diaz began his career as a waiter in the New York City restaurant scene and has become widely known for his Latin parties at Felix and Tropicana events. The opening of his own restaurant was truly a labor of love– an ode to his upbringing in Bogota and his current life in New York– and that love is felt with every bite, sip, and song.
While the design and food alone are enough to satisfy your Instagram urges, it’s the energy that will keep you coming back. Every night of the week, Her Name Was Carmen promises spirited nights inspired by the warmth, ease, and zest for life embedded in South American culture– bringing some much-needed heat to winter in New York.