L'estudio Is NYC's Hottest New Café

This hybrid ceramic shop-café has everyone abuzz

It's a restaurant, it's a ceramic shop and it's New York City's buzziest new café.

Located on the Lower East Side, L'estudio is the latest spot to join the all-day restaurant trend. But there's more than a versatile menu to hold your focus here. As you finish your roasted pineapple-topped chia pudding, you'll reveal the unique ceramic bowl that was made right next door.

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The café is a magical coupling of chef/artist Fernando Aciar and Alejandro Alcocer, two longtime vets of the New York restaurant scene. Aciar, who was trained by Francis Mallmann at just 18 years old, runs the popular O Cafe in the West Village. And Alcocer owned the wildly beloved Brown—which occupied the space before L'estudio opened—and has been working as a successful caterer since it closed.

Joel Viehland, a seasoned chef who's cooked everywhere from Noma to small-town Connecticut, was brought on to spearhead the kitchen team and create the opening menu, which he says is all about "modern takes on healthy classics."

Yes, there's the requisite list of health-forward toasts, like hearty miche topped with Greek yogurt, honey, pumpkin seeds and a refreshing dose of orange zest. But O Cafe's Brazilian and Argentine roots still run deep in dishes like the pao de queijo and flan, which arrives floating on a bed of silky dulce de leche.

Then there's the bowl of avocado, soft egg, pumpkin seed spread and toast points that reads like deconstructed avocado toast. It's an innovative twist on a neo-standby, and you'd definitely be mistaken to glaze over it.

You may have already encountered Aciar's work at big-name local restaurants like Contra, Wildair, Momofuku Nishi and De Maria. He's been making ceramics for three years as part of Fefo Studio, and with his clean, uniquely textured creations, it's clear to see why chefs are taking notice. Our favorites are the ceramic coffee mugs, complete with indentations that make you feel like your coffee was made for your hand.

"They had this great synergy right from the beginning," Viehland says of Alcocer and Aciar. L'estudio will be opening for dinner soon, but until then, join the crowds who (rightfully) can't get enough. Just make sure to get there early.