New Kid on the Block: Terra

Terra room“I said, ‘No more restaurants!” recalls Tanya Hira Passon about a conversation with her husband, Roberto Passon. She was pregnant at the time, and they already had two restaurants—Aria in the West Village and Briciola in Hell’s Kitchen. “But he fell in love with the space.” Even after all the hard work that has gone into Terra, Roberto looks around and his face lights up.

If you ever went to Franklin Caffé Buon Gusto or 2Spaghi, you may recall how difficult the layout was. But Roberto, who designs and builds his restaurants, managed to make sense of it for Terra, moving the kitchen downstairs, adding a bar-height communal table, and not overstuffing the room with tables. The result is light and comfortable. “I wanted to respect what’s there,” says Roberto. “We took it down, saw what was inside, and built it back up.” His devotion extends as far the area under the banquettes and bar fridges: “Everything floats, and it’s lit from the bottom,” he says, demonstrating the brackets used to hold up the banquettes. “We’ve taken everything we’ve learned so far. At the bar, there are coat hooks every eight inches. And there are power outlets under the communal table, so you can charge your phone.”

Terra is open from 11 a.m. to midnight (2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday). “It’s meant to be a very casual way of eating,” says Roberto. “You come have a glass of wine, order a bite or two, maybe have more wine, then something bigger to eat.” Of course, you can also do the traditional appetizer and entrée: As you can see from the menu, which is the same at lunch and dinner, there are small plates (called cicchetti in Venice), pastas, and entrées. Terra has a full liquor license, along with 26 wines by the glass, quartino, or bottle, as well as a reserve list of 50 more wines by the bottle. All of the wines are Italian, but the devotion to the motherland ends at the beer list; there are 10 beers on tap plus seven craft beers by the bottle.

The restaurant took longer than expected to put together, so it’s a bit of a work-in-progress. Still to come: delivery, a slightly different menu for brunch, outdoor seating for 22, and specials. (“I have to build the sign first,” says Roberto with a sigh.) And downstairs will also have a dining room with one long table, seating around 40. It will serve as overflow dining and as a private-event room. Sit there after 4 p.m. and you’ll be able to watch, through a window into the kitchen, as fresh pasta is made.

Terra is at 222 W. Broadway (at Franklin), 212-625-0900,

Terra table by doorTerra communal tableTerra barTerra two topsTerra doorRecent New Kid on the Block/First Impressions articles:
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  1. Ah, I miss Franklin Station Cafe!

  2. Nostalgia is good, but this looks great. I look forward to trying it.

  3. @noah don’t we all. But check out and support their new joint “aux epices” on baxter!

  4. Nice addition to the neighborhood-wish them the best.
    If you’re missing Franklin Station just go wander on over to

    New place looks nice and casual-wish them good luck. If you’re missing Franklin Station just wander on over to their new place Aux Epices on Baxter Street. Same fantastic warm welcome and atmosphere, same great food !

  5. This is going to be delicious. I love the food at Aria and it looks like the EXACT same menu. Good thing winter is coming because I may put on a few pounds from eating at this place. I wonder if they will have the same pre-fix at Aria.

  6. @Jake I didn’t know they had a new place – definitely going there ASAP!

  7. @Annie same! will go there!

  8. Briciola is a fabulous place, so I am VERY pleased about this news!

  9. Looks very cute.. I’m going over with a friend later today to check it out :)

  10. went in to try the wines on Monday night.. the staff was more than friendly and even gave me a private tour of the space.. looking forward to going back with friends for dinner night .. beautifully done.

  11. Looks good. Will definitely give it a try.