The first thing you'll notice at Gardenia, a new Mediterranean-Latin restaurant that opened on Downing Street in the West Village, are the plants. They're everywhere, in tiny pots on top of the bar, reaching skyward from large planters on the floor, and dangling down from a skylight in the ceiling. They're even growing out of the bicycle basket parked outside, just one of many fun accent pieces that make up the restaurant's design aesthetic, which fuses painted tile, pottery and even a motorbike helmet seamlessly.

As the restaurant's inspirations are divided by thousands of miles and an ocean, chef Mario Hernandez has to do some blending as well. That's how he comes up with dishes like Day Boat Scallop ($16) with tabbouleh, salsa and avocado; Roasted Wild Mushrooms ($14) with chmichurri and grilled halloumi cheese; and Catalan Noodles Paella ($28), studded with chorizo, black kale, rock shrimp, saffron broth and a chipotle aioli.

Restaurateur Jorge Guzman who also recently opened Black Ant in the East Village, has created the cocktail list himself, including a selection of margaritas—try the Lavendar ($12)—plus riffs on the Negroni, Spritz, Mojito and Caipirinha. For dessert, pastry chef Cesar Moreno takes over, turning out not-too-sweet treats like a Dark Chocolate and Olive Pot de Creme ($11) and a Strawberry Balsamic Tart ($10).

64 Downing Street, (212)-604-0500

Gardenia Menu