The space that housed St. Marks staple Yaffa Cafe, which closed in 2014, has reopened as Taberna 97, a "traditional Portuguese restaurant" from the owners of Irish pub St. Dymphna's down the block. As was prophesied, this means a selection of petiscos, the Portuguese version of tapas.
Flaming crocks of sausages, cod fritters and clams in garlic and wine are a few of the snack options, ranging in price from $6 to $21. Owners had previously talked up the caldo verde, a typical soup made with potatoes and collard greens, and it's indeed on the menu here. Entrees include a seafood rice, grilled sardines with roasted peppers, and piri piri-marinated chicken.
As you can see, the kitschy decorations and eye-grabbing wallpaper have made way for a pretty if plain dining room, with exposed brick and rafters, tile floors and a muted color scheme. Not a speck of zebra print in the place. The contested back yard area—which was mostly to blame for Yaffa's shutter—will be purely decorative, meant for "[enjoyment] from inside our space," owners told EV Grieve.
97 St. Marks Place, 212-477-5600; taberna97