First Look: The New AQ Kafe


The new AQ Kafe opened today on Broadway btw. 58th Street and Central Park, and as promised they were giving out free coffee to anybody willing to wait in the line and order it from the cashier.  I didn’t feel like waiting for coffee (free food, now that would have been a different story) but I did take a look at the menu. 

The menu was posted awhile back (without prices) and as expected everything is more expensive than it was at the original location.  Old favorites make a return, like the gravlax club (although it’s now $12) and the smorgasbord (which is now $13), but there are 3 sandwiches all for under $10 which sound pretty great to me- like the meatball on a potato roll with lingonberries.  And for those who were worried that the “Nordic Cuban” is gone, it’s not- they’re just calling it a “Ham & Cheese” sandwich now. 

Links to the menu, plus your first look inside, after the jump… 

First Look: AQ Kafe

One of the big additions to the old space… a bakery up front, with breads, pastries and other goodies.

First Look: AQ Kafe

They also have assorted AQ Kafe products, like preserves and honey.

First Look: AQ Kafe

Unfortunately, unlike the original- the seating is for eating in only, with service (which requires a tip, and increases the cost of lunch), but unlike places like Le Pain Quotidien, the order in menu is not more expensive than the take out menu. It’s the same price no matter where you order your food.

All in all they’ve done a real nice job, and the menu looks great. If the food is just as good as the original, I think they’re going to do gang busters in this location. Sure, it’s a little on the expensive side- but not so much that it would be ruled out as a good Midtown Lunch.  Full food report to come soon. Early adopters feel free to comment below.

Here’s a copy of the full AQ Kafe Breakfast and Lunch Menu, and here is the pastry and coffee menu.


  • Are there bialys OTHER THAN onion bialys? In a long life of eating many Bialystoker rolls, I have never seen one without the depression filled with poppyseeds and onions.


  • This looks like an exact rip-off of a Le Pain Quotidien — how do they get away with this?

  • Ate there yesterday/opening day. Not sure why but I ordered the ceasar w/ chicken. With tax about $10. Good dressing, but WAY too expensive, plus there was maybe an ounce (at best) of chicken in the whole thing…

  • I ate there on Tuesday — it was great. I had a salmon plate which was outstanding. Smoked salmon and gravlox with mustard sauce, sour cream and red onion. That cost about $10.50 which is a real value . It came with several kinds of bread which is made in house. A great meal for under $15 with tip. Service was good and staff very friendly. I went back on Friday for dinner. I had hot tomato and cheese soup (with a touch of wine) which was fab!that cost $4.50 or so and with the same great bread was a meal. I had to try the sweedish meatballs. They too were great. To the person who said this is a rip off of Le Pain — I say No Way! The food is much much better. That’s probably to be expected when a famous 5 star cheff (Marcus Samuelsson) is a partner.

  • Went for lunch on Friday. I was there for 2 hours!!! Who has that time to waste? It was without a doubt, the WORST SERVICE I have ever had, in my life. The focus and energy have all been committed to the kitchen, and none has been given to the floor. One manager roams around on the floor in sneakers and an untucked, wrinkled shirt, talking on his cell phone, looking lost, and another sits down with VIPs, ignoring the “normal” guests like myself. With the current state of the economy, restaurants need to appreciate their guests more, and shower them with the attention they deserve. Otherwise, why return? I would advise anyone to skip this place for sure.

  • I also went there for lunch on Friday. I had the opposite experience from Erica. I thought it was very good and will go back again. It is a nice addition to the neighborhood. The shrimp salad sandwich was great. Good coffee and deserts too.

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