Nico Kitchen & Bar

A Newark, NJ Restaurant Review

Nico Kitchen & Bar


Nico Kitchen & Bar

One Center Street
New Jersey Performing Arts Center
Newark, NJ 07102
(973) 642-1226




Restaurant Highlights

Fare: New American with Italian Influences

Price: Moderate - Expensive

Food Quality:



Overall Rating:

Note: Four star Rating System from no stars = poor to Four stars = Best in Class

thumbs up One of Newark's top restaurants serving well prepared contemporary, eclectic dishes.

thumbs up Trendy, vibrant, attractive setting.

thumbs upA very convenient place to meet in Newark for drinks and dinner. Especially convenient If you have NJPAC tickets and don't want to park twice. Also short walk to rail service from Newark Penn Station.

thumbs down Large crowds when there is a performance at the NJPAC. During this busy period, expect some lapses in service

Value: Good

Noise Level: Moderate

Dress: Upscale casual

Recommended For: Diners who enjoy good, eclectic food in a trendy downtown setting.

Not Recommended For: Diners who prefer simpler food in a more family oriented casual setting with large portion sizes.

Recommended dishes: When available, Pan Roasted Lamb Loin; Duck Confit; and the Pan Roasted Scallops

Liquor: Full service Bar with 21 wines by the glass, classic cocktails and artisan al beers. Bar scene is vibrant. Happy Hour Monday through Friday, 4PM-7PM


Restaurant Review

Nico Kitchen & Bar, located next door to the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, is a popular fine dining restaurant for diners attending a performance at the NJPAC, for a power lunch during week days, for a high energy happy hour during the week days, and for celebrating a special occasion. It's one of the top upscale and trendy restaurant in Newark.


The restaurant is owned and operated by Culinaire, a Dallas-based company that specializes in restaurants in cultural centers with Christopher Keys serving as the General Manager.


The kitchen staff is guided by consulting chef Ryan DePersio of Fascino restaurant in Montclair and Bar Cara in Bloomfield.


Chef DePersio is a graduate of the New York Restaurant School and honed his culinary skills under the famed David Bouley in NYC, Bill Telepan of the Judson Grill, NYC, Jean-George Vongerichten at Vong & Jean-George, NYC, with short stints in some of the kitchens in France and Italy.


He has teamed up with Todd Allen - Chef de Cuisine a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education in New York., where he later honed his culinary skills at Restaurant Serenade in Chatham and the Trump properties Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla. and Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster. and as Executive Sous Chef at Metuchen Golf and Country Club in Edison and Crestmont Country Club in West Orange. He later served as Chef de Cuisine at Il Pomodoro and Tapastre in Somerville and at The Brass Rail in Hoboken.


While Executive Chef DePersio is away attending to the kitchens of his two other restaurants, .Chef Allen very ably attends to the kitchen at Nico.


Chef DePersio sets out an eclectic Italian menu with an Italian accent. His "Italian Without Borders" menu is a creative and inspiring shared plates (tapas) concept with many contemporary American and Italian dishes.


Nico's decor and ambiance is decidedly modern, upscale and trendy. The interior is very spacious with seating near 250 diners. The main dining area is beautifully done up with high ceilings, warm gold & brown tones, floor-to-ceiling windows, a 12 candle-lit chandelier, and a rectangular communal table with oak planks, a wrought-iron, scaffold-like base and high seating. Burnished bronze and folding panels can be configured to change the shape of the room to fit the setting for an intimate or large event.

The bar area is attractive and inviting with soft lighting and 3 flat-screen TV's.


Preferred seating is at a booth in the front room where you'll get to enjoy dramatic pendant lights and upscale high ceilings.


The service is well trained, attentive and friendly.


During the warmer summer months dining is available on the outdoor patio.

(updated: June, 2015)


How Do We Rate and Review Restaurants? 

New Jersey Leisure Guide contains the largest source of extensive and unbiased New Jersey restaurant reviews. Data is gathered from our viewers e-mail restaurant comments, Internet and print research, and professional restaurant critics. The data is analyzed and a review created. Staff personal visits are sometimes made to corroborate and/or tweak results.

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