NINA, situated at 56 Adams Street– directly across the street from Brooklyn Flea and steps away from the popular photo area of the Manhattan Bridge – is set to open on November 30, 2023. Israeli Chef Sagi Azrouel will helm the kitchen, making his New York restaurant debut after spending the last 10 years as a private chef to some of the world’s most sophisticated, and health-conscious clients.

Restaurateur Anna Castellani Returns to Former Foragers Space in Dumbo with New Restaurant and Chef

NINA will offer all-day dining and a nightlife experience to neighborhood residents, New Yorkers from all five boroughs and tourists. Azrouel, who was born and raised in Ashdod, a city that lies along the Mediterranean coast of Israel, learned to cook from his mother. Inspired by both her Moroccan kitchen and the burgeoning Israeli chef scene, he began working in restaurants as a 13-year-old dishwasher, working his way up to running a kitchen by age 18. After serving in the Israeli Army, he ventured to New York City and spent 10 years as a personal chef. The 31-year-old Azrouel describes his style of cooking as “simple, unforgettable modern Mediterranean food,” focusing on fresh, seasonal vegetables, colorful salads and meticulously prepared fish and meats all beautifully presented. “I believe you eat with your eyes and scent first and then, of course, the taste” said Azrouel who brings a sharp sense of style to his cooking. “I care for every little detail but mostly the taste. Cooking is my love language and hosting is in my blood. I believe each person will feel at home.”


“Chef Azrouel represents the energy and inclusivity of a younger, more worldly generation, and mirrors the residents of the DUMBO neighborhood,” says one of the owners, Anna Castellani. “His experience as a personal chef also allows him to present a menu that speaks to everyday dining needs. We want Nina to be a delicious every day, affordable option. We are delighted to have him on our team.”


As for what to expect from NINA’s menu, Chef Azrouel emphasizes vibrant color, simple ingredients and healthfulness. Staples of his menus are flavorful, unforgettable dishes focused on vibrant salads, seasonal vegetables, breads and thoughtfully prepared fish and meats. Some of his unique dishes include smoked eggplant carpaccio, tahini fish kababs, traditional meat stews, warm challah, and toasted pine nut hummus. The restaurant will also serve homemade breads and pastas. “NINA will be a feast for all the senses,” says Azrouel.

The 162-seat NINA is comprised of pockets of comfortable “little living rooms” where close tables allow for group dining, cozy conversations, and getting to know your neighbors. There is dining in the front of the restaurant and at the bar. The main dining room and another large bar are in the back room. A beautiful custom sound system being flown in from Israel will fill the room with mellow beats throughout the day. Floor-to-ceiling windows bathe the restaurant in daylight and allow for excellent people watching as they stroll along the cobble stone streets of the neighborhood. NINA will open offering dinner at 5pm followed by a late-night bar scene with a smaller menu. The restaurant will eventually introduce breakfast, lunch and vinyl brunch. “We want to create a place where everyone feels welcome, from the busy business crowd stopping by to grab breakfast on their way to work, to young families looking for a relaxing place to grab an easy dinner, and to the lively nighttime crowd,” says Castellani.

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Castellani’s roots run deep in the DUMBO neighborhood, having opened her first Brooklyn business – the DUMBO General Store – just two doors down from NINA. The store opened with art supplies, hand-made items from local artisans and neighborhood necessities like stamps. Castellani says it was when she installed an espresso machine so she could enjoy good coffee that she became a restauranteur, gradually adding food and cocktails to the offerings. When asked why she decided to open NINA, in the former Foragers space she ran for 16 years, she explains, “It is the same impulse that got me started with both the General Store and Foragers, I felt, as a DUMBO resident, that there was a need to fill. The neighborhood has changed so much but what hasn’t changed is the need for more real neighborhood places to eat.  I hope we complement our neighbor restaurants and give DUMBO residents and visitors alike another excellent reason to stay in the neighborhood for dinner.”


NINA will be open Tuesday through Sunday from 5pm until 1am and is located at 56 Adams Street, Brooklyn.  Reservations can be made via Resy.