Inside SONA, The Fancy New Indian Eatery That Counts Priyanka Chopra Jonas As A Collaborator

by Stephanie Maida · April 1, 2021

    After a year of takeout, New Yorkers are finally ready to get dressed up for dinner again. And it seems there's no better spot to step out in style than SONA, a new fine dining destination which highlights the flavors and glamour of India. 

    While there's no question that Manhattan is home to plenty of bucket list-worthy Indian eateries, entrepreneur Maneesh Goyal was driven to present his own take on the culinary experience, inspired by his parents' groundbreaking restaurant in Dallas in the 1970s. 

    "[It's] what he wished existed when people would ask 'Where should we go for Indian?'" says David Rabin, Goyal's partner in the venture and the industry guru behind some of our other favorite spots around town, including American Bar, The Lambs Club, and JIMMY at The James.

    The kitchen is helmed by Executive Chef Hari Nayak, who presents a sumptuous menu filled with dishes hailing "from the streets of Mumbai to the beaches of Goa to the charm of Old Delhi," according to Goyal. "SONA’s menu spotlights all that you could ever desire from the subcontinent." And, since you're wondering, the cocktails don't disappoint either. JIMMY's Johnny Swet is the in-house bar consultant behind sips including the Gold Negroni and West Bengal Buck.

    As for Priyanka Chopra Jonas's first foray into the restaurant scene? She worked closely with SONA's interior designer and stylist Melissa Bowers (the former design director for the Miami Beach Faena District) to craft an upscale homage to her homeland through the look and feel of the space. She also acted as a creative collaborator alongside Goyal, who is a personal friend. In an Instagram post sharing news of the opening, the actress revealed that her husband, Nick Jonas, also had a hand in the creative process - he came up with the name! "Hubby came up with the name at an early tasting with the team, as Sona means 'gold,' and he had heard that word in India, well...A LOT, throughout our wedding!""... stroke="none" stroke-width="1" fill="none" fill-rule="evenodd">
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    A post shared by Priyanka Chopra Jonas (@priyankachopra)

    "It's been so great working on this project to help Maneesh realize his dream of creating SONA, and we've been very fortunate to assemble a great team from chef Hari Nayak to designer Melissa Bowers and to get a huge creative assist from Priyanka," says Rabin. "It offers a completely different dining experience and is a bit transportive (but you do know you're in a NYC restaurant)."

    SONA, 36 E 20th St.

    [Photos courtesy SONA]