Local restaurants Keltic Star, Della Voce feature unique atmospheres, culinary choices

Jed Barker | Collegian Courtney Ortiz, senior in interior design, enjoys the aroma of a glass of Venetian Moonlight martini at Della Voce, an Italian restaurant in downtown Manhattan. The Venetian Moonlight is a mixture of raspberry vodka, white cranberry juice, and sparkling wine and costs $8.

The Manhattan bar district has been serving thirsty university students and city residents for more than 100 years. Currently, Manhattanites and students who are 21 and older can spend their free time and much needed breaks at these fine establishments.

One of the best parts aspects of the various Aggieville restaurants and bars is the different experiences each can offer. Those who are regulars at their favorite bars routinely know when to go and what to order, whether that’s a Blue Moon from Porter’s on Taco Thursday or the L.A.X. bomb from Eighteen63, one of the establishment’s signature drinks.

Kansas natives and visitors looking for non-traditional culinary experiences can also look to Aggieville for local restaurants/bars that cater to exotic tastes.

One of Aggieville’s newest attractions is the recently opened Keltic Star. Located on Moro Street between Rusty’s and Bluestem Bistro, Keltic Star is a British pub with a strong dash of Wildcat spirit mixed in.

Opened on Jan. 18, Keltic Star has a unique atmosphere unlike any other bar in Aggieville with low cool lighting and traditional music.

Molly Reilly, senior in family studies and human services, was a bit surprised during her first visit.

“I went there to get drinks after work,” Riley said. “The environment was
relaxed, but at the same time I felt a little culture shocked because I’ve never been to that style of bar.”

Along with her group of friends, Reilly has visited the Keltic Star on several occasions. She said she can recall having great times there, especially taking pictures inside the English-style phone booth and sitting next to the fireplace.

Though Reilly has yet to have a meal at the Keltic Star, she said she has heard that its food boasts unique flavors and large portions.

“I never had their food, but I hear its pretty good,” Reilly said. “I’ve stopped there for lunch once to meet one of my girlfriends. I saw that she was having fish and chips and all I can remember was how great the food looked.”

Keltic Star manager Darren McCall said the inspiration behind the idea of the pub came from its owners, who are from Wales.

“You just can’t find anything like this in Manhattan,” McCall said.

Keltic Star features a large selection of beer and liquor to serve alongside traditional British pub entrees.

One of the most daring plates Keltic Star offers is known as the Braveheart. It’s a burger topped with bangers, bacon, ham, swiss and cheddar cheese that can weigh up to one pound depending on the portions of meat ordered.

The pub’s signature drink, the Lager in Black, is a lager beer with black currant syrup added, which gives the beer a fruity berry flavor.

McCall said he knows that the style and atmosphere are what keeps people coming back.

“We have lots of regulars that are here three or four times a week,” McCall said. “Our busiest nights are Friday and Saturday nights for dinner. It’s a great place to come and socialize.”

Another unique local restaurant is Della Voce, located in downtown Manhattan. Della Voce opened its doors nearly six years ago in October of 2007 and has received praise from both locals and visitors ever since.

Della Voce is an Italian-inspired restaurant with an East Coast flare that gives it a trendy upscale look and feel. The restaurant might look intimidating to some, but Della Voce offers a wide range of dinner items and drinks that may surprise new visitors.

Rachel Sachdeva, senior in family studies and human services, said she was delighted with her first experience at Della Voce.

“Living in Kansas, you would never expect a restaurant like Della Voce, especially in a small town,” Sachdeva said.

Sachdeva visited Della Voce for the first time recently for their weekly special, $5 martini night.

“It felt like I was in New York City or Boston. Their martinis were incredible,” Sachdeva said. “The best part about Della Voce was definitely the martinis. There were so many to pick from that I just started at the top of the list.”

Della Voce’s martini night is a great attraction for students, professors and Manhattan community members alike who are 21 and older. Della Voce caters their martini menu according to the seasons and has recently added a few that are great for the fall season.

Noah Reagan, owner and general manager of Della Voce, has had numerous martinis come and go on the menu, but there are a select few that have remained since the restaurant’s opening.

“We’ve had a couple of martinis we’ve had since we started, but, after six years, you get a core feeling of what martinis are good,” Reagan said. “If I would have to pick one martini [people should try], I would say the Venetian Moonlight. People that have been coming here for five years now. [We know] that when they come in, that’s what their having. The Venetian Moonlight is a signature piece to our menu. It has raspberry vodka, white cranberry juice and sparkling wine.”

Della Voce also offers a number of beers that would make a beer fanatic’s taste buds water.

“I got more into craft beers now, but even though they can be $7 to $10 a glass, the real enthusiasts in town are drawn and enjoy the fact they can get it here,” Reagan said.

Reagan has also developed a menu that is very well priced for those who want to come into Della Voce and just enjoy some fine foods. Called the Tapas menu, it contains many items for less than $10.

The Cuban Wonton tacos are a very popular item. They are made with spicy pulled pork, capicola, romaine and sriracha remoulade.

Della Voce also has a full dinner menu and serves Sunday brunch with a side of live jazz music.

If you are looking for a change of scene, Della Voce and the Keltic Star are just two examples of local restaurants that cater to more exotic tastes. There are many other restaurants in Manhattan that can offer new flavors and experiences.