2/29/08

Star Wars... according to a 3-year-old.

2/26/08

Spanish Restaurants and Tapas Bars in New York City

My fiancee and I have been on a mission lately to try and find some of the best tapas restaurants in New York City. We've eaten at some great restaurants such as Degustation and El Pote but we're always looking for more. Recently a French/Moroccan tapas restaurant opened in our neighborhood called Casaville and it's really fantastic. We're already gone on two double dates there with other couples.

Tapas restaurants are great because it allows you to try a little of everything. At regular restaurants, the pressure is on to pick a dish and hope that you picked the right thing. With tapas? pick a bunch and try a little of everything. We also love seafood paella so what better place to get a great seafood paella than at a spanish restaurant!? (El Pote has an awesome seafood paella).

This weekend we celebrated the Fiancee's birthday and of course I was searching for a new tapas restaurant to try. A friend recommended Cafe Espanol in the west village so on Saturday night we ventured out to give it a try. Rarely disappointed with good spanish tapas, of course we had another lovely dinner and enjoyed every second of it.

And this morning I received a great instant message from the same friend who recommend Cafe Espanol and life got a lot easier lol. SpanishNewYork.com has a great page on its site dedicated to recommending the best Spanish food New York city has to offer and so far the recommendations look pretty legit. Sure there's always menupages, but it's gotten increasingly hard to trust the reviews of my fellow New Yorkers. So now with a new list under my belt, I think I know where our next few dinners will take place.

Their rating system is based on diamonds, 5 being the best. Check out the link above for all of the reviews. Below are some of their favorites:

Top 5 Spanish Restaurants in New York
:

Kaña Tables outside, great food, great service, dancing at night, fun.

Ñ Live Flamenco on Wednesdays, good for couples, a night to talk, relax, eat, conversation. Only has two tables.

Pintxos Good for families, pretty, and great food.

Pipa Tables outside, excellent food, great service, best decor.

Xunta Noisy, 20-40 year olds, like a party, fun, groups, drink, happy hour, lively. Live Flamenco. EXCELLENT FOOD.

Other Top Picks:


1492
60 Clinton Street, New York
(646) 654-1114
Decor: Romantic and candle lit with thick wood furniture, very comfortable ambience. Smoking is allowed. There is also an outdoor patio. Food: Generous portions of delicious tapas. Try the tuna empanadas, grilled vegetables, dates with bacon and almonds and the ham or mushroom croquettes and the profiteroles for dessert. Excellent service. Prices: $7-10 for tapas. Image for Spanish restaurants and tapas barsImage for Spanish restaurants and tapas barsImage for Spanish restaurants and tapas barsImage for Spanish restaurants and tapas bars

Cafe Riazor
245 West 16th Street, New York
(212) 727-2132
Decor: Music and TV aren't so great, and the décor is old, but the people are happy, warm, and talk to you like family. Food: The food is fresh, the tortilla espanola is out of sight, and the tapas are in unique sauces. American Express only. Prices: $18-$30 and $6-9 for tapa Image for Spanish restaurants and tapas barsImage for Spanish restaurants and tapas barsImage for Spanish restaurants and tapas barsImage for Spanish restaurants and tapas bars

Casa Mono
52 Irving Pl. Street, New York
(212) 253-2773
Decor: A tiny Spanish restaurant where you can watch as the chef prepares the delicious fresh tapas right at the wooden bar/counter. You may have to wait for a table. Food: Owner Mario Bataglia from the Food Network on TV can make Spanish food as well as he makes Italian food. Everything is small, but delicious. Try the bacalao croquetas, sweetbreads with fennel, wild boar, pulpo, it's all superb! Prices: $8-14/tapa Image for Spanish restaurants and tapas barsImage for Spanish restaurants and tapas barsImage for Spanish restaurants and tapas barsImage for Spanish restaurants and tapas barsImage for Spanish restaurants and tapas bars

Costa del Sol
369 West 50th Street, New York
(212) 541-8382
Decor: Diner-like, clean, plain. Large enough for a party. Food: The owner (Antonio) is a real character from Galicia. The empanada gallega is authentic (order in advance). The tapas are large portions. The seafood and sauces are fresh and delicious. Try the tortilla, mussels, shrimp, chorizo, and flan. Prices: $6-10 for tapa but there is a parking voucher also. Image for Spanish restaurants and tapas barsImage for Spanish restaurants and tapas barsImage for Spanish restaurants and tapas barsImage for Spanish restaurants and tapas bars

El Charro Espanol
4 Charles Street, New York
(212) 243-5413
Decor: Small Spanish spot, with low ceilings and ancient red banquettes, its walls appointed with spread costume fans, painted plates and wine bottles. Food: broiled Spanish-style sausages, octopus with olive oil and hot paprika, gazpacho, saffron paella, and veal with almond sauce. A pitcher of sangria is just the thing to wash it all down. Prices: $16-$25 Image for Spanish restaurants and tapas barsImage for Spanish restaurants and tapas barsImage for Spanish restaurants and tapas barsImage for Spanish restaurants and tapas bars

Gitana
249 Columbus Avenue, New York
(212) 579-9929
Decor: Warm and comfortable with a small bar that allows smoking
Food: Everything on the menu is delicious. Try the empanadas, chorizo, cheese plates, and asparagus. The desserts, food preparation, and service are excellent.
Prices: $5-$9 for tapas. Image for Spanish restaurants and tapas barsImage for Spanish restaurants and tapas barsImage for Spanish restaurants and tapas barsImage for Spanish restaurants and tapas barsImage for Spanish restaurants and tapas bars

Helena's
432 Lafayette Street, New York
(212) 677-5151
Decor: funky, artsy, huge restaurant with an outdoor patio. Service needs improvement, but the place attracts lots of young Manhattanites. Downstairs is a lively bar and seating area, and upstairs is more sedate. The service is not efficient and unprofessional. Food: The food is not spectacular, but the place is fun . There are many tapas to choose from. Prices are cheap, and there is a DJ. Prices: $3.50-$9, Tapas. Image for Spanish restaurants and tapas barsImage for Spanish restaurants and tapas barsImage for Spanish restaurants and tapas barsImage for Spanish restaurants and tapas bars

Kaña Tapas Bar
324 Spring Street, New York
(212) 343-8180
Decor: Decor: Dark brick walls and candlelit. A fun, cool bar and restaurant that is packed. There are tables outside. A good place for couples or singles. On weekend nights, after 11 PM they move the tables and everyone dances until 4 AM. Great place for a date or to meet someone. Food: is excellent. The tapas are rich, tasty, and keep you coming back. Try the empanadas. Service is friendly, fast, and professional. Prices are average. Prices: $3.50-$9, Tapas. Image for Spanish restaurants and tapas barsImage for Spanish restaurants and tapas barsImage for Spanish restaurants and tapas barsImage for Spanish restaurants and tapas barsImage for Spanish restaurants and tapas bars

La Paella East
214 East 9th Street, New York
(212) 598-4321
Decor: Valencian classic, with bouquets of dried roses. Two comfortable floors, one with a nice bar. Food: Try the selection of different tapas, pinchos de cordero (small lamb skewers) Spanish omelet, and sample of Basque cheeses, served with slices of apple. Prices: $15-$20 Image for Spanish restaurants and tapas barsImage for Spanish restaurants and tapas barsImage for Spanish restaurants and tapas barsImage for Spanish restaurants and tapas bars

Malaga
406 East 73rd Street, New York
(212) 737-7659
Decor: Smoky paintings of flamenco dancers and bullfighters, lanterns and Spanish artifacts. Food: Mixed seafood with green sauce, grilled shrimp in the shell, grilled veal with a touch of garlic and wine, and chicken with a hot garlic sauce. The specialty of the house is broiled butterflied lobster with seafood stuffing, and pitchers of sangria make everybody happy. Prices: $16-$30 Image for Spanish restaurants and tapas barsImage for Spanish restaurants and tapas barsImage for Spanish restaurants and tapas barsImage for Spanish restaurants and tapas bars

Ñ 33 Crosby
33 Crosby Street, New York
(212) 219-8856
Decor: Tiny, intimate, romantic and cave-like. Great live flamenco on Wednesday nights and jazz CDs on other nights. Beautiful bathroom, too. Food: The food is fabulous. The chef is a real chef. I've eaten everything on the menu and each plate is better than the one before. Good selection, fast service. Try a cheap wine. Prices: $3.50-$8, Tapas. Image for Spanish restaurants and tapas barsImage for Spanish restaurants and tapas barsImage for Spanish restaurants and tapas barsImage for Spanish restaurants and tapas bars

Pintxos
510 Greenwich Street, New York
(212) 343-9923
Decor: Simple, tasteful, and pretty. A quiet and relaxing dinner. Food: Salad, tapas, drinks, and desserts are all outstanding. Eat to your heart's content. Cheapest bottle of red wine is terrific. Wonderful tastes to please your palate. Prices: $3.50-$8, Tapas. Image for Spanish restaurants and tapas barsImage for Spanish restaurants and tapas barsImage for Spanish restaurants and tapas barsImage for Spanish restaurants and tapas bars

Pipa
38 East 19th Street, New York
(212) 677-2233
Decor: When the helpful folks at Pipa sit you down in their darkly sensuous surroundings, next to the slightly brighter, inviting bar space, you know you are in for a treat. The decor is muted when quiet is called for and extravagant when subtlety would be condescension. Food: The food arrives as pleasingly presented and luxuriously textured as the multi-hued, broken-tile tables. Rich with regional tastes one expects, but rarely receives, in a high-end tapas restaurant. The aromatic piquancy of the cheese plate blends perfectly with the tang of masterfully prepared chicken liver. Sweet fruit accents enhance the sea-saltiness of skillfully prepared meat dishes. The flatbreads, bruschettas by any other name, are as good as their mixed ingredients indicate. Desserts are prepared with a delightfully restrained sweetness. Prices: The price, exactly as one would expect, is high. Design, good service, and excellent food rarely come cheap. At least you get what you pay for. Prices: $6-$12, Tapas. Image for Spanish restaurants and tapas barsImage for Spanish restaurants and tapas barsImage for Spanish restaurants and tapas barsImage for Spanish restaurants and tapas barsImage for Spanish restaurants and tapas bars

Rio Mar
7 Ninth Avenue, New York
(212) 243-9015
Decor: Galician authenticity. The bar is a great place to go for a pitcher of intoxicating, sangria, especially if the serenading guitarist happens to drop by. Food: The garlic and kale soup is a winning appetizer, while regional standouts include the shellfish platters and the paella, both of which are served in industrial-sized metal pots. It's nearly impossible to walk away hungry or without a bag full of leftovers. Prices: $15-$25 Image for Spanish restaurants and tapas barsImage for Spanish restaurants and tapas barsImage for Spanish restaurants and tapas barsImage for Spanish restaurants and tapas bars

Sala
344 Bowery, New York
(212) 979-6606
Decor: Dark, rustic, Madrid-style eatery in the heart of NoHo. Food: Fruity pitchers of sangria and the tidbits of food. Plates of pinchos (small bites served by the piece, such as chorizo frito), raciones (appetizers like ham croquettes and garlic shrimp), and platos (main dishes including paella, roasted baby lamb, and skewered monkfish. In addition, there are homemade desserts and a list of well-priced Spanish wines. Prices: $9-$20 Image for Spanish restaurants and tapas barsImage for Spanish restaurants and tapas barsImage for Spanish restaurants and tapas barsImage for Spanish restaurants and tapas bars

Sevilla
62 Charles Street, New York
(212) 243-9513
Decor: Dark and evocative, there are huge red booths, Tiffany-style lamps, chandeliers of black lanterns and Spanish paintings on the walls. Food: Garlic soup, chicken in hot garlic sauce, seafood paella and lots of shellfish dishes pull in a mixed crowd of Asians, Brazilians and tourists looking for a slice of old New York. The sangria is said to be the best in town. Prices: $16-$30 Image for Spanish restaurants and tapas barsImage for Spanish restaurants and tapas barsImage for Spanish restaurants and tapas barsImage for Spanish restaurants and tapas bars

Tasca
130 7th Avenue South, New York
(212) 620-6815
Decor: This new addition to the Village is crowded with a lively, informal scene of single women, (don't know where the single men were) people on dates, and loud club music. Come early for a window seat.
Food: Pure, strong, fresh, delicious flavors. The service was excellent, although the waitress didn't know a word of Spanish. They even give free hummus with pita bread and olives while you wait. Everything we tried was great, which included solomillo, mejillones, chorizo e higos, pulpo a la gallega, and zanahorias tapena. The croquetas were ok.
Prices: $ 10/tapa Image for Spanish restaurants and tapas barsImage for Spanish restaurants and tapas barsImage for Spanish restaurants and tapas barsImage for Spanish restaurants and tapas barsImage for Spanish restaurants and tapas bars

Xunta
174 First Avenue, New York
(212) 614-0620
Decor: Blue lights- young 20-40 year old crowd. Real Spanish people, sometimes live flamenco music (call for which day and for reservations) and the best tapas. The tables are barrels, but there are a few wooden picnic tables in the back. It is my favorite tapas bar. Food: The bread is delicious, there are about forty delectable tapas to choose from. They are juicy, spicy, fresh, and fun. Try as many as you can stuff in. Very cheap. Prices: $3.50-$7, Tapas. Image for Spanish restaurants and tapas barsImage for Spanish restaurants and tapas barsImage for Spanish restaurants and tapas barsImage for Spanish restaurants and tapas barsImage for Spanish restaurants and tapas bars

Have you eaten at any of these restaurants? Leave a comment and let us know what you thought. Of course there are probably tons of other great spanish/tapas places in NYC but here's a few that we'll definitely be trying out soon.