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Nov 24, 2004 04:16 PM

Tia Pol Disaster

  • h

First of all, Tia Pol is about as wide as a matchbook and was as crowded as a pack of sardines. And after sitting on an uncomfortable stool for 35 minutes in the overcrowded bar (and waiting for a pitcher of sangria which never came!) my boyfriend and I were escorted to a tiny table with a stool drenched in wine, which I unknowingly sat on!! We complained to the waiter who insisted it was water and not white wine despite the fact that both the stool and my pants smelled like white wine. The waiter then took the stool and returned with a new one after about 10 minutes. We ordered the Sangria again, and when the waiter brought it he said it was on the house. That was a good thing because the Sangria was the worst I've ever had in my entire life. I would have hated to pay for something so horrendous. There wasn't one piece of fruit in this "sangria" and what we were given tasted like watered-down KoolAid. I don't know if the sangria always tastes like this or if this was a special concoction created for us because we were loud about our poor treatment. Well the food was decent to good, nothing spectacular, we ordered almost everything on the menu. We were in Spain last summer so we know what tapas should taste like and these were ordinary at best. I don't think we'll ever go back.

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  1. granting that everyone has a different thing they're looking for, and different taste, i disagree with your review..

    ate their recently for my birthday.. we were six and had the (only) booth in the back.. plenty of space and our staff experiences were completely the opposite of yours.. we enjoyed the sangria, drinking a few pitchers amongst our small group..

    i'm impressed that you were able to order "almost everything on the menu" with only two people.. as you're aware, the menu is relatively large, probably consisting of in excess of two dozen dishes.. we hit somewhere between 12 and 15 plates, repeating one or two dishes because we loved them so much..

    NYC tapas bars have a habit of being crowded and cramped.. check out Xunta, El Cid, even La Paella, and you'll see what I mean.. in fact, since you didn't enjoy Tia Pol at all, why not check out the other options and see where they fall in relation to Tia Pol?? you're not in Spain anymore..

    4 Replies
    1. re: jesse

      I find it plausible...not because I've been to Tia Pol (I haven't), but because I am probably the only one on this board to have had horrendous service at Union Square Cafe. We had, what I consider to be the worst waiter/service in NYC despite the history of Danny Meyer's service.

      So with that said...things happen. Chalk it up to a fluke AND lower your expectations a little. Spain and NYC can't compare when it comes to tapas. Just as I wouldn't seek out smoked herring in NYC after having the best of its kind in Kopenhaven.

      1. re: jesse

        "you're not in Spain anymore.."

        And so they have no right to expect great food? You'd NEVER make that comment if someone was complaining about an upscale French restaurant.

        1. re: Dave

          I posted my thoughts about this on the General Topics board, because it was way off subject for Tia Pol where I've never been.

          1. re: Dave

            look- we've bastardized tapas in the US.. in Spain they're served as small accompaniments to drinks.. usually, a place will specialize in one or two things in particular and not have a menu offering over two dozen choices..

            further discussion on Not About Food..

        2. Like you, we were in Spain last summer and have been lusting for tapas since, so have tried several places, none of which will make us forget those we had in Barcelona. But your experience at Tia Pol is sad. I'm sure it was totally colored by the disaster and, yes, I did find the sangria disappointing and watery so ordered wine the last time, which was terrific. They had the wonderful peppers and I've had some delicious tapas there, including a special of sardines the first time we were there. The place is cramped and uncomfortable, but if you go at an off hour and don't sit in muck or order the sangria, you may like it better. The owner is extremely sweet and this is her first place, so I'm sure she'd want to please you if you were to give her a chance. We'd gone to Azafran downtown, liked it the first time, less the second. And there's another tapas place near the UN that was pretty good. But nothing compares to Spain!

          1. I disagree with this review given my personal experiences @ Tia Pol. At least I wouldn't call the place a disaster.

            Service has been great, very attentive in fact, and the food spectacular. And I've been to Spain - yada yada yada - spent a summer there, and some of these items are better or as good as any Spanish tapas spot.

            I still don't understand how people can be so uncomfortable on their stools. I've been there for 2 hours and no problem.

            In the end, to each his own. I'll keep going, taking people, and recommending it. As I've learned in my own experience working in this industry, it's IMPOSSIBLE to please everyone, but at least I know firsthand Tia Pol does very well at providing great food and service.

            1 Reply
            1. re: TP

              well although i have reservations about that post one thing is true and that is the bar stools are bloody uncomfortable and i am not normally one to even notice things like that. also, i just don't see how a person with a purse or bag can sit there on the rather high stools (comfortable or not) holding on to it and enjoy eating at the same time.

              as for sitting on the wine spill, wellll, the bartender spilled a glass of red in my lap---coincidence? hmmm (kidding).

              finally, two people eating everything off the huge menu? come on -- hardly! we could barely get thru three or four items. the menu is huge and what we had was real good.

            2. Granted that we never sat on a drenched seat, we've had nothing but friendly, casual and efficient service at Tia Pol.

              A lot of posters here have been to Spain, too. Some much more than others. Without comparing to what Spain has to offer, my take is that the selection of very good tapas at Tia Pol is such a refreshing addition to the everyday varieties that other tapas place here serve.

              1. Give them a break-it's a small place that's quickly become very popular,and they are first time owners trying to deal with it.We are in New York,not Barcelona,and as a hot dog probably wouldn't be too great there,tapas will never be what it was in Spain.I thought that the food was quite good,yeah the servers needed help,and the bar stools could be more cushy.I could see that they were struggling with the crush of customers,and a green staff.Hopefully,some of the glitches will be weeded out,in due time.