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Aug 17, 2006 06:13 PM

where is LA NACIONAL, the great tapas restaurant everyone speaks of?

it doesn't come up in citysearch or menupages. is this place still open?

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  1. 14th Street between 7th & 8th Avenues -- north side of street -- you'll love it!

      1. I love the atmosphere, and the tapas were excellent, but I found the paella very disappointing. If you want to do a tapas crawl, El Cid is very close, but this might be their vacation period, so you'd want to check.

        I love El Cid, but it doesn't seem to be a chowhound favorite. The scallops with asparagus sauce is not to miss.

        1. It better be open because I am hoping to go there on Labor Day weekend. Anyone know for sure if it will be open? (Please say yes!) It's the best spanish food I have had outside Spain I think. Much more reasonably priced than El Cid although I too used to love that place (it's been a few years since I have eaten there the 1990's)

          1 Reply
          1. re: jcmods

            I meant that El Cid closes for about a month every summer, not La Nacional.

          2. thanks! i live literally on 14th and 7th, and i pass this block daily. i can't believe i've never noticed it. i've also read mixed reviews. some people don't like their tapas, love their paella, Peter is vice versa.

            i do love el cid. just trying out some new things. by the way Peter, despite the low zagat ratings, cafe riazor on 16th btw 7th and 8th is actually really good! their tapas are great, traditional, from galicia (the owners are from the small town of la coruna that i lived in for a few months) and their black squid ink paella was very flavorful. its never packed, the staff is unbelievably nice, i highly recommend it.

            3 Replies
            1. re: jungirl

              La Nacional is very easy to miss. There's no sign, IIRC, maybe just a plaque. Don't miss the boquerones. The tortilla is fantastic too, better than many I had in Spain.

              Though I haven't been to El Faro in some time, they are my favorite NY paella place.

              I went to Riazor many years ago, and I don't remember the food, but it had sort of a gloomy interior. Have they ever renovated?

              1. re: Peter Cherches

                It's been a year since I ate there, but we had Garlic Shrimp, Boquerones, Tortilla, Patatas Bravas, Chicken, Meatballs, Baby Lambchops, Octopus, you name it. All good, and the portions are quite large.

                We got a smallish paella just to to try. It turns out that the single serving of paella is cooked in a single serving cast-iron pan. I think this is probably why it was a bit dry (I was hoping for a portion of a larger paella just spooned onto a plate because I don't care if it sits around a little while...I think it is better that way actually). I can't say, but I have a feeling that the Paella might be better if it is made in a huge pan for several people.

              2. re: jungirl

                Look for steps going down, the location is sort of a ground level basement. There is a small plaque, but that's it.
                Forgot to say that if you're planning to go on a popular night (say Friday, Saturday, etc.) you should make reservations.
                Otherwise you may endup having to wait for a while or be given a too small/wobbly table (like it happened to me.)