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Tapas downtown

ukitali Aug 13, 2008 01:26 PM

My mom is coming into the city this weekend and I'd like to take her to a Tapas place somewhere downtown. Are there are tapas places that are low key, relatively affordable and not super crowded and trendy? Anywhere within walking distance of Union Square would be ideal. Las Ramblas or Tia Pol any good?

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  1. l
    Lucia RE: ukitali Aug 13, 2008 01:29 PM

    Tia Pol is very good. I also like Boqueria and Casa Mono. I haven't been to Las Ramblas, but I've read some good reports. Alta (I've only been for drinks and a cheese plate) is also nearby.

    La Nacional and Socarrat (haven't been, but same family as LN) aren't strictly tapas, but they do have some nice tapas on their menus.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Lucia
      ukitali RE: Lucia Aug 13, 2008 01:38 PM

      I've been to La Nacional and was pretty disappointed. I walk by Casa Mono frequently and it always seems very crowded.

      1. re: ukitali
        Lucia RE: ukitali Aug 13, 2008 01:39 PM

        Casa Mono is crowded--sorry, missed that part of your post. So are Tia Pol and Las Ramblas, though... in fact all my tapas recs are crowded, but I can't think of a good tapas place in the city that wouldn't be crowded over the weekend. All that said, you can make reservations at Casa Mono, unlike some of the others.
        I'm surprised--La Nacional is my favorite paella in the city.

        1. re: ukitali
          JungMann RE: ukitali Aug 14, 2008 06:22 AM

          I'm curious, what did you not like about La Nacional? The food I've had there tasted like home to me.

      2. kcijones001 RE: ukitali Aug 13, 2008 01:46 PM


        3 Replies
        1. re: kcijones001
          KTinNYC RE: kcijones001 Aug 13, 2008 01:50 PM

          The food at Xunta isn't nearly as good as that of the top tier places and there really isn't much low key about the place. It can be fun but it's loud.

          1. re: kcijones001
            ExFlexitarian RE: kcijones001 Aug 19, 2008 08:30 AM

            I'd skip pipa, it's a little overpriced and always over crowded. Try Bar Carrera on 1st Ave. Solex has a great space as well, and recently upgraded their Chef (ex-Chef of Taylor), so it's worth a visit as well.

            1. re: ExFlexitarian
              kathryn RE: ExFlexitarian Oct 22, 2008 07:55 PM

              FYI Fran Darby has left Solex and is now at Momofuku Ssam Bar.

          2. kcijones001 RE: ukitali Aug 13, 2008 01:54 PM

            This is a new one: should have opened last night..not sure if it did, but def by friday:
            Vintage Irving
            118A E. 15th Street; 212-677-6300

            3 Replies
            1. re: kcijones001
              mrwebster RE: kcijones001 Aug 13, 2008 09:27 PM

              lobster bisque which looked like a cappucino with steamed milk (to die for) rice balls,octopus,Homemade Potato Gnocchi. Everything was very good. We had jelly doughnuts for dessert. I think with tip our bill was under $60. I am happy to give this place a positive review. We ended up staying after and going next door to their sister lounge but I forget the name, and of course we were escorted by Zach. Thank you Vintage Irving we will be back

              1. re: mrwebster
                kcijones001 RE: mrwebster Aug 14, 2008 06:40 AM

                mrwebster, you went to vintage irving? Is that where you had the bisque and gnocchi?

                1. re: kcijones001
                  mrwebster RE: kcijones001 Aug 19, 2008 07:19 AM

                  yes Vintage Irving had the BEST Lobster Bisque and Gnocchi

            2. m
              maxandcoco RE: ukitali Aug 13, 2008 03:20 PM

              Another you could try is Sala on 19th Street. I've always found the food, atmosphere and service to be very good.

              1. financialdistrictresident RE: ukitali Aug 13, 2008 03:28 PM

                It's not withing walking distance of Union Square for most, but it is downtown - Rayuela. We went again last weekend.

                4 Replies
                1. re: financialdistrictresident
                  Renguin RE: financialdistrictresident Aug 13, 2008 06:47 PM

                  I'm a rayuela fan but they don't really ahve traditional spanish tapas - more "nuevo latino". I think Sala is solid, possibly walkable from Union Sq. My fav overall for tapas is Las Ramblas. Also like soccarat - their specialty is paella but their tapas are really strong as well. both las ramblas and socarrat are a bit of a squeeze in terms of space, sala is a safer bet if u want to get a place to sit.

                  1. re: Renguin
                    financialdistrictresident RE: Renguin Aug 13, 2008 07:18 PM

                    Thanks, Renguin. Rayuela is definitely Latin/Carribean vs. Spanish. I think the atmosphere would be a good fit for the OP's request. You just reminded me of Mercat. Might be too sceney.

                    1. re: financialdistrictresident
                      ukitali RE: financialdistrictresident Aug 14, 2008 08:22 AM

                      Anyone been to Ostia?

                      1. re: ukitali
                        pace RE: ukitali Aug 16, 2008 05:51 AM

                        Yes, I was about to suggest Ostia. Have been a number of times and always found good food, very friendly service, never too crowded or noisy, plus front wall opens onto sidewalk seating. Not sceney or pricey.

                2. a_and_w RE: ukitali Aug 14, 2008 02:45 PM

                  Alta. The front can get a little crowded by the bar, but the dining room is nicely spaced. You should probably call to make a reservation.

                  1. thew RE: ukitali Aug 14, 2008 03:04 PM

                    Euzkadi on 4th street has some very tasty stuff

                    1. t
                      twinstars RE: ukitali Aug 14, 2008 06:41 PM

                      Sala is fantastic- the food/atmosphere is perfect for a fun night out- the paella is excellent!

                      1. thew RE: ukitali Aug 16, 2008 06:37 AM

                        i went euzkadi again last night. some really good tapas. duck meatballs, jamon wrapped shrimp, patats bravas, some mushroom on crostini thing... yum yum

                        1. z
                          zEli173 RE: ukitali Aug 19, 2008 09:53 AM

                          Stick with your instincts. Tia Pol has some really good stuff, I do recommend it. But Las Ramblas is my favorite tapas place in the city. Lots of tapas places serve good food, but Las Rmablas is the only one I've been to that doesn't try to over-reach on their dishes in the vein of charging 50% more. They serve really good tapas without needlessly gussying up tradition. The space is low key (although crowded and not very comfortable), and the prices are fair. It's the closest I've found to what I had in Spain.

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: zEli173
                            ukitali RE: zEli173 Aug 19, 2008 10:23 AM

                            I ended up going to Las Ramblas. The food was yummy but the Sangria was only so-so. Should have gone with a Spanish red wine. The service was very good and the place is tiny.

                            1. re: ukitali
                              PAULSCOHEN RE: ukitali Oct 22, 2008 05:05 PM

                              i agree the tapas at Las Ramblas are great. Casa Mono in my humble opinion is Mario"s best resto.

                              1. re: PAULSCOHEN
                                Hurner RE: PAULSCOHEN Oct 23, 2008 07:25 AM

                                I do so agree with your humble opinion!

                                1. re: PAULSCOHEN
                                  KTinNYC RE: PAULSCOHEN Oct 23, 2008 07:33 AM

                                  I don't want to quibble but Casa Mono is not Mario's restaurant. It's Andy Nusser's restaurant . Mario is an investor. Just giving credit where credit is due.

                              2. re: zEli173
                                Hurner RE: zEli173 Oct 23, 2008 07:22 AM

                                Warning re: Tia Pol if comfort is an issue. There is no traditional seating. Only high tables and metal bar stools without backs. And unless you are able to arrive before 6:30 be prepared for a wait. These things aside, the food is wonderful.

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