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Best tapas in New York ???

mardisk Sep 18, 2008 02:19 PM

Had fabulous tapas at Oyamel in DC - a MEXICAN tapas spot, and I would like to find a great tapas place for an upcoming weekend in NYC. Anyone like Sangria 46 ? Recommendations will be greatly appreciated. We're staying in Midtown East but have no problem getting around town.

  1. l
    Lucia Sep 18, 2008 02:26 PM

    Casa Mono
    I also like Tia Pol and El Quinto Pino, but haven't been since they've changed chefs. And, Boqueria is good as well.

    8 Replies
    1. re: Lucia
      MMRuth Sep 19, 2008 04:39 AM

      I'm also a big fan of Casa Mono - I've posted several reports/lists of dishes I like (some do change seasonally) that you maybe interested in checking you - should show up if you search user:mmruth title:Casa Mono. I've not heard of Sangria 46, and had a good meal once at Boqueria - the mushroom croquetas are excellent there.

      1. re: MMRuth
        mrnyc Sep 19, 2008 05:58 AM

        no question CASA MONO is the best. highly recommended.

        for a more casual tapas restaurant i would rec LAS RAMBLAS or TIA POL.

        lately i have been sticking close to home and going to LA NATIONAL.

        note all of these are downtown. i would say take your pick depending on what neighborhood you want to be in.

        1. re: mrnyc
          Simon Sep 19, 2008 07:57 AM

          i need to try Las Ramblas and Tia Pol.

          While there are many fun little spots to get a drink, i think the food quality at the tapas places in NYC is pretty low compared to what's available in other cities (for example, i've had better tapas even in Kobe, Japan than anywhere in NYC...and Seattle's Harvest Vine is in a whole other league).

          Casa Mona is fun, but i think of it more like a medium-sized plate restaurant than a true tapas place. I like it (it's the only Batali-associated place that i'll go to), but trendiness and crowds make it more of an ordeal than tapas should be.

          I like La National too but more for paella than tapas.

          1. re: Simon
            MMRuth Sep 19, 2008 07:59 AM

            Right - Casa Mono is not a true tapas place, but serves raciones. I don't find it trendy, but then, I've not been there for dinner.

            1. re: Simon
              mrnyc Sep 19, 2008 05:35 PM

              re ny tapas in general i agree with you. i know they are generally mediocre here, its interesting discussion, but of no help to the op. yet i have to say good call on HARVEST VINE, that place is off the charts. it's one of the very few seattle restaurants i give a hoot about.

              give TP and LR a try sometime. they have more interesting specials than LA NACIONAL (whoops, good catch kthryn!), but otherwise all three are pretty much on a par. that is to say they are notches above the usual tapas pack.

              also, while its true CASA MONO raciones dishes can be a bit bigger than typical tapas, obsessing over a strict definition of tapas vs raciones would be a silly reason to miss such a wonderful restaurant. although somewhat expensive, what they do serve is great. if the op wanted to do a tapas crawl this would be thee place to start off the night.

              1. re: mrnyc
                Simon Sep 19, 2008 06:25 PM

                fair enough...with Casa Mono, i want just trying to describe the vibe and the overall feel of going there (i.e. larger plates and trendy reservation hassle make it feel more like a regular restaurant experience vs. the more fun feel of some tapas places where you nibble and mingle)...

                my last two trips to Casa Mono (slightly over a year ago) were very good, but in the past i've had wildly uneven experiences: where one dish is delicious and the next is wretchedly oversalted...or a visit where the hostess was incredibly cordial and helptful, and followed by another visit where we were rudely evicted from our table by waiter to turn the table after we spent a small fortune on sherry&food and were not particularly lingering...as the better experiences were the last ones, i hope it's still on an upswing...

                1. re: Simon
                  mrnyc Sep 19, 2008 06:39 PM

                  ha yeah the infamous batali oversalting. it is more consistent now. i worked nearby on occasion until recently so for awhile i tended to stop in more often than in the past. i dont think i've ever been there at night, mostly odd afternoon hours, so i have never been rushed or encountered rudeness. that was a luxury i had, it's very crowded most of the time.

                  and definately yes beware you can easily spend a lot of $$ there. that's why if you want to have a more typical and fun tapas night i would suggest just go in, order a glass of wine and a couple more unusual items like maybe lamb's tongue and cock's comb, and then move on.

            2. re: mrnyc
              kathryn Sep 19, 2008 08:44 AM

              That's La Nacional, not La National.


        2. kcijones001 Sep 19, 2008 05:55 AM

          Pipa fan here

          3 Replies
          1. re: kcijones001
            Mirabelle Sep 19, 2008 07:39 AM

            Cafe Riazor 245 W 16th Street! This place has been there for over 25 years. Wonderful Tapas and an atmosphere that will take you back in time.

            1. re: Mirabelle
              mrnyc Sep 19, 2008 06:03 PM

              hey good call for supporting the old classic west village spanish community restaurants. i am sad that EL CID closed, the food was a bit better.

            2. re: kcijones001
              mch Sep 19, 2008 09:19 AM

              i'm a pipa fan as well. love the ambiance. alta is good if you want something more quiet.

            3. s
              soso104 Sep 19, 2008 09:00 AM

              Tia Pol and Boqueria are my two favorites but normally they do have a wait

              My favorite go-to spot is Olivas in the EV. Nothing fancy, food has been consistent over the past several years.

              2 Replies
              1. re: soso104
                sandf2007 Sep 19, 2008 09:06 AM

                Xuntas is a solid bet for cheap, efficient tapas and fun atmosphere.

                finally went to casa mono last night. i'm ashamed it took me so long to finally try it. my wife and i were blown away. delicious food and great wines.

                1. re: sandf2007
                  nycfoodlovingmom Sep 19, 2008 09:30 AM

                  I forgot about Xuntas. It is fun. Not the best food, but good and good Sangria.

              2. Wilfrid Sep 19, 2008 09:13 AM

                Since it's not an obvious recommendation, let me mention Despana - it's best known as a Spanish food store, but there are dining counters and seats in the rear and the food served is more like tapas (or pinchos) you actually find in Spain than many of the other places mentioned on the thread. But they don't sell wine/beer..

                1 Reply
                1. re: Wilfrid
                  MMRuth Sep 19, 2008 09:20 AM

                  Great suggestion.

                2. p
                  Peter Cherches Sep 20, 2008 06:28 PM

                  I love Las Ramblas. They do both traditional and inventive tapas, and all have a certain pizazz. The woman who runs the place is charming and knowledgeable, and not too long ago became a certified sommelier. My only problem is the cramped quarters and backless stools.

                  Nobody around here seems to talk about El Cid, but I think the old workhorse is a good bet for traditional tapas.


                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Peter Cherches
                    Renguin Sep 20, 2008 09:34 PM

                    I second Las Ramblas, never been to tia pol, but ramblas is better than anything else i remember trying in the city (i've tried a lot)

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