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Great tapas in NYC?

rachmel Dec 16, 2008 05:06 PM

My husband and I are going to be dining in NYC on Saturday night and we're looking for terrific tapas. Any recommendations you have are much appreciated. Great atmosphere is a bonus.

  1. c
    cimui Dec 18, 2008 07:52 PM

    spanish only?

    caselulla is excellent, though it still gets really crowded on weekends

    casa mono is also great, but the crowds are a bit too much for me at prime time

    if you are interested in small plates dining more generally, kefi is wonderful for small plates. (i'm there this weekend, too, actually -- first time at the new location.) grayz is stellar (and expensive) for seafood in particular. momofuku ssam has some really tasty asian / asian inspired dishes. grayz is probably going to be the least crowded.

    1. d
      danie3633 Dec 18, 2008 12:57 PM

      I also love xunta in the east village

      1. k
        kiwikiwi Dec 17, 2008 05:08 PM

        try Alta in west village- delicious!

        1 Reply
        1. re: kiwikiwi
          MB fka MB Dec 17, 2008 07:48 PM

          I've had some good dishes at Alta, but my last few visits were VERY hit or miss. Most of the misses were due to lukewarm food and lots of underseasoning. Plus the service has totally gone down (at the bar anway). I stopped in a few weeks ago and ordered a beer, waiting to order food and no one asked. Then a group came to the door with one person in a wheelchair. I overheard staff talking about it and saying that they should have called ahead, yet no one seemed to go offer assistance. Not cool.

        2. guttergourmet Dec 17, 2008 01:24 PM


          1. g
            ginsbera Dec 17, 2008 06:14 AM

            Tia Pol, Txikito and Boqueria are tops. Yet to visit Casa Mono, but have heard great things as well.

            1. i
              italianagambino Dec 17, 2008 05:17 AM

              If you're looking for non spanish tapas, try Uncle Nick's for Greek!:

              1. s
                snaporaz Dec 17, 2008 04:30 AM

                And if you're into Basque, Txikito just opened.

                7 Replies
                1. re: snaporaz
                  RCC Dec 17, 2008 08:17 AM

                  I'm a fan of Tia Pol and I just scanned Txikito's website menu and there are a lot of items that appeal to me, especially the lengua (beef tongue) and the txarripatak (tripe and trotters). How are these dishes?

                  Are there others that you would recommend?

                  1. re: RCC
                    Lucia Dec 17, 2008 05:35 PM

                    I'm definitely interested in Txikito based on its chef/owner (ex-Tia Pol/El Quinto Pino). That said, I'm not rushing to go there based on some lackluster reviews from other sites. If you go, please report back!

                    1. re: Lucia
                      guttergourmet Dec 18, 2008 12:54 PM

                      I was underwhelmed as I've posted. Alan Richman was even more unimpressed. Maybe I ordered badly.

                      1. re: guttergourmet
                        ginsbera Dec 18, 2008 01:30 PM

                        I didn't agree with Richman one bit. I found everything I ate to range from good to excellent. I can't wait to get back for the arraultza, chorizo, fried quail egg and sofrito on toasts or the crispy blood sausage rolls. I've been a huge fan of Tia Pol, but I found the food at Txikito more exciting and there is a larger menu.

                        1. re: ginsbera
                          guttergourmet Dec 19, 2008 05:21 PM

                          The crispy blood sausage rolls were morcilla wrapped in spring roll wrappers and fried. Not particularly authentic or very good. To fry something as rich as morcilla I think is a waste of the ingredient. I'm not against innovation. Her uni panini at El Quinto Pino is one of the greatest things I've ever put in my mouth. Also el nino rebelde-chorizo, chocolate, thai chili on toast at Tia Pol-fantastic. Txikito didn't cut it for me. Maybe I ordered badly.

                          1. re: guttergourmet
                            ginsbera Dec 20, 2008 03:49 PM

                            i found the blood sausage quite delicious, very rich, but very good. I sampled a good amount and found everything tasty. I love Tia Pol, huge fan and will always go back, but Txikito impressed me.

                            1. re: guttergourmet
                              RCC Dec 24, 2008 07:32 AM

                              In my opinion, being authentic in tapas is an overrrated expression and not applicable to the ways tapas should be prepared nowadays.

                              I've seen and experienced in te motherload of tapas, i.e in Spain, where tapas joints would have different versions of the same food theme.

                              For example, ona recent tapas crawl in San Sebastian, I've seen and tasted fresh baccalau on toasted bread, or one wrapped on a full shrimp or 2, or one with chopped shrimp on top of it, or one with crabmeat, or one on rolled rice (a la sushi), or on skewers, or one very good one with rich chocolatey sauce (this one was in a terrific place called Cuchara di Telmo).

                              I think authenticity lies in having a common theme, in your case it's the morcilla sausage. But even this sausage, I remember seeing different preparations and presentations techiniques in Spanish tapas joints.

                              As far I can tell from my tapas crawls in Spain, as long as the theme ingredient is present, it would still be considered authentic.

                  2. l
                    Lucia Dec 16, 2008 05:55 PM

                    I like Casa Mono, Boqueria, Tia Pol, El Quinto Pino. Do a search as there has been much discussion on this topic.

                    1. l
                      loveroffood Dec 16, 2008 05:54 PM

                      Casa Mono is my favorite. Great wine list and the flavors of the tapas are as close to Spain as I've found (more Barcelona than Sevilla - so a bit more high end). There's also a more casual, sister tapas bar next door called Bar Jamon that does feel a bit more like Spain.

                      Boqueria has a fun, lively atmosphere (Union Sq and new one in Soho). Food is good - but I go mainly for the lively ambiance.

                      Mercat in NOHO has a nice ambiance and interesting theme (Catalan tapas). I'd say food is slightly better than Boqueria.

                      Skip Flor de Sol in Tribeca - overpriced and underwhelming.

                      Tia Pol is very popular, extremely small...unless you go at an odd hour, you'll be waiting. Food is about the same quality as Boqueria but cheaper, so from a value point, I'd say slightly higher value as long as you're not waiting (then I don't think it's worth it).

                      Sala in East Village - don't care for ambiance and food is mediocre.

                      If you can get into Casa Mono and don't mind spending a bit more, hands down that's the place to go.


                      3 Replies
                      1. re: loveroffood
                        MB fka MB Dec 17, 2008 07:50 PM

                        I'm a big fan of Casa Mono (yes, call me the one trick pony) but go to there hungry. It's not really a tapas bar, portions are big. Perfect for sharing, yes, but not at all small like traditional tapas. I just had a new dish - a rabbit terrine - there last week. Served with grainy mustard and a fantastic salad with pickled radish. Yum!

                        Boqueria was a really nice experience, too. More traditional small plates for sure and a lively atmosphere.

                        1. re: MB fka MB
                          kathryn Dec 18, 2008 02:04 PM

                          They're media raciones not tapas at Casa Mono, yes?

                          Two people can share 5-6 dishes there and leave absolutely stuffed.

                          1. re: kathryn
                            MB fka MB Dec 19, 2008 07:52 AM

                            I think when I go with my friend we get two of the smaller plates (left side of the menu), two sides (always the mushrooms) and usually one of the larger dishes (right side of the menu) and very rarely is there ever room for dessert.

                            FWIW I had a FANTASTIC espresso there. I was surprised.

                      2. guttergourmet Dec 16, 2008 05:43 PM


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