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Dec 16, 2008 05:06 PM

Great tapas in NYC?

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.

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    1. 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

        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

          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

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

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

          7 Replies
          1. re: snaporaz

            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

              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

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

                1. re: guttergourmet

                  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

                    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

                      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

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