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Aug 5, 2009 06:27 AM

Spanish Tapas

My husband and I just returned from a Mediterranean cruise which left from Barcelona. We had the chance to spend one day there before the cruise. We were lucky enough to discover tapas and had two opportunities to enjoy it.

Needless to say, I am now craving Spanish tapas and cannot find anything that even comes close to what we had in Spain.

We live on Long Island, but can travel to Queens, Manhattan etc if it worth our while. Can anyone help?

Thanks (Mucho Gracias)

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  1. There are a number of good places in Manhattan, but the only ones I've been to are Boqueria (fabulous mushroom croquettas) and Casa Mono, which I think actually serves "raciones" (larger portions) rather than tapas, per se. I'm sure others will post in about their favorites - Tia Pol is another oft mentioned place.

    Also, there is a fabulous Spanish food market (that also has tapas, actually) on Broome Street in SOHO called Despana - you could nibble on somethings there and/or bring things home. They also have a location in Queens that is primarily wholesale - I'm not sure if it is open to the public or not.

    7 Replies
    1. re: MMRuth

      Thanks for your help. In Barcelona my husband and I discovered small fried fish (sprats) that were yumy, grilled sardines, anchovies-not canned, ocotpus, paper thin egg omlets filled with potatoes/onion/sauce and topped with a thick garlic sauce--to die for. We had a chocolate dessert that was topped with fruity olive oil and sea salt that was amazing...these are the types of things we are looking for.

      All help is welcomed and appreciated. Even larger portions of these amazing foods would be find.

      Thanks again.

      1. re: Hilary

        Casa Mono usually has grilled sardines, and also tortilla, though I don't think their's is paper thin.

        1. re: Hilary

          It might help you to peruse some of these threads as well:

          1. re: Hilary

            Sprats are not as popular here as they are outside the US. I believe Casa Mono has whitebait, as do some Japanese and Chinese restaurants, but I can't recall any Spanish restaurants with it. Boquerones are available in many places, from Despaña to Fairway to Boqueria. The Pulpo Gallego at La Nacional is incredibly tender, though underseasoned. Tortillas are available at most places, though I particularly like the ones at Despaña. It would be difficult to find paper thin tortillas, as they are usually filled with plenty of vegetables, sauces, etc.

            1. re: Hilary

              I've been to quite a few Tapas places, but I think a good start for you would be Las Ramblas on West 4th, just off 6th avenue. Las Ramblas serves Barcelona style tapas, which is different from other regional tapas.

              They definitely have the tortilla espanol (egg & potato mixture), grilled sardines and the octopus. I think they also have the small fried fish - smelts on their menu.


              Mercat - I quite like this place, but it's quite different from barcelona style tapas
              Casa Mono - fantastic, but it's Spanish inspired, so not authentic.
              Sala Bowery / 19 - Decent, but nothing to write home about
              Tia Pol - very flavorful and the food is very good, although it's probably more inventive and less representative of a typical tapas restaurant, but it can get very crowded and popular. I don't know exactly what style it serves, but it's not Barcelona style
              Euzkadi - Pass. I live a few doors away and found it to be decent, but nothing special.

              And Despana is a great place to check out for some jamon to take home for later.

              1. re: susiederkins

                Hi, Thanks for your input and Las Ramblas. This place looks amazing and their menu is the closest I have seen to what we had in Barcelona. Next time we are in the city and are looking for a place to eat, this will be the one. Now, if they only had that amazing soft chocolate dessert . Soft, almost fudgy like but not quite-better, formed into balls with a fruity olive oil drizzled on top and finished with a sprinkle of sea salt. Simply amazing. I can't wait to try this place, thanks so much.

            2. re: MMRuth

              Casa Mono is not as traditional as places in Spain but the food is delicious. Boqueria is more traditional but the food is not quite as delicious, sadly.

              Despana is amazing. They make their own chorizo. I love that store! But watch our for your pocketbook... things can add up quite quickly.

              There's lots of debate re: tapas here:

              1. re: notsochubbychubette

                The tapas scene in NYC is unfortuantely hit or miss. No one place is great.

                Tia Pol is the best. And for Basque style got to Txikito. Txikito is the new restauarnt of the former chef of Tia Pol.

                Boqueira is really not that good anymore, but I hear the downtown location is better.

                Surprisingly, Solera on the UES is really good.

                Casa Mono is great, but is not tapas. I would love it if their plates had LESS food on them.

                1. re: sushiman

                  I had dinner last night at Txikito and we had a wonderful salad with grilled anchovies. They were delish. It was a special, but they also had different anchovy preperations on the menu.
                  I've eaten at La Nacional, Tia Pol, Casa Mono, and Mercat- and Tia Pol is my hands down favorite.

                1. I still really like Boqueria (both locations although the one in Soho is more low-key); Bar Jamon (extensive Spanish wine list and very fresh and well made tapas); and Casa Mono. I recently went to Tia Pol (it was not memorable) and Sala One Nine (too expensive and very disappointing). Good luck!

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: crovito

                    What didn't you like about Tia Pol? From what many Chowhounders say, it's the best in the city.

                    1. re: kathryn

                      The first time I went (2 years ago I believe) I actually liked it much better. I think the menu is VERY standard and while nothing was 'wrong' with any dish we ate, it was all average. The four of us agreed we wouldn't go back for a tapas fix. Let me know if you eat there and think otherwise!

                      1. re: crovito

                        i love Tia far, it's the only tapas in NYC that i like...i usually get: the marinated fish, the fried chickpeas, the asparagus, the ham/manchego/artichoke triangles (forget what they are called), the various seafood salads, and the suckling pig special if they have it..

                    2. re: crovito

                      Boqueria has very good scallop tapas. Friendly place, good service.

                    3. I know next to nothing about tapas, but I've been to Txikito and I loved it. I'll also echo the general appreciation for Despana - I can't walk by that store without wandering in. :)

                      Actually, I'm curious about Euzkadi in the East Village. Has anyone been?