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Aug 31, 2009 08:01 PM

Best upscale Spanish a short cab ride to Lincoln Center?

Looking for an early dinner before the opera. Looking for romantic, upscale and Spanish!
The new spot in Time Warner Center is out. I want something old worldy and authentic.

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  1. There's a new Spanish spot in the Time Warner Center? There's a new Italian spot, A Voce?

    There's very little Spanish (as opposed to Mexican or Latin American) on the UWS. Closest is probably something in Hell's Kitchen, I guess. Maybe La Fonda Del Sol?

    All the other ones I can think of are on the east side and are also much further downtown. And a lot of the popular Spanish restaurants in Manhattan are noisy, crowded, and don't really shout "romantic" to me (Boqueria Soho, Boqueria Flatiron, Casa Mono, Tia Pol, Txikito, Pamplona, etc.)

    2 Replies
    1. re: kathryn

      Tia Pol is usually a quick cab ride to Lincoln Center. When I'm coming home on the West Side I usually take 10th Ave to avoid traffic.

      1. re: JungMann

        Chelsea area is definitely more convenient. But Tia Pol isn't really upscale/romantic.

    2. there is an Argentinean tapas place on Columbus/71st called Cafe Ronda that i like a lot...it's not Spanish-from-Spain (although they serve paella, i've never ordered it there) and it's not upscale (prices are moderate)...but it's a comfy rustic place and one of the few reliable options in the neighborhood...the opera is a 6 or 7 minute walk away...

      1 Reply
      1. re: Simon

        I agree with Simon. It's fairly casual and the food is very tasty. And I have had the paella and would recommend it. Maybe not the best in the city, but definitely very good.

      2. Therer's not much on the romantic Spanish in the city. The only ine that I know of, and which I can consider as upscale, would be Solera at Midtown East. This restaurant is on 53rd Street and 3rd Ave and is almost directly crosstown from Lincoln Center.

        The food is pretty good, too.

          1. re: bronwen

            i work nearby to this place and have to say, i think it's horrible...besides The Firebird, there aren't many places on 46th worth visiting.

            you could try Victor's Cuban Cafe on 52nd and Broadway...

            1. re: coasts

              pssst, hey Coasts

              " Spanish" as in food from Spain. " Upscale" as in um, upscale.

              I love Victors but asking for upscale Spniash and going to Victors is like looking for sushi and getting Schezuan. Theyr'e both Asian, right?

              1. re: coasts

                Oh God not Firebird...o.p. please spare yourself the mediocre Russian food.

                I second Fonda del Sol the food is good and if you get a table in the more formal dining room (a few steps up, in the back) you can have a more refined and relaxed atmosphere.

            2. Fonda del Sol's dining room can be quiet and the food is excellent. It's right near Grand Central. There's a place near the UN called Alcala or something... heard it was decent. I used to go there when it was something else whose name has now escaped me!

              5 Replies
              1. re: simetrias

                I've not been to Fonda del Sol, but otherwise I am prepared to say that there is not one restaurant in Manhattan which is old world/authentic (let alone upscale or romantic) Spanish which is any good at all. Traditional Spanish dining in New York is awful. I think the OP needs to look either for non-Spanish recommendations near the Opera, or ask about downtown tapas spots (which are noisy, crowded and unromantic but have the only Spanish-type food worth eating in Manhattan).

                Degustation is a compromise - counter dining which is fairly quiet and dignified, but in no sense is it a short cab ride from the opera.

                1. re: Wilfrid

                  yeah, i agree, the OP's request was a bit of a Zen koan...

                  it would be awesome if we had a place in NYC like Passadis del Pep in Barcelona, but that laughably distant given what is available here...

                  for casual fun meals. i like Tia Pol...i like La Nacional...i like the Argentine tapas at Cafe Ronda...

                  but upscale traditional Spanish does not really exist here...

                  i think we've all done that we could...

                  the OP either needs to pick a different, or tangentially related cuisine (i.e. the Victor's suggestion was really a nice alternative/compromise given the constraints of the question), and likely a diff neighborhood as well...

                  1. re: Simon

                    What Simon said. Upscale, great, traditional Spanish does not really exist here.

                    Actually, one possible choice is Aldea but it's not really upscale (kind of in the middle, not super casual but not super formal) and it's Portuguese, not Spanish.

                    1. re: kathryn

                      There's always Bar Jamon/Casa Mono but it's not very close.
                      I remember going to somewhere called Picasso with a friend who lived at Sutton Place so it was close to that and everyone seemed Spanish (from Spain) in there.

                      1. re: bronwen

                        The loud, crowded Bar Jamon/Casa Mono is also the opposite of romantic, upscale.