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Looking for great SPANISH TAPAS with great ambiance

mboxermd Jan 13, 2010 12:01 PM

On my previous post I wrote tapas but didn't clarify Spanish tapas - for two couples - great food with fun - great ambiance - range in price from $60 to $80 per person. Thanks

  1. steve h. Jan 13, 2010 12:40 PM

    Tia Pol has to be in the mix.

    1. financialdistrictresident Jan 13, 2010 12:58 PM

      Casa Mono was very good. No "great ambience" as OP requested. Not sure what qualifies for "fun" ambience. Small place, if you eat at the bar you leave smelling like food . . .

      Mercat? I haven't been recently so defer to other hounds for recent experiences.

      3 Replies
      1. re: financialdistrictresident
        kathryn Jan 13, 2010 03:59 PM

        Mercat probably has the best ambiance but the food isn't as good as other places in town.

        Agree that Casa Mono is a bit loud, crowded, and cramped.

        1. re: kathryn
          RCC Jan 13, 2010 04:01 PM

          Depends on the OP's definition of ambiance.
          Good Spanish tapas, at least the ones that I've been to in Spain, were usually cramped. loud and crowded.

          I'm going with Casa Mono for good local tapas,

          1. re: RCC
            kathryn Jan 13, 2010 04:06 PM

            True -- in Madrid, my favorite spot was loud, crowded, cramped, and reeked of cigarettes. But the food was divine. I was interpreting ambiance in the "USA" sense.

            Mercat has dim lighting, a handsome chef's counter, high ceilings, an wine cellar on the 2nd floor that you can see from the first floor, and Casa Mono isn't nearly as pretty of a room.

      2. daveena Jan 13, 2010 12:57 PM

        I didn't get a chance to go to Txikito on my last trip, but passed along the rec (from kathryn, I think) to friends living in NYC... got a long text raving about it soon afterward. I think it has a reputation for being a bit pricier, but it should be well within your budget, and my friends seemed to think it was an excellent value.

        1 Reply
        1. re: daveena
          kathryn Jan 13, 2010 03:59 PM

          Txikito is great, just be prepared to wait a while for a party of four. It's a very small place.

        2. t
          thursdaynext Jan 13, 2010 01:01 PM

          Ooh. I vote for Alta. But Boquiera or Sala 19 are good too.


          I had a really delicious (and romantic) dinner at Euzkadi in east village. Not quite Spanish, but Basque. http://www.euzkadirestaurant.com/

          1 Reply
          1. re: thursdaynext
            simetrias Jan 13, 2010 04:29 PM

            Basque is Spanish. In fact, the tapas (pintxos) from the Basque country are the most emblematic and delicious of Spain!

          2. Edwin E. Jan 13, 2010 06:48 PM

            I would reccomend Pipa.
            Great place - sexy atmosphere.

            1. Motosport Jan 14, 2010 05:54 AM

              Pipa just West of Park Ave in the 20's has great Tapas and a nice Flamenco show too.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Motosport
                smokeandapancake Jan 14, 2010 08:49 AM

                I love pipa..people on here seem to disagree though...

                1. re: smokeandapancake
                  Edwin E. Jan 14, 2010 09:34 AM

                  So we agree on Pipa, but not Tao - you were almost my nemesis.

                  1. re: Edwin E.
                    smokeandapancake Jan 19, 2010 05:24 AM


              2. guttergourmet Jan 15, 2010 04:27 PM


                1. j
                  Jaleamia Jan 16, 2010 05:43 AM

                  My husband and I were going to meet at El Quinto Pino last night. I didn't call ahead of time and when we got there it was closed for renovations. It would have been nice if their website mentioned this. Instead, there was a sign which said to go to Txikito, a block away. Since we didn't have much time, we walked over. We got a variety of items. My favorites were:
                  Tutera (gratin of artichoke, roncal, and jamon) - this had a very meaty flavor and wasn't really recognizable as artichoke
                  Morcilla (blood sausage)- this was kind of a "pigs in a blanket" style presentation; the morcilla was wrapped in a crispy casing. I don't normally like morcilla, but this was delicious.
                  Txikito (mini sandwich of chorizo hash)

                  Overall, the food was tasty, but it was too expensive for the portions served. One thing that turned me off - not food related, but enough to make me not go back - was that the bartender was sarcastically teasing the woman who was preparing the board with the specials about not forgetting the accents for some of the words and he was exaggerating and making fun of the accented pronunciations. He wasn't doing this in a hushed, side conversation, but was talking loudly from behind the bar. I guess you had to be there, but it came across as an ignorant put down of a language that was clearly foreign to these two. Maybe they should look for work in a burger joint where all the words are in English, instead of a Basque restaurant. (In contrast, there was a great waiter who clearly spoke the language.)

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Jaleamia
                    guttergourmet Jan 17, 2010 06:01 AM

                    Interestingly, Alex Raij and her husband (whom I have been following since they started at Euzkadi on East 4th, then to Tia Pol, then to El Quinto Pino before opening Txikito) have now acquired El Quinto Pino. Not sure about the nature of the renovations. All I care about is that they don't renovate the uni panino off of the menu. I read that the idea was inspired by chef Michelle Bernstein of Miami at a Food Festival Alex was attending when the leftover uni had to be scooped onto bread.

                    1. re: guttergourmet
                      Jaleamia Jan 18, 2010 06:45 AM

                      I agree with you about the uni panini - - I had my heart set on trying it based on the unanimous raves. Hopefully, won't have to wait too long.

                      1. re: Jaleamia
                        NellyNel Feb 25, 2010 09:21 AM

                        El Quinto Pino is open again and I did hear through the vine that the uni panini is still on the menu

                  2. Tom Steele Feb 25, 2010 10:26 AM

                    I'm fond of cozy Las Ramblas on West 4th between Cornelia and Great Jones. It feels so much like Barcelona in there.

                    1. thehungrything Mar 27, 2010 08:33 AM

                      I am so glad I found this thread. I was going to post a similar question. We are going to Manhatten starting tomorrow for a few days of fun and food. Our two sons, teen and tween have very sophisticated palates and would love an uni panini! We ate together at Tia Pol at the tapas bar last year and loved it.
                      I will bring this list of recommendations with me. If anyone has anything to add please do!!!

                      Tia Pol
                      205 10th Ave, New York, NY 10011

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: thehungrything
                        automattic Mar 27, 2010 09:38 AM

                        For kind a posh, scene type place that isn't too bad on a weeknight, Buceo95 is nice. very small. If you want a larger, more relaxed but still very nice place, sol y sombra. both have great, authentic tapas and very good atmosphere.

                        1. re: automattic
                          thehungrything Mar 27, 2010 02:12 PM

                          Thanks. The original poster wanted ambience. I should have clarified that I am looking for excellent food and a good experience but ambience is not necessary.
                          Tio Pol was great, that place is a hole in the wall.
                          I am thinking about El Quinto, the menu looks amazing.

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