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Manzanilla - Interesting Spanish food and wines

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  • rrems Mar 29, 2013 02:48 PM
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My partner and I and a friend tried dinner at Manzanilla last week and had a very enjoyable meal. The atmosphere is very pleasant, it's not too loud, and seating is comfortable.

We started with kale salad, oysters, and octopus. The octopus was served with a potato preparation that was one of the most delicious I've ever had (I'm not normally a big fan of potatoes). The kale salad had great flavors. Oysters were tasty but very small.

For mains, we had suckling pig, pork "presa", and strip steak. All were delicious, but the presa was the clear winner.

For dessert we shared the rice pudding and chocolate. Both were great.

I was expecting a wider variety of Spanish wines, but was very happy to see a favorite of mine, Manuel Manzaneque Finca Elez, which went really well with the food.

We happen to have ordered the most expensive main courses, so it seemed a bit pricey, but overall it is reasonable for the quality. We will be back to try more dishes.

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  1. Thanks for the report. I had been waiting to hear news of the NYC outpost since having dinner in their Malaga flagship a few months ago. Will certainly give it a try,but avoid the burger, unless I read otherwise!

    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/877468

    1 Reply
    1. re: erica

      http://www.villagevoice.com/2013-04-1...

    2. Manzanilla is the biggest ripoff I've seen. The dishes are minuscule. If they did this at their other place in Spain they wouldn't last a week. A waste of money

      10 Replies
      1. re: foodwhisperer

        Thanks for the info about the small dishes. Especially since the place is fairly expensive as is. I will push this one back several spots on my "to-go" list.

        1. re: foodwhisperer

          They seemed pretty well sized for me. 8 croquettes is a lot for 2 people.

          1. re: Shirang

            The croquettes are a good sized dish. And probably the best dish to get. i should have been more specific. The suckling pig dish is expensive and you get about half of what other restaurants give. That is the dish i went there for , that is the dish that will make me never go back.

          2. re: foodwhisperer

            I disagree completely. We had plenty of food, and we are not small eaters. What did you eat? Did you have an appetizer, main and dessert, or just snacks?

            1. re: rrems

              Have to agree with rrems regarding the amounts, I had a scallop app which was well more than average in size. I also had the suckling pig which seemed fine as an entree especially when compared to other "higher end" restaurants. Regardiing servie; our service was almost too good and bordered on hovering. Actually the only negative comment would be on the suckling pig, the skin was no where near "crisp" enough.

            2. re: foodwhisperer

              Adding to my post directly above:

              Prices in Spain are lower than here for comparable restaurants. I've found food to be a bargain when traveling there. Comparison makes no sense.

              1. re: rrems

                When they have a restaurant in NYC and in Spain, and the size of the same dish varies so much, the comment makes sense. Also the service is terrible at the NYC location

                1. re: foodwhisperer

                  We had excellent service.

                  1. re: rrems

                    Our service was fine too

                  2. re: foodwhisperer

                    I'll agree regarding poor service. We ate there a few weeks ago and had high hopes but came away really disappointed (in contrast to, for example, the previous week's meal at Mayesville which we really enjoyed).

                    The service was lackluster and disinterested throughout and included things like bringing my wife the wrong sherry for dessert (which we didn't realize until we saw the check). She had clearly ordered one kind of the PX and they brought the other, more expensive one. We also ordered two "snacks" - the oxtail sliders (best thing we had) and the tomato tartare and asked that they be brought first then the octopus appetizer then our main dishes, and they just kept bringing the dishes out on top of each other so that we found ourselves with a table full of items that we hadn't had a chance to finish and were getting cold. I get that approach if we're at Shopsin's or a family-style place but if I'm paying upwards of $100 per person for dinner, they should be able to pace my courses correctly. One of my sherry glasses had a strange funky smell (reminiscent of fish oil) and I had to send it back - it wasn't the sherry but rather the glass itself.

                    The other dishes were okay but not particularly memorable - and my entree (the pollo) came out cold in the center. It would have been good otherwise but had clearly been reheated and not very well.

                    All around, my experience at Manzanilla was average at best, but average in that "there are plenty of much better than average places in Manhattan where I can spend this much." I really wanted to like the place but for this pricing with such uneven service and cold food, we won't be going back. Too many places that are comparable price-wise that I've enjoyed and too many new places to try.

              2. One star review from Pete Wells.
                http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/17/din...

                1 Reply
                1. re: Riverman500

                  Interesting review - when I got to the end of it, I was surprised he'd given the place even one star. To me (and admittedly I'm a bit biased after an underwhelming meal there), it read like damning with faint praise and more like a no-star than one-star review.