Who says you can’t get good tapas in New York City? Here’s our list of favorites!
When I lived in Spain, one of my favorite ways to spend a weekend afternoon/evening was to meet up with friends and go for tapas. In the Madrid neighborhood of “La Latina” there is a whole culture of cañas (small glasses of beer) and tapas. Everyone packs into the small bars on the Calle Cava Baja and enjoys sharing tapas and raciones (which are often larger portions of the same delicious snacks) and spending time with friends. All over Spain you can find tapas and pintxos (a small piece of bread topped with any number of delicious meat, fish or cheese), each bar with its own specialty. In fact, many towns in Spain even have the “feria de la tapa.”
We went to one in a small town outside Madrid, San Fernando de Henares, and had a great time not only trying out the tapas, but also bar hopping on the little train that was running around the village. The tradition of “tapeo” (going for tapas) is not limited to the borders of Spain, however. You can have a similar experience right here in New York City. We’ve tried out a few of these tapas bars around town, and while the prices are higher than what you will find in a small town in Spain, the food is just as delicious!
While we know there are many more places for having tapas in New York City, these are our favorites to date. We ruskommend that you grab some friends, and like the Spaniards do, make a day of trying different tapas, sharing stories and good company. ¡Buen provecho!
El Quinto Pino
In Spain, if you tell someone that you are in “el quinto pino,” it means that you are in the middle of nowhere. This is not the case for this tapas bar in New York City. Found in the heart of Chelsea, this locale is reminiscent of many bars in Spain with its high stools, narrow bar and chalk board menu. Here you will find an offering of tapas from around Spain including croquetas, delicious patatas bravas, tortilla española, bocadillo de calamares, olives, fried chickpeas, and pan tumaca (toasted bread with delicious tomato and garlic slathered on top). This is all accompanied by a great wine list, as well as mixed drinks and cocktails. I’ve tried the Sangria and Rebujito here, both are worth trying, but your best bet is wine with some tapas to share. Don’t miss the bravas. My friends are all addicted!
- Address: 401 W 24th St, New York, NY 10001
- Telpehone: (212) 206-6900
- Price per person: $20
- Hours: Mon 5:00pm – 12:00am; (Tue-Thu): 12pm – 12am; Fri 12pm – 1am; Sat 11:30am – 1:00am; Sun 11:30am – 11pm
- Official website of El Quinto Pino
This was the first place I tried for tapas in New York City. The restaurant, named for the famous La Boqueria Market in Barcelona, serves up traditional tapas and Spanish fare. Here you will sit at high tables, but the actual restaurant is bigger. As you walk in, you will notice ham legs hanging in the window, just like in many Spanish bars. There are different kinds of tortilla and other tapas in the glass case by the bar, as well to complete the picture. With offerings such as “Cojonudo” (fried quail eggs with chorizo on toast), “Pimientos de Padrón” (spicy fried green peppers), and the best croquetas.
I’ve tried in New York, this place is worth a stop. La Boquería has adapted itself to an american audience, offering brunch on weekends, and themed dishes for holidays such as the 4th of July, where they served up burgers and fries with a Spanish twist. Who says the founding fathers wouldn’t have liked their burgers with patatas bravas?
- Address: 53 W 19th St, New York, NY 10011
- Telephone: (212) 255-4160
- Price per person: $20
- Hours: (Sun-Wed) 12:00pm – 11:00pm; (Thu-Sat): 12pm – 12am
- Article about La Boqueria Flatiron
- Official webiste of La Boqueria Flatiron
This little hole in the wall restaurant with exposed brick walls is also found in Chelsea. Serving up Basque style tapas, the staff was friendly and we enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere. This is one of the closest experiences I’ve had to “tapeo” in Madrid. I went with a group of friends and we ordered bravas, fried chickpeas, and pimientos de padrón. When I explained the traditional rhyme “algunos pican, otros no” everyone took turns to see who got the spicy pepper first, as that person was supposed to pay the bill! This is a great spot to come after work, but due to it’s small size, you might have to wait to get a table.
- Address: 205 10th Ave, New York, NY 10011
- Telephone: (212) 675-8805
- Price per person: $20
- Hours: Mon 5:30pm – 11:00pm; (Tue-Thu): 12pm – 5pm y 5:30pm – 11:00pm; Vie: 12pm – 5pm y 5:30pm – 11:59pm; Sat 11am – 5pm y 6:00pm – 11:59pm; Sun 11am – 5pm y 6:00pm – 10:30pm
- Official website of Tia Pol
Centro Español in Astoria Queens
It’s true that you have to venture to Queens in order to get to this Spanish cultural center, but the food they are serving up tastes just like my mother-in-law’s cooking. The tortilla de patatas was cooked to perfection, as well as the croquetas and the empanada de atún. You might feel a bit out of place, especially if you go during an important soccer game, but as soon as you taste the food, you will be glad you came!
- Address: 41-01 Broadway, Astoria, NY 11103
- Telephone: (718) 626-0872
- Price per person: $10
- Hours: Mon-Thu 9:00am – 10:30pm; (Fri-Sat): 9am – 11pm; Sunday closed
This is a pricier option, however we stopped into this high end tapas bar one night and we were glad we did. Salinas has a modern take on many standard tapas including the “alcochofas fritas” (fried artichokes) which came with candy cane beets, goat cheese and a lemon ali-oli. We also enjoyed the “berenjenas y queso fresco” (eggplant with fresh buffalo cheese). Also on the menu are rice and noodle dishes including paella, as well as the fish of the day. This is a great spot to come for a fancier tapas experience, but be prepared to wait or make your reservation early, as we had to sit at the bar.
- Address: 136 9th Ave, New York, NY 10011
- Telephone: (212) 776-1990
- Price per person: $25
- Hours: (Mon-Wed) 6:00pm – 10:00pm; (Thu-Sat): 6pm – 11pm; Sun: 5pm – 10pm
- Official website of Bar Salinas
This is a Spanish classic for cheap montaditos (small sandwiches) and ice cold beer. In Madrid, 100 Montaditos was a great place to come with friends, as everyone can choose the little sandwiches they like, and there is a pile of chips in the middle of every order. Who could ask for more? In the West Village, you will find the New York version. Here you can find the same little sandwiches, with just as many options, although some are adapted for an american palette. You can also order patatas bravas, which if you are familiar with the Spanish version, these are more “patatas gajo” (potato wedges) with a spicy sauce. Nevertheless, the price is right and the experience of sitting in the back patio is much the same as a 100 Montaditos in Spain. For anyone wishing to relive their study abroad experience or have an affordable night of montaditos and beer, this is your place!
- Address: 176 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10012
- Telephone: (646) 719-1713
- Price per person: $15
- Hours: (Sun-Thu) 11:00am – 11:00pm; (Fri-Sat): 11am – 12am
- Official website of 100 Montaditos US
Casa Mono and Bar Jamón
We came upon this tapas and wine bar thanks to a ruskommendation from a good friend who knows one of the waiters from his home town back in Spain. The locale is quite small, and offers a limited number of tapas. We tried the tortilla and the pan tumaca when we were there. The wine list is quite extensive, and includes a Sherry tasting “flight” where you can choose to try a small glass of 3 different sherries. The waiters are quite friendly and are more than happy to give you advice on what to choose. Again, the prices are a bit high when you compare with Spain, but then again, sometimes it’s worth a few extra dollars to have a taste of home (or your second home in my case).
- Address: 52 Irving Pl, New York, NY 10003
- Telephone: (212) 253-2773
- Price per person: $25
- Hours: (Mon-Sun) 12:00pm – 12:00am
- Official website of Casa Mono