Savings & Discounts

The 8 Best Spanish Restaurants in NYC You Need to Try

Most of us know Spanish cuisine for its tapas, a small-plate style of eating adapted by a wide range of restaurants. The following spots have their share of tapas bars, sure, but they also specialize in rioja wine, huge dishes of paella, and lesser-known Spanish traditions like pasta and marinated anchovies. Sample them all at your table full of small plates, served at these seven standout Spanish restaurants in New York City. Whether you're looking for charcuterie plates, Spanish food in the West Village, or simply the best tapas restaurants NYC has to offer, you've come to the right place.

Lamano

Lamano NYC

With menus from consulting chef Jose Fuentes, of Madrid’s renowned Kulto restaurant, intimate Spanish tapas and wine bar Lamano offers classics from all regions of Spain alongside tempting modern dishes. The mission here is to immerse people in a culture that will leave them with a love of the drinks, food, and music of Spain. Some nights they'll even feel as if they are no longer in New York City. Hell’s Kitchen is the latest locale to debut, alongside Chelsea and West Village haunts. 688 Tenth Ave.. 646-559-0989, lamanonyc.com

El Quinto Pino

El Quinto Pino

In case you’re looking for a focused tour of Spanish restaurants, head straight for Chelsea, home to several of the city’s best Iberian spots. El Quinto Pino is a veritable love letter to Spanish cuisine, as are Txikito and La Vara (see below), the two other restaurants run by wife-husband team Alex Raij and Eder Montero. El Quinto Pino frequently changes its Menú Turístico to highlight recipes from various Spanish regions and maintains a well-edited list of fried tapas, hot tapas, and sandwiches. Check out that last Bocadillos section for the renowned uni panini, a must-order and the star of El Quinto Pino’s exceptional menu. 401 W. 24th St., 212-206-6900, elquintopinonyc.com

Salinas

Salinas

Another Chelsea entry, Salinas enchants diners looking for more lavish ambiance with their tapas. The back room is a dream for all seasons, with retractable roof, teal velvet banquets, and a fireplace. As for the food, there are no false notes in Chef Luis Bollo’s mix of tapas, rice and pasta dishes, and mains. Enjoy a glass of wine or two if you select the made-to-order rice, like the Llauna with duck, foie gras sausage, and wild mushrooms. Salinas also makes an ideal spot for cheese and charcuterie imported from Spain. 136 9th Ave., 212-776-1990, salinasnyc.com

Casa Mono & Bar Jamón

Casa Mono and its sister restaurant Bar Jamón sit side by side on Irving Place, located near Gramercy Park and Union Square. Whereas Casa Mono is the Michelin-starred sibling, Bar Jamón is the more casual and a tad more celebratory of Iberian ham. The restaurants also share a chef in Andy Nusser, as well as an extensive wine list. The tiny dining room at Casa Mono excels with tapas like crab/chorizo croquetas and sausage with honeycomb and quince marmalade. It also serves large plates made with sustainable proteins like goat, served confit with avocado queso, scallion ash, and pistachios. At Bar Jamón, expect no less ingenuity in the small plates, just a lower tab at the end of your meal. 52 Irving Pl., 212-253-2773, casamononyc.com

La Vara

La Vara

La Vara recently earned a spot on the Michelin Guide’s 2019 Bib Gourmand list, an honor worthy of this smash-hit effort from the team behind El Quinto Pino. At La Vara in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn, Raij and Montero delve into the Jewish and Muslim flavors found in many Spanish dishes. Sample small plates like eggplant with honey and melted cheese, grilled chicken hearts with lime-date vinaigrette, salt cod carpaccio on za’atar bread, and suckling pig with rose petal quince sauce and chimichurri. With a list that enticing, we assume you’re already booking a table. 268 Clinton St., 718-422-0065, lavarany.com

Sala One Nine

Since 2004, Sala One Nine has been serving solid Spanish classics from its sizeable Flatiron location. This is certainly a tapas spot, but the small plates are divided in two: Pinchos for small snacks and Raciones for larger, shareable dishes. The octopus is an essential order, plus plates to fight over like the mussels cooked in saffron and white wine and fried goat cheese with honey and housemade bread. There’s a good happy hour during the week as well, featuring selections from the house’s exclusively Spanish wine list, plus flamenco performances on Monday evenings. 35 W. 19th St., 212-229-2300, salaonenine.com

Huertas

Head to the East Village for a Basque take on Spanish eating. Like Sala One Nine, the menu at Huertas presents its small plates as pintxos and raciones. Have one of Huertas’ daily croquetas with a refresco, or Spanish wine cooler. Follow with a seafood dish like anchovies with quail egg and piquillo peppers and larger plates like saffron fried rice with shrimp, bacon, and aioli. The rustic dining room and informative staff will also put you right at ease. 107 First Ave., 212-228-4490, huertasnyc.com

Boqueria

Boqueria

Each of these restaurants is ideal for happy hour, but Boqueria has the unique distinction of being in four places at once. I.e., tapas-and-wine happy hour is never far away. There’s the requisite sangria and vermouth cocktail with orange and soda on the beverage side and discounted tapas like pan con tomate and patatas bravas for a snack. Come for dinner, and treat yourself to seafood paella, bacon-wrapped dates, and pork shoulder a la plancha. Locations in Midtown West, Flatiron, SoHo, and Upper East Side, boqueriarestaurant.com

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About the Author

Merrill Lee Girardeau lives and writes in Brooklyn.

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