photo: Eric Laignel
Bar Jamon: Bar Jamon’s charm is in its simplicity—its small and only has the necessities (amazing Spanish wine and light snacks). This makes it perfect for catching up with a friend on a week night, mainly because there just isn’t much room and it caters to walk-ins. You can go for just wine or order a bunch of tapas–we suggest checking out all the dishes on Wine & Dine app beforehand, it will make your decisions easier. We like it more than its sister restaurant Casa Mono around the corner because it is more casual and less stuffy in terms of environment and price, but the quality is still there.
Las Ramblas: Right when we thought nothing could get smaller than a NYC apartment, we found Las Ramblas. Similar to Bar Jamon, there isn’t much space but we feel that adds to the intimate, date night appeal, which is sometimes hard to find on the ever bustling West 4th street. It has all the authentic Spanish tapas you could ever want—patatas bravas, croquetas, tortilla Espanola, etc—at affordable prices and consistent quality. Add it to your list.
Stanton Social: Stanton Social is perfect for a girl’s night out because it has the upscale cocktails, chic 3-level space, good music, and small plates so you don’t leave too full. Note this is not your traditional Spanish tapas restaurant, it is more of an eclectic global menu of small plates. Think French onion soup dumplings, mini lamb gyros, chicken arepas, and philly cheesesteak sliders. We guarantee you will try something you’ve never had before. It might be a little pricey compared the others on this list, but we feel it is fitting for the environment.
Boqueria: Despite being a chain, Boqueria has definitely become a NYC tapas go-to for us. They deliver high quality spanish tapas along with creative specials and market menus varying by the season. We prefer the SoHo location because we can watch the chefs in action and there is a little more space than in the Flatiron one. Make sure to leave room for dessert because their Nutella stuffed churro nuggets (yes nuggets) are out of this world.
La Vara: La Vara is the kind of place you want to be taken to on a first date—its located on the cutest tree lined block in Cobble Hill (so perfect before or after an evening stroll), dim lit but not too dark, cozy, has exposed brick with white minimalistic accents. Not to mention the tapas is unlike any other in the city because of its contemporary spin on original Spanish dishes. Some of our favorites were the spreadable sausage on bread topped with foamed honey(!), and the fried artichoke with anchovy aioli.
Toro: Toro a go-to for a few reasons. One being it’s right by the highline, so it’s a perfect follow-up to your afternoon stroll. Second reason being it is great for groups. The space is quintessential meatpacking with an open industrial feel, high ceilings, ivy covered walls, and the ever-trendy exposed brick. The plates are small (but that’s a given with tapas) and it just means you shouldn’t feel bad about ordering more. We love the variety on the menu, it is sure to please everyone. And if the food doesn’t, the drinks will.
Gato: Gato is one of those places you wouldn’t even notice when you walk by and we want to keep it that way because it’s another gem by Bobby Flay. Similar to Toro but unlike the rest on this list, it is open and spacious so you don’t feel like you have to share breathing room with other diners. However, it still manages to deliver a cozy feel. Above all, the menu puts a Mediterranean spin on Spanish tapas which might be one of our favorite combos, and the service always seems to be above average.
Contributed by: Margeau Barnes, founder of @satisfeed / thesatisfeed.com.