Andanada: Spanish. 141 W 69th St @ Columbus-B-Way; 24/22/$56; 646-692-8762; www.andanada141.com/; Tapas and other Spanish classics done with modern flair; First Spanish to hold Michelin star outside Spain; Unlimited mimosas, bellinis or sangria at brunch for $35; Large selection of tapas to choose from; Quite an extensive menu; If you love Paella – come here. Five choices of paella for $50 that serve two. Happy hour Sunday-Thurs 5-7pm.
El Quinto: Spanish. 401 W 24th @ 9th Av; 24/15/$42; 929-1855; www.elquintopinonyc.com/; Small in size but not charm; Around since 1930s; Shockingly good tapas on the smallish menu & sangria; Large portions; Try the seafood paella- enough for 3-4 people; Very kitschy and charming; Shrimp with garlic sauce is outstanding; Inexpensive Lobster; Service is fast and efficient. They have their game down. Brunch served.
Tia Pol: Spanish. 205 W 10th Av @ 22-23rd; 24/16/$48; 675-8805; www.tiapol.com; Small plates; Chelsea Spaniard; Tapas a la Barcelona. Lively & has top notch wines & sangria; Very small inside- seating on stools or at bar. Receives rave reviews across the board; Wildly authentic; Go off-peak hours and prepare to enter Spain. They serve lunch and brunch as well. Deviled Eggs on menu! Large selection.
Socarrat Paella Bar: Spanish. 259 W 19th @ 7-8th Av; 24/16/$45; 462-1000; www.socarratnyc.com/; They feature 6 varieties of Paella and a large assortment of Tapas; Downside is communal seating at a lengthy table; Fun time. Has an adoining wine bar; Just come here and share a Paella and 1 or 2 Tapas as appetizers as this place will blow you away with its authenticity. Go early to avoid crowds. Flamenco every Tuesday. More room at Midtown East location. Unlimited sangria for $20 with Brunch. Grilled Calamari.
Salinas: Spanish. 136 9th Av @ 18-19th; 25/25/$63; 776-1990; http://salinasnyc.com/; Stunning setting; Some of the best sangria in the city; Great service and style; Date friendly- best in this genre for that; Dinner only…. Menu features a more limited selection of various small plates and larger portions – including Arroces – contemporary Spanish Rice dishes – to die for. I’d get one order of this to share and a few Tapas.
Toro: Spanish. 85 10th Av @ 15th-16th; 22/24/$65; 691-2360; http://toro-nyc.com/; Huge, gorgeous space; Industrial feel while being super cool and date friendly; Excellent, spacious bar; Spanish restaurant with room! Killer cocktails – quite a scene; Some of the tapas include: Yellowtail, Tuna Tartare, Chorizo, Hanger Steak, Salt Cod, Cuttlefish, Garlic shrimp, and Duck Drumstick. Very large menu – do the usual – order 4-5 tapas per couple.
Sevilla: Spanish. 62 Charles @ W 4th; 23/16/$42; 929-3189; Garlic lover’s paradise; Sangria is strong and flavorful; Tasty food; Friendly service. Genuine paella. Been around since 1941. Great pricing; An institution in the neighborhood; The menu has absolutely everything including an amazing Twin Lobster special. Great place for an introduction to Spanish cuisine. Grilled Calamari. Try the paella with seafood and lobster.
Las Ramblas: Spanish. 170 W 4th @ Jones-Cornelia; 23/15/$38; 646-415-7924; Under the radar; Modern Tapas; Amazing Sangria; Service is friendly – like Barcelona! Incredibly small- prepare to wait to be seated. Uncomfortable Stools; If I go back – will be at an off hour for comfort and to take advantage of amazing service. Tons to choose from. www.lasramblasnyc.com/
Amada: Spanish. 250 Vesey St @ World Trade Center; 25/23/$60; 542-8947; http://newyork.amadarestaurant.com/; Chef Jose Garces brings hit top ranked Philadelphia restaurant to NYC; Philly branch is ranked off the charts; Amazing complex cocktails; The tapas menu is outstanding; Lobster Paella; Cured Meats and Cheese plates; Garlic Shrimp; Sea Trout; Roasted Pork.
Cata: Spanish. 245 Bowery @ Stanton; 23/22/$55; 505-2282; http://catarestaurant.com/; All about the Tapas here – creative and traditional plates; Best to sit at the bar or the room with high tops; Open kitchen; Giant Gin & Tonic selection; Deviled Eggs; Garlic Shrimp; Grilled Clams, Prawns, Oysters or Octopus; Grilled Sea Bass; Lamb Meatballs; Ham & Cheese sandwich; Paella with chicken, sausage & shrimp.
Huertas: Spanish. 107 1st Ave @ 7th St; 26/22/$64; 228-4490; http://huertasnyc.com/; Hip up and coming restaurant; Great wines and sangria; Lively bar scene; Menu is combo of larger plates and Tapas; Weekend brunch menu; Drinks are on the pricy side; The menu is somewhat limited and changes so see website; Excellently prepared food; Service is mixed – hit or miss; Unique preparations.
Aldea: Portuguese. 31 W 17th @ 5th-6th Av; 25/22/$97; 675-7223; www.aldearestaurant.com; Best of its genre in the city; Michelin 1-star rated; Modern setting, deft service, food made from the freshest local ingredients; Ask for a table by the open kitchen; Chef George Mendes prepares works of art; Delicious cocktails- all $12; 4-course prix-fixe for $85; Seasonal menu- see website. Dynamic open kitchen. Expanded bar area.
Casa Mono: Spanish. 52 Irving Pl @ 17th; 26/18/$57; 253-2773; www.casamononyc.com; Mario Batali’s take on Spanish cuisine; Negatives include the expense, size and elbow room; Positives include flat out outstanding Tapas; The Tapas range from $9 to $19 each and you’ll want to order at least 5 for a table of two; Just a delicious, perfect date experience best saved on a weekday or off-hours for greater attention. 1 Michelin star. Endless wine list and sangria options. 3 stars from NY Times.
Boqueria: Spanish. 53 W 19th @ 5-6th; 22/20/$46; 255-4160; www.boquerianyc.com; Traditional Barcelona-style Tapas; No-Rez policy so go early; Extremely tasty small plates. Ultra creative; Smallish place. There is also a Soho location; Brunch 12-5 Sat/Sun; Tapas served all day as well as Artisanal cheeses; There is a market and lunch or brunch available. Seared octopus; Garlic Shrimp; Braised Oxtail; Lamb meatballs. Two paellas.
El Pote: Spanish. 718 2nd Av @ 38-9th; 22/15/$40; 889-6680; www.elpote.com; Small in size but giant in flavor; Known for paellas; Small plates as well as full prepared dishes; Happy staff make up for tiny space. You do get a nice table and plenty of friendliness; Rack of Lamb on menu is a specialty; Huge menu full of all the usual Tapas; The paella with chicken and lobster is a winner. Around nearly 40 years.
La Fonda del Sol: Spanish. 200 Park Av @ 44th; Met Life Building; 22/22/$57; 867-6767; www.patinagroup.com; Lively lunch scene and lively after work scene; Excellent bar with specialty cocktails; They feature a Tapas lounge and a dining room; Not as big a menu as you’d normally find in a Spanish restaurant; Excellent wines; Spacious setting for the genre; Excellent after work dinner option. Above Grand Central.
Alcala: Spanish. 342 E 46th @ 1-2nd; 24/19/$45; 370-1866; www.alcalarestaurant.nyc Near the UN, this is a charming, cozy Tapas restaurant with many traditional Spanish classics. Variety-filled menu. Try the Garden in spring! Pleasant setting and gracious hosts; Website is awesome- has pictures of every Tapas and main course and appetizer; Affordable cuisine; 100+ different wines; About 30 different Tapas; Seafood salad.
Socarrat Paella Bar: Spanish. 953 2nd Av @ 50-51st; 24/16/$45; 759-0101; www.socarratnyc.com/; They feature 6 varieties of Paella and a large assortment of Tapas; Downside is communal seating at a lengthy table; Fun time. Has an adjoining wine bar; Just come here and share a Paella and 1 or 2 Tapas as appetizers as this place will blow you away with its authenticity. Go early to avoid crowds. Flamenco every Tuesday. Unlimited sangria for $20 with Brunch. Grilled Calamari.