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A spread of tapas Alex Staniloff/Eater

15 Top-Notch Tapas Restaurants in NYC

Where to gorge on garlic shrimp, jamón ibérico, tortilla, and other Spanish small plates

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Few meals feel as festive and engineered for sharing as Spanish tapas. Small plates star flavor-packed, salty ingredients, thanks to frequent cameos of umami-rich anchovies, piquant cheeses, and the nutty salinity of jamón ibérico.

Many of NYC’s top tapas joints are situated in Chelsea and the East and West Villages, with a handful of other standouts scattered throughout the city. Look out for good happy hour deals and interesting brunch menus, for a welcome respite from rote egg Benedicts and pancakes, at a number of these places. Ahead, 15 superior tapas purveyors worth sampling in New York.

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Buceo 95

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This Upper West Side neighborhood joint, which opened in 2008, serves up solid tapas and an extensive selection of wines. Classic small plates like garlic shrimp, bacalao croquettes, and bacon-wrapped dates are popular picks here. It’s a good option for a meal or a few glasses of wine and a snack before or after a show at nearby Symphony Space. Buceo 95 is open after 5 p.m. every night.

Buceo 95 Buceo 95 [Official]

Pil Pil

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Pil Pil is one of the few tapas spots on the Upper East Side and a reliable choice, particularly for brunch. On Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., choose between a few regional menus (Basque, Catalonia, Galicia, and a vegetarian, gluten-free Andalucia option) with three dishes, plus unlimited sangria, mimosas, and bellinis, for $18.95. The red-hued, brick-walled space sports a tangle of tree branches on the ceiling and a colorful, glowing wall of wine bottles behind the bar.

The interior of a bar Pil Pil [Official]

Boqueria

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The fourth location of NYC tapas go-to Boqueria opened in Hells Kitchen in April 2018. The large, attractive space is distinctive from Boqueria’s other locations by serving breakfast, starting at 6:30 a.m. on weekdays. Other unique offerings at this good-for-groups spot is a six-spit rotisserie churning out crispy chicken and whole suckling pig. The Barcelona-style chain opened its first outpost in Flatiron in 2006.

The interior of a chic tapas bar Boqueria [Official]

Café Salamanca

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This large, old-school Jackson Heights restaurant serves affordable versions of classic tapas dishes with an emphasis on seafood. In addition to small plates, there’s a set dinner menu that includes an appetizer, entree, dessert, and coffee for $23.95. A bonus is frequent live music on weekends.

Mercado Little Spain

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Mercado Little Spain — an ambitious Hudson yards food court modeled after markets in Spain and helmed by humanitarian and celebrated chef José Andrés — is 35,000 square feet of tapas choices, broken out into stalls that specialize in each dish. There are ones dedicated to paella, tortilla, jamón, churros, and a whole lot more, plus several bars and three full-service restaurants. Leña and Mar, two of the three pricier, full-service restaurants, are open for lunch and dinner, whereas Spanish Diner is open from 7 a.m.

El Quinto Pino

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El Quinto Pino — part of Alex Raij and Eder Montero’s successful mini-empire of tapas restaurants in NYC — has been around, and consistently packed, since 2007. The uni panino, with sea urchin and mustard oil pressed between crispy bread slices and served casually in wax paper, has long been a lauded hit. More traditional small plates compose most of the menu, including well-executed classics like shrimp in garlic oil, pan con tomate, and white anchovy fillets. If El Quinto Pino is packed, be sure to stop by Txikito, another tapas restaurant by Rajj and Montero, but focused on Basque cuisine.

A spread of tapas on a restaurant table Alex Staniloff/Eater

Lamano is the first foray into Spanish cuisine from Jorge Guzman and his hospitality group, which runs NYC Mexican spots Ofrenda, Temerario, and Black Ant. The menu spans various regions of Spain, and the focus is, satisfyingly, kept squarely on tapas, instead of a sprawling menu of small and large-format dishes. This location opened in January 2017, and there’s a second, tinier West Village outpost, too.

A well lit interior of a narrow restaurant Nick Solares/Eater

This Boston import from restaurateurs Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette opened in 2013 with a very extensive menu of creative tapas spanning Catalan, Basque, and Galician favorites, with a few Moroccan and Italian dish cameos as well. There’s a wide selection of options for any type of eater, whether it’s to please vegetarians, pescatarians, or offal-lovers. With a clubbier vibe than many other restaurants on this list, Toro is a better early-in-the-game date as opposed to a romantic special occasion.

The interior of a tapas lounge decorated with indoor plants hanging from the walls and ceiling Toro [Official]

La Nacional

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This unique and affordable Spanish spot in Chelsea is housed inside the historic Spanish Benevolent Society’s brownstone — the organization dates back to the late 1800s. The Society first began serving tapas in 2002, and closed for an extensive refresh in 2016 before reopening in 2018 with a rotating selection of chefs in residence, hailing from different parts of Spain. Dishes like patatas bravas are just $7, with bigger dishes starting out in the low $20s. A daily happy hour from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. offers Spanish wines by the glass for $6.

A clean, white restaurant interior with light wooden tables Alex Staniloff/Eater

The tapas at this Greenwich Village charmer, situated in a 19th century townhouse on a pretty stretch of Tenth Street, skew Mediterranean instead of traditionally Spanish, like fried goat cheese with lavender honey and octopus a la plancha. The multilevel space has high ceilings and two wood-burning fireplaces, and thanks to a range of different seating configurations, works well for intimate dates as well as big group meals.

The top floor of a dimly lit townhouse converted to a restaurant Alta [Official]

Huertas

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Huertas, a Basque restaurant helmed by chef Jonah Miller in the East Village, focuses on pintxos, seafood tins, and medium-sized dishes, dubbed raciones. Beyond patatas bravas and tortilla, more seasonal offerings include wax beans with hazelnuts and olive vinaigrette. Huertas is also a strong pick for throwing a dinner party (or cocktail affair), thanks to its relatively affordable private dining room, which comes with exclusive patio access.

A dark restaurant interior displaying a neatly set table Bess Adler/Eater

El Born

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This Greenpoint tapas spot is housed in a sleek, minimalist space, with a lengthy marble bar that serves several occasions well, whether it’s sampling a bunch of tapas or just a couple of drinks. Opened by restaurateur Elena Manich and chef Diego Gonzalez in 2014, El Born serves a family-style bottomless brunch for $27 per person, as well as an unlimited taco Tuesday deal for $12, from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the bar.

A grilled octopus tentacle over potatoes and a brown broth El Born [Official]

Despaña

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There are many reaons to head to this all-encompassing Soho Spanish spot. Take a top-notch, likely ham-filled sandwich to go; pick up hard-to-find imported Spanish foods and wines for home; and sit down for some tapas. It’s a daytime (or early dinner) spot, however, as it closes at 7 p.m. on Mondays through Thursdays, 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and 6 p.m. on Sundays. The original location is in Jackson Heights, which opened in the 1970s; there’s now an outpost in Princeton, New Jersey as well.

Tomiño Taberna Gallega

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The focus is on Galician tapas at this Little Italy gem, which serves up fresh seafood plucked from a long glass case lining the bar, such as the buttery langostinos a la plancha. Besides small plates, there are substantial options, like bacalao con coliflor, featuring fresh cod with potatoes, cauliflower, and béchamel sauce. Chef manager Lucia Freitas runs one of Galicia’s top restaurants, A Tafona Casa de Xantar.

The seafood case at the bar Tomino [Official]

La Vara

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One of Cobble Hill’s finest restaurants, La Vara serves tapas with Moorish and Sephardic inflections, and is part of Alex Raij and Eder Montero’s portfolio of standout Spanish restaurants in NYC. Don’t miss the fideuà, a paella-like noodle dish that Pete Wells praised highly in his two-star New York Times review circa 2012. It’s a pleasant brunch option, thanks to big windows facing picturesque Clinton Street and interesting dishes like bocadillo de calamar, a flash-fried squid po’boy, and huevos con migas aragonesas, with torn bread, chorizo, seared grapes, poached eggs, pimentón, and smoked olive oil.

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Buceo 95

This Upper West Side neighborhood joint, which opened in 2008, serves up solid tapas and an extensive selection of wines. Classic small plates like garlic shrimp, bacalao croquettes, and bacon-wrapped dates are popular picks here. It’s a good option for a meal or a few glasses of wine and a snack before or after a show at nearby Symphony Space. Buceo 95 is open after 5 p.m. every night.

Buceo 95 Buceo 95 [Official]

Pil Pil

Pil Pil is one of the few tapas spots on the Upper East Side and a reliable choice, particularly for brunch. On Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., choose between a few regional menus (Basque, Catalonia, Galicia, and a vegetarian, gluten-free Andalucia option) with three dishes, plus unlimited sangria, mimosas, and bellinis, for $18.95. The red-hued, brick-walled space sports a tangle of tree branches on the ceiling and a colorful, glowing wall of wine bottles behind the bar.

The interior of a bar Pil Pil [Official]

Boqueria

The fourth location of NYC tapas go-to Boqueria opened in Hells Kitchen in April 2018. The large, attractive space is distinctive from Boqueria’s other locations by serving breakfast, starting at 6:30 a.m. on weekdays. Other unique offerings at this good-for-groups spot is a six-spit rotisserie churning out crispy chicken and whole suckling pig. The Barcelona-style chain opened its first outpost in Flatiron in 2006.

The interior of a chic tapas bar Boqueria [Official]

Café Salamanca

This large, old-school Jackson Heights restaurant serves affordable versions of classic tapas dishes with an emphasis on seafood. In addition to small plates, there’s a set dinner menu that includes an appetizer, entree, dessert, and coffee for $23.95. A bonus is frequent live music on weekends.

Mercado Little Spain

Mercado Little Spain — an ambitious Hudson yards food court modeled after markets in Spain and helmed by humanitarian and celebrated chef José Andrés — is 35,000 square feet of tapas choices, broken out into stalls that specialize in each dish. There are ones dedicated to paella, tortilla, jamón, churros, and a whole lot more, plus several bars and three full-service restaurants. Leña and Mar, two of the three pricier, full-service restaurants, are open for lunch and dinner, whereas Spanish Diner is open from 7 a.m.

El Quinto Pino

El Quinto Pino — part of Alex Raij and Eder Montero’s successful mini-empire of tapas restaurants in NYC — has been around, and consistently packed, since 2007. The uni panino, with sea urchin and mustard oil pressed between crispy bread slices and served casually in wax paper, has long been a lauded hit. More traditional small plates compose most of the menu, including well-executed classics like shrimp in garlic oil, pan con tomate, and white anchovy fillets. If El Quinto Pino is packed, be sure to stop by Txikito, another tapas restaurant by Rajj and Montero, but focused on Basque cuisine.

A spread of tapas on a restaurant table Alex Staniloff/Eater

Lamano

Lamano is the first foray into Spanish cuisine from Jorge Guzman and his hospitality group, which runs NYC Mexican spots Ofrenda, Temerario, and Black Ant. The menu spans various regions of Spain, and the focus is, satisfyingly, kept squarely on tapas, instead of a sprawling menu of small and large-format dishes. This location opened in January 2017, and there’s a second, tinier West Village outpost, too.

A well lit interior of a narrow restaurant Nick Solares/Eater

Toro

This Boston import from restaurateurs Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette opened in 2013 with a very extensive menu of creative tapas spanning Catalan, Basque, and Galician favorites, with a few Moroccan and Italian dish cameos as well. There’s a wide selection of options for any type of eater, whether it’s to please vegetarians, pescatarians, or offal-lovers. With a clubbier vibe than many other restaurants on this list, Toro is a better early-in-the-game date as opposed to a romantic special occasion.

The interior of a tapas lounge decorated with indoor plants hanging from the walls and ceiling Toro [Official]

La Nacional

This unique and affordable Spanish spot in Chelsea is housed inside the historic Spanish Benevolent Society’s brownstone — the organization dates back to the late 1800s. The Society first began serving tapas in 2002, and closed for an extensive refresh in 2016 before reopening in 2018 with a rotating selection of chefs in residence, hailing from different parts of Spain. Dishes like patatas bravas are just $7, with bigger dishes starting out in the low $20s. A daily happy hour from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. offers Spanish wines by the glass for $6.

A clean, white restaurant interior with light wooden tables Alex Staniloff/Eater

Alta

The tapas at this Greenwich Village charmer, situated in a 19th century townhouse on a pretty stretch of Tenth Street, skew Mediterranean instead of traditionally Spanish, like fried goat cheese with lavender honey and octopus a la plancha. The multilevel space has high ceilings and two wood-burning fireplaces, and thanks to a range of different seating configurations, works well for intimate dates as well as big group meals.

The top floor of a dimly lit townhouse converted to a restaurant Alta [Official]

Huertas

Huertas, a Basque restaurant helmed by chef Jonah Miller in the East Village, focuses on pintxos, seafood tins, and medium-sized dishes, dubbed raciones. Beyond patatas bravas and tortilla, more seasonal offerings include wax beans with hazelnuts and olive vinaigrette. Huertas is also a strong pick for throwing a dinner party (or cocktail affair), thanks to its relatively affordable private dining room, which comes with exclusive patio access.

A dark restaurant interior displaying a neatly set table Bess Adler/Eater

El Born

This Greenpoint tapas spot is housed in a sleek, minimalist space, with a lengthy marble bar that serves several occasions well, whether it’s sampling a bunch of tapas or just a couple of drinks. Opened by restaurateur Elena Manich and chef Diego Gonzalez in 2014, El Born serves a family-style bottomless brunch for $27 per person, as well as an unlimited taco Tuesday deal for $12, from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the bar.

A grilled octopus tentacle over potatoes and a brown broth El Born [Official]

Despaña

There are many reaons to head to this all-encompassing Soho Spanish spot. Take a top-notch, likely ham-filled sandwich to go; pick up hard-to-find imported Spanish foods and wines for home; and sit down for some tapas. It’s a daytime (or early dinner) spot, however, as it closes at 7 p.m. on Mondays through Thursdays, 9 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, and 6 p.m. on Sundays. The original location is in Jackson Heights, which opened in the 1970s; there’s now an outpost in Princeton, New Jersey as well.

Tomiño Taberna Gallega

The focus is on Galician tapas at this Little Italy gem, which serves up fresh seafood plucked from a long glass case lining the bar, such as the buttery langostinos a la plancha. Besides small plates, there are substantial options, like bacalao con coliflor, featuring fresh cod with potatoes, cauliflower, and béchamel sauce. Chef manager Lucia Freitas runs one of Galicia’s top restaurants, A Tafona Casa de Xantar.

The seafood case at the bar Tomino [Official]

La Vara

One of Cobble Hill’s finest restaurants, La Vara serves tapas with Moorish and Sephardic inflections, and is part of Alex Raij and Eder Montero’s portfolio of standout Spanish restaurants in NYC. Don’t miss the fideuà, a paella-like noodle dish that Pete Wells praised highly in his two-star New York Times review circa 2012. It’s a pleasant brunch option, thanks to big windows facing picturesque Clinton Street and interesting dishes like bocadillo de calamar, a flash-fried squid po’boy, and huevos con migas aragonesas, with torn bread, chorizo, seared grapes, poached eggs, pimentón, and smoked olive oil.

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