Contemporary Barcelona-style tapas, mouth-watering and hearty paellas and authentic produce like Iberian jamon and Denominación de Origen wines draw guests in to New York City’s top Spanish restaurants. From communal dining in a Chelsea paella bar to regional Spanish fare in a beautiful midtown brownstone, find out why the Big Apple is infatuated with Galician grub and Catalan cuisine. These are ten of our favorite Spanish restaurants in New York City.
Upon entering the warm, welcoming Salinas, located in the heart of chic West Chelsea, the surroundings are immediately evocative of the Mediterranean – traditional limestone walls and Brazilian walnut floors contrast with plush velvet furnishings while an al fresco dining area with a retractable roof ensures guests can dine under the stars year-round. The restaurant, which opened in 2011, offers a host of traditional and contemporary tapas and main course dishes made by Michelin star-trained chef Luis Bello – a native of Spain’s Basque Country, who helped place Salinas on Esquire Magazine’s 2011 Best New Restaurant list and earned it a two-star rating from the New York Times. You’ll be whisked away to the Mediterranean with dishes like arroz de pulpe socarrado – bomba rice and Galician rock octopus in Rioja red wine with Irwin Farm’s local wild mushrooms.
Casa Mono is a popular dining establishment situated just one block east of the historic Union Square Park, right next to its sister restaurant Bar Jamon. Established in 2003 by restaurateur duo Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich, Casa Mono has been a consistent favorite with critics, earning in its first year of operation a two-star rating from the New York Times and more recently, in 2009, a Michelin star. Executive chef Andy Nasser cooks up dishes inspired by the food he ate growing up in the picturesque fishing village Cadaqués, updated with bold and daring flair. Try the inventive crispy pig ears with apples, kohlrabi and aged Austrian goat’s cheese of the adventurous quail and cockscombs with black garlic and wild mushrooms.
Andanada, whose name is a nod to the highest seating circle in a bullring famous for attracting the most lively bullfighting fans, is a cozy and pleasant haunt located just off Broadway, making it the perfect spot to stop by for a pre-theater dinner. Offering a unique Spanish dining experience in splendid surroundings that feature a bullfighting-themed mural, Andanada’s menu is overseen by chef Manuel Berganza, who grew up in north west Spain’s Asturias region and was trained by the Michelin-starred chef Sergi Arda at Madrid’s acclaimed Restaurant La Broche. Guests can enjoy flamenco every Tuesday while dinging on tempting fare like mussel croquettes with cilantro and a saffron emulsion, or a hearty main like terrine of suckling pig with panadera potatoes and a romesco sauce.
For diners looking to experience the authentic flavors of northern Spain’s Basque Country, Txikito, a much-loved tapas restaurant in West Chelsea, is a must-visit. Established by owners and chefs Eder Montero, a native of the Basque region, and his wife Alexandra Raij, who was named Eater’s New York Chef of the Year in 2012, Txikito is a homage to Basque cuisine and offers a number of simple, classic recipes alongside inventive signature dishes and seasonal specials. Highlights include dishes like crispy beef tongue with mustard española and cornichons, accompanied by Navarran white asparagus served with chopped egg, and a celery-black truffle vinaigrette. The stylish restaurant features beautiful blond wood walls and ceilings complemented by soft, subtle lighting, while a window overlooking 9th Avenue is perfect for taking in the hustle and bustle of New York City’s streets.
Located just moments from the iconic Grand Central Terminal,La Fonda Del Sol is the modern re-incarnation of New York’s famous restaurant of the same name which was in operation between 1961 and 1971. Staying true to its roots, the restaurant serves classic Spanish cuisine and tapas with fresh, contemporary accents. Executive chef Chris DeLuna, who was named one of America’s best chefs in 2013 by Best Chefs America and previously cooked up a storm at the now-closed four-starred restaurant Les Celebrités, creates a menu of exciting dishes and brings to La Fonda Del Sol his passion for local artisan products. Head to the restaurant’s lively tapas bar for small plates like spicy tuna tacos or serrano ham and manchego cheese croquettes. Alternatively, enjoy a hearty dish of suckling pig with bacon-onion marmalade and Marcona almonds in the stylish main dining room.
Tertulia, whose name refers to an artistic social gathering of friends typified by enlightened conversation and delicious food and drink, is the first solo project by award-winning chef Seamus Mullen. Established in 2011, the restaurant opened to several glowing reviews, which included a two-star rating from the New York Times and three stars from New York Magazine, and more recently was named Citysearch New York’s Best Restaurant of 2013. The West Village building in which Tertulia resides was one of the city’s very first Prohibition era speakeasies. Its current look was designed by Jason Volenec Studio, and features exposed brick and a stunning tile-covered wood burning stove. The menu is inspired by the cuisine of the Asturias region, renowned for the simplicity of its dishes and quality of its ingredients, and features dishes like the coal-grilled 40-day-aged prime rib steak with romesco sauce and fingerling potatoes.
Socarrat Paella Bar, located in Chelsea, is a stylish and lively restaurant serving guests a wide selection of tapas dishes and tasting paellas, which earned it the accolade of Best Paella in New York Magazine’s 2009 Best of New York awards. The restaurant was established in 2008 by owner Jesus ‘Lolo’ Manso, a native of Valladolid in Spain who moved to New York in the 1980s and was inspired to share the rich, vibrant cuisine of his homeland with the city. The unique restaurant, a long and narrow space, is cozy without feeling too small and features a long communal table where guests eat together as they traditionally would in Spain. Feast on mouth-watering paellas like the arroz negro – arroz rice with shrimp, calamari, scallops, basa fish and squid ink.
A relative newcomer to New York City’s Spanish dining community, Toro, a Barcelona-style tapas bar, was opened in September 2013 by award-winning co-chefs and co-owners Ken Ringer and Jamie Bassinette following the success of their original Toro restaurant in Boston. The talented duo create a vibrant and varied menu based on classic Spanish flavors and fresh, locally sourced ingredients that features traditional tapas dishes like Iberian ham and patatas bravas alongside more contemporary tapas like pig’s ear terrine with king crab and yuzu. The beautiful South Chelsea restaurant, designed by New World Design Builders, resides in a former factory and features butternut wood beamed ceilings and exposed brick, while huge windows give Toro a lofty, spacious feel and let guests take in the city views.
Homely, warm and inviting are the perfect words to describe Solera – not surprising given its location in a beautiful brownstone in Manhattan’s midtown. Featuring two dining rooms set over two floors, the restaurant’s warm décor is evocative of Mediterranean climes with contemporary artworks produced by Hudson Valley artists specially selected for Solera by the Carl Van Brunt Gallery. The restaurant offers an exclusively Spanish wine selection, which includes New York City’s biggest collection of Spanish Denominación de Origen wines. Dishes reveal the authentic tastes of regional Spanish cuisine with distinctly contemporary touches. Try the grilled hanger steak with pimento potatoes and chimichurri or roasted pork belly and barbecued pork ribs with green plantains and a mojo verde sauce.
My Moon is a unique, vibrant restaurant in the heart of Brooklyn’s arty Williamsburg neighbourhood. Located in a disused former boiler factory, the restaurant’s design is a nod to its former incarnation, featuring beautiful exposed brick, while old boiler lids and contemporary, regularly changing artworks decorate the walls – a perfect example of the continuing regeneration of the Williamsburg area. Executive chef Ivan Vilches has created a menu of delicious Spanish-influenced Mediterranean fare built around high quality, fresh ingredients. A range of paellas and salads is available and guests can choose from several tempting tapas dishes like brocheta de cordero – marinated Australian lamb with chickpea puree and scallions – or merzula estilo rasco – Basque-style wild hake in salsa verde with Manila clams, asparagus, green peas and parsley.