There's a reason tapas style menus have become so popular in NYC. They offer people the chance to try out many different items, each with their own flavor profile, and share with friends.
Of course, just because they're small dishes doesn’t mean they come at a small price. Still, it’s definitely worth the price of admission to try all of the dishes while you talk and enjoy a bottle of wine with friends.
268 Clinton Street, Brooklyn
This small restaurant in Cobble Hill has drawn quite a lot of attention that even those who live in New York City make the trek out to Brooklyn to grab a bite. What sets La Vara apart from other tapas restaurant is the Moorish- and Jewish-inspired flavors. The flavors here are quite bold and playful.
There are items on the menu you likely won’t see at any other tapas restaurant like the deviled eggs with green tahini and stuffed rabbit loin. Or, if you’re really feeling hungry try the Cochinillo – the slow cooked suckling pig. Just make sure to make a reservation as the restaurant has very limited seating.
85 10th Avenue
The trek from the closest subway to Toro might be long, but it’ll definitely whet your appetite for the coming meal. Located in the trendy Chelsea area Toro offers some innovative and tasty tapas at reasonable prices.
While the dishes tend to veer to the small size, they are bursting with flavor and personality. Dishes like the pressed sandwich of sea urchin and the Galician octopus. With that said, there are no bad dishes on the menu and paired with some specialty cocktails, you’re well on your way to leaving full and tipsy.
239 East 5th Street
Sure, tapas might have originated in Spain, but that doesn’t mean other cultures can’t incorporate the idea into their own cuisine. In fact, almost every country has their own version of tapas.
Degustation might be considered Spanish, but it is more of a fusion restaurant offering flavors from Asia and France. This intimate restaurant offers counter only service where you can watch as the chef creates your dishes right in front of you. If you’re not sure what to get, ask one of knowledgeable staff as to their suggestion. Or simply go with the tasting menu and let the chef decide.
53 West 19th Street; 171 Spring Street; 1460 2nd Avenue
If you’re looking for a traditional Spanish tapas then Boqueria is the place for you. Named after Barcelona’s food market, this restaurant offers some of the most solid tapas in the city.
While you won’t get the same inventiveness you’d find at the previous three restaurants, you do get delicious morsel of food made with only the best ingredients. The dishes are so authentic, one bite and you’ll feel like you have been teleported to Spain. Don’t forget to get yourself a pitcher of sangria to wash down the croquettes.
359 Sixth Avenue
The rustic charm of Tertulia is enough to entice passersby to stop in, but it’s the inspired food that keep people coming back for more. Seamus Mullen drew inspiration from the cider houses of Asturias, a region to the west of Basque Country, by offering hard cider on tap along with traditional plates. Of course, he adds his own spin to it to take it notch above your local taberna. The food isn’t fancy, but it’s all cooked to perfection and all of the flavor profiles meld perfectly together in a single dish. Some favorites include the pig cheek with quail egg and lamb breast.