Combining outrageous prices with barely palatable food, this Murray Hill spot does everything a Spanish restaurant shouldn’t. Named for the jet-set destination on the Costa del Sol, Marbella is a monster tapas lounge done up like a Times Square tiki bar, with palm fronds and a long bar set beneath a rainbow of Technicolor neon lights. A Gipsy Kings soundtrack completes the cliché. The 36 tapas on the menu, generally priced at well over $10 a plate, hark back to the days when Spanish food was an exotic unknown and New Yorkers, presumably, weren’t sure what to expect. How else to explain mealy empanadas, gluey croquettes or five slippery, flavorless shrimp for an eye-popping $17? The room is ready-made for lounging and carousing; early birds can snag the big, comfortable chairs and banquettes before crowds pack the bar several people deep. Chances are, they come for drinks or for the nightly flamenco performances—certainly not for the food.
|Venue name:||Marbella Restaurant||Contact:|
162 E 33rd St
|Cross street:||between Lexington and Third Aves|
|Opening hours:||Mon–Wed, Sun 11:30am–11pm; Thu–Sat 11:30am–midnight|
|Transport:||Subway: 6 to 33rd St|
|Price:||Average small plate: $12. AmEx, MC, V|