Spain staycation

You'll need a long siesta after you've experienced NYC's Spanish culture.

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At rustic cantina La Nacional (239 W 14th St between Seventh and Eighth Aves; 212-243-9308, lanacionaltapas.com), nosh on paella de la casa ($18) and albndigas moruas (pork and veal meatballs in pork jus, $9) and cheer for La Furia Roja (“the red fury”), as the national soccer team is called. (Spain faces off with Switzerland on June 16.) Located on a stretch of 14th Street that was once known as Little Spain, the restaurant and social club got its start in 1868 as the Benevolent Spanish Society, and continues to host cultural events like a live flamenco show on Saturdays at 2pm ($15). “We Spaniards like to eat, drink and talk,” says co-owner and Segovia native Lolo Manso, who also runs Socarrat Paella Bar. “Come here to have some sangria, and soon you’ll forget you’re in New York!”

Gourmet market Despaa (408 Broome St between Cleveland Pl and Lafayette St; 212-219-5050, despananyc.com) stocks plenty of imported fare: Take a seat in the white-tiled dining area to munch on pintxos (snacks), such as croqueta serrano ($3.50) and Manchego cheese from La Mancha, then scoop up miniature ArteOliva olive oil cartons ($2) that look like juice boxes, and bring them home.

New York’s Spanish-wine authority is undoubtedly Tinto Fino (85 First Ave between 5th and 6th Sts; 212-254-0850, tintofino.com), a charming 350-square-foot shop decked out with chandeliers and oxidized mirrors. Stop here to pick up a bottle of Godello ($14--$25) and get in on the current trend of drinking sherry, a fortified wine that takes its English name from Jerez, the town in Southern Spain where it’s made.

Sample traditional Catalan fare at Mercat (45 Bond St between Bowery and Lafayette St; 212-529-8600, mercatnyc.com), where vintage La Vanguardia newspapers, purchased by the owners at a Gypsy market in Barcelona in 2007, line the walls. Order dishes such as fideua (short noodles with squid ink and cuttlefish, $18) and arrs d’anec with duck and orange zest ($15). “Catalan food is the most progressive,” says general manager Carl Wiseheart. “In Barcelona, they get pretty experimental.”

Inside info


Spaniards are notoriously nocturnal: Dinnertime occurs around 10pm, and the bars and clubs don’t start to fill until midnight.

Madrileos like to pregame with calimochos, a drink that’s equal parts red wine and cola and tastes like a poor man’s sangria.

Experience Spanish culture | Get Spanish style | Eat like the Spanish

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