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Boqueria (image provided by venue)
Photograph: Courtesy Boqueria

The best tapas in NYC

Share a lusty spread of Spanish small plates at these bustling restaurants serving the best tapas NYC has to offer

By Dan Dao, Tolly Wright and Time Out New York editors
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New York City's bustling, hurried lifestyle has made Spain's tradition of relaxing with small plates of tapas and a glass of wine a welcome culinary fixture. At the city's best Spanish restaurants and wine bars, find rustic morsels like wispy serrano ham slices, plump head-on shrimp and crisp patatas bravas meticulously paired with complex Iberian reds, whites and sherries. From a tiny Basque standby in Chelsea to a bustling butcher shop inside of a giant food court, these are the best restaurants for tapas NYC has to offer.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best restaurants in NYC

Best restaurants for tapas in NYC

Txikito
Photograph: Roxana Marroquin

Txikito

Restaurants Spanish Chelsea

Chef Alexandra Raij celebrates the cuisine of Spain’s Basque region at this spartan tapas spot. Though it lacks the bustle of Raij’s previous projects (Tia Pol, El Quinto Pino), her sprawling menu still features some solid Iberian fare. Adventurous eats include breaded-and-fried tongue cutlets; squid cut into wispy strands with sweet onions and pine nuts; and fries with cod-roe mayonnaise. In the end though, expediency—most nights, a small party can get in with little wait—may be the best reason for choosing Txikito over its often-packed forebears.

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Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Chenrui Y.

Alta

Restaurants Mediterranean Greenwich Village

Secreted away in a beautiful West Village brownstone is this romantic, neighborhood haunt. Grab a spot by the bar and order from the ever-changing, well curated wine menu or a glass of their strong and delicious sangria to pair with the extensive menu of small plates. Nibble away at flavorful options like the sweet and savory fried goat cheese with lavender infused honey or the salty and decadent sea urchin with iberico bacon.

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Toro

Restaurants Spanish Chelsea

Chef-owners Jamie Bissonnette and Ken Oringer repackage their beloved Massachusetts alcove as a Meatpacking District colossus, with soaring raftered ceilings and giant windows overlooking the whir of Eleventh Avenue. A mounted bull’s head and dangling jamones are token hat tips to Old World ruggedness, and a mercurial menu sprawls as much as the space, offering 60 traditional and border-crossing tapas.

Manolo Tapas

Restaurants Spanish Washington Heights

Stepping into Washington Height’s Manolo Tapas can feel like a trip to the old country. The rustic design–exposed brick walls, warm red tile floors and large paintings depicting the Spanish countryside–was constructed and decorated with materials imported from Spain, mainly using the remains of older buildings. The menu emphasizes traditional flavors from the Galician region in the northern Iberian peninsula and heavily features seafood options (mussels, tuna, crab) and a few delicacies like pig ears and snouts.

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Sala One Nine
Photograph: Courtesy Oxana Cheryshova

Sala One Nine

Restaurants Spanish Flatiron

While the happy hour deals (half price sangria, spanish wine and beers until 7pm) might make this trendy Spanish spot a bit of a mad house after work, there’s a reason why it’s maintained such a large following in its Flatiron neighborhood since it opened over a decade ago. The low-lit yet invitingly warm restaurant has a lively buzz as it serves an assortment of dishes inspired by the owner’s extensive travels in Spain including duck confit with figs and grilled calamari with hot peppers.

Las Ramblas

Restaurants West Village

Soft incandescent lighting, exposed-brick walls, tall wood-slab two-tops and a flat, wall-mounted fountain would make Las Ramblas sexy and intimate in any neighborhood, but as luck would have it, this tapas bar alighted in the Village. Rustic traditional fare such as gambas Saint Martìn (plumpy shrimp slathered in garlic, lemon and white wine) and setas al jerez con almendras (wild mushrooms with almonds in sherry) arrive sizzling in clay crocks with an intensity of flavor to match their heat.

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Pampano
Photograph: Courtesy Pampano

Pampano

Restaurants Mexican Midtown East

Far from the usual dime-a-dozen taco and burrito holes, this Mexican restaurant calls upon the tastes of the coastal regions south of the border with savory seafood dishes and elegant flavor pairings. While most of the restaurant serves larger plates with hefty price tags, take a spot by the bar for smaller, more affordable, bites that include swordfish dip, filet mignon sliders and elote.

Photograph: Courtesy Yelp/Emi Y.

Gastro Bar at 35th

Restaurants Spanish Hell's Kitchen

Housed in the stylish Tryp Hotel, Gastro Bar is a lively Garment District hot spot for after work revelry. Sit at the long marble bar or one of the wood communal tables and choose among several Spanish-inspired tapas that cover the usual, classic fare (marinated olives, chorizo, cheeses) and more modern options like mini tacos and flat breads. Leave room for the chocolate-heavy dessert menu that features churros and nutella flatbread.

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Photograph: Courtesy The Castello Plan

The Castello Plan

Bars Wine bars Flatbush

Named after the first map of New York–then New Amsterdam–this wine bar is a favorite both in its neighborhood (Ditmas Park) and the rest of the city because of it’s excellent vino selection and friendly, low-key bartenders. While choosing among the dozens of bottle, appreciate the small delightful plates of cured salmon and toasted caraway crostini, brussel sprouts and ricotta, or the cheese and charcuterie selections.

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