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With a salsa Cubano band playing most nights of the week, this spirited sangria-and-tapas eatery often gets as loud as the corner of Houston and Allen outside. Oliva primarily peddles traditional tapas, from a fat wedge of tortilla de patatas (potato omelette) and warm, ham-flecked croquettes to plump olives. A few Basque-tinged bites are also on offer: The tastiest is the txangurro, crab bulging with tarragon and a dash of cognac. Just as intriguing is the sweet-meets-savory slender endive fitted with a walnut smeared in cabrales, Spain’s blue cheese, and a squiggle of caramel. The buzzy, tightly packed room is lined with wooden tables spray-painted with images of red bulls. !Ole!
161 E Houston St
|Cross street:||at Allen St|
|Transport:||Subway: F, V to Lower East Side–Second Ave|
|Price:||Average main course: $16. Average tapas: $8. AmEx, MC, V|
|Opening hours:||Mon–Thu 5:30pm–midnight; Fri 5:30pm–1am; Sat, Sun 11am–1am|
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