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Where to Enjoy Tapas & Small Plates in NYC

The Big Apple is home to some of the best and busiest eating spots throughout the country. The city harbors citizens from all ethnic backgrounds, forming many communities with food and fun that gifts you with different, authentic cultural experiences.

delicious spanish food served at nyc tapas restaurants

While you’re out on the town, you’ll probably crave some small ethnocentric plates during your stay. If you’re open to trying new things and developing a keen taste for Spanish, Mediterranean or Basque-inspired tapas, check out my list of the best tapas restaurants in NYC below.


Boqueria W40th

260 W. 40th St., New York, NY, 10018
Phone: 212-255-6047
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Boqueria W40th
Source: Boqueria W40th

Situated in the Garment District of NYC, Boqueria W40th is an excellent spot for Spanish-style small plates.

After you finish your light meal, you can take a stroll over to Madame Tussaud’s New York wax museum, just one block away.

Their signature churros and the roasted green peppers are an absolute hit. These appetizers give you a perfect balance between sweet, spicy, and savory to satisfy all of your cravings!

The chic and sleek atmosphere offers a great list of wines and tapas perfect for a private dinner with friends.


Huertas

107 1st Ave., New York, NY, 10003
Phone: 212-228-4490
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Huertas
Source: Huertas

In walking distance from Tompkins Square Park, Huertas is a Basque eatery to fulfill all of your tapas-related desires. According to many previous customers, Huertas is one of the best restaurants in East Village.

Given its cozy and welcoming vibe, you’ll automatically feel drawn to their “Cook for you” section of the menu, where you can experience the chef’s favorites.

Out of all their Spanish-style small plates, the Basque dogs and kale salad are my personal go-to’s. Huertas is a fantastic spot for a family reunion dinner.


Alta

64 W. 10th St., New York, NY, 10011
Phone: 212-505-7777
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Alta
Source: Alta

Located down the street from a once-haunted apartment that harbored Mark Twain’s historical landmark, Alta is the perfect tapas bar for your adventurous tastebuds.

Alta is just a block away if you’re booking your stay at the Larchmont Hotel. This restaurant holds a comfy atmosphere with several small dining rooms that would suit an intimate company dinner.

The Mediterranean-style small plates are nothing to scoff at either. My favorites were the Brussel sprouts and the bacon-wrapped dates and olives.

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Bar Jamon

125 E. 17th St., New York, NY, 10003
Phone: 212-253-2773
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Bar Jamon
Source: Bar Jamon

Perched nearly a hop and a skip away from The Stand NYC Comedy Club, Bar Jamon is one of the best tiny tapas bars near Union Square.

Union Square Park and the Greenmarket are right down the street for your added convenience. Bar Jamon exists as the “other half” of Casa Monos, providing you with a unique experience if you visit.

The intimate experience you’ll receive from this dimly-illuminated wine bar is perfect for a romantic evening out. In my opinion, the pan con tomate is a must for something both light and filling.


Despana

408 Broome St., New York, NY, 10013
Phone: 212-219-5050
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Despana
Source: Despana

Despana is a tapas bar that meets a Spanish market, giving you both the dining and shopping experience all in one.

Despana is often dubbed the hidden gem of Soho and is worth a visit if you’re in the area. The laidback and casual atmosphere makes it easy to sit down and grab a quick bite.

If you plan to give it a go, I recommend the mini chorizo and their delectable truffle oil chips. This restaurant would be a nice spot for a private lunch with friends.


El Born

651 Manhattan Ave., Brooklyn, NY, 11222
Phone: 347-844-9295
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El Born
Source: El Born

El Born is a cushy, Spanish-style tapas restaurant located in Brooklyn. Not too far from McCarren Park, this tapas eatery surrounds itself with bustling city life and activities.

This restaurant’s chill vibe goes great with their signature “Tapas Tuesday” menu, where you have several small Spanish plate classics to pick from.

My recommendations are the shishito peppers with lime zest and bonito flakes and their delicious daily special croquetas. El Born is a neat spot for a birthday lunch.


La Nacional

239 W. 14th St., New York, NY, 10011
Phone: 917-388-2888
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La Nacional
Source: La Nacional

Sitting one block away from the Rubin Museum of ancient and modern Himalayan artwork, La Nacional is the perfect hangout spot built in a Spanish eatery.

After a nice meal, you can take a leisurely walk over to Jackson Square, one of NYC’s oldest parks. La Nacional is unique in its laidback approach.

My personal favorite small plates were their croquetas and their signature patatas brava. If you’re in the area on a Thursday night, you can drop by for some snacks and impromptu tango lessons. You might consider this place for a date night.


La Vara

268 Clinton St., Brooklyn, NY, 11201
Phone: 718-422-0065
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La Vara
Source: La Vara

Perched next to Cobble Hill Park in Brooklyn, NYC, La Vara is a beautiful Spanish restaurant with Jewish and Moorish influence in many small dishes.

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If you have some time before or after your visit to La Vara, you can visit the Cobble Hill Cinemas just a few blocks away.

This woman-owned tapas bar holds quite the modern and energized environment. In my opinion, the garbanzo fritos and huevos rellenos are both immediate yeses. The intimate setting is great for wedding dinners.


Lamano

Multiple locations
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Lamano
Source: Lamano

Situated ideally between the Gotham Comedy Club and The Joyce Theater, Lamano offers Spanish-inspired tapas and wine for all in Chelsea.

Its West Village location is a quick stroll from the Jefferson Market Garden. Both locations have a welcoming atmosphere with plenty of small plates.

Out of their generous selection of tapas, my favorite dish consists of the patatas bravas with brava sauce and their signature aioli. Consider renting the place for a private family dinner.


Salinas

136 9th Ave., New York, NY, 10011
Phone: 212-776-1990
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Salinas
Source:Salinas

Salinas is a lush Spanish tapas eatery in Chelsea with a gorgeous garden room. This tapas bar has an extensive small plate menu for your consideration.

Salinas is a spot to visit if you’re looking for more than just the classics. I recommend the coliflor al yogurt, made with greek yogurt, multicolor cauliflower and citrus pepper.

If you have a taste for seafood, my favorite small plate is the tosta de bacalao, which consists of smoked codfish, country toast, pepper, honey and olives. The garden room makes a fantastic spot for private parties.


Tomiño Taberna Gallega

192 Grand St., New York, NY, 10013
Phone: 212-933-4763
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Tomiño Taberna Gallega
Source: Tomiño Taberna Gallega

Tomino Taberna Gallega is a casual Spanish diner and storefront in Little Italy NYC. The atmosphere of this Spanish tapas bar is vibrant yet relaxing.

The Galician-inspired small plates hold ingredients from both land and sea. If you’re a spice lover like myself, then the pimientos estilo padron are a total hit.

They’re made using blistered peppers and well-seasoned with sea salt. In my opinion, the best seafood-based appetizer is the arroz negro, cooked with bomba rice parsley aioli, squid and squid ink. Consider Tomino for your next corporate dinner.


Txikito

240 9th Ave., New York, NY, 10001
Phone: 212-242-4730
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Txikito
Source: Txikito

This Spanish and Basque-style restaurant sits smack dab in the center of Chelsea. If you give this tapas spot a visit, be sure to take a walk through the historical High Line park built over an old rail line.

The city and river views will be breathtaking after a good meal. The warm and intimate atmosphere pairs well with their kroketas prepared with salt cod.

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Another excellent tapas option would be their piperrak cooked with blistered Gernika peppers. Txikito is ideal for a dinner with friends or a date.


Pil Pil

265 E. 78th St., New York, NY, 10075
Phone: 212-988-3788
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Pil Pil
Source: Pil Pil

Pil Pil is a quaint, cozy wine and tapas bar between Lenox Hill and Yorkville. The Spanish-inspired restaurant is right down the street from John Jay Park and has buzzing life circled all around it.

The tapas and wine eatery possesses a reasonably intimate and somewhat romantic vibe, making it a great place for date night.

My favorite small plates are the bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with ricotta cheese and the grilled bread with garlic and chorizo.


Nai

84 2nd Ave., New York, NY, 10003
Phone: 212-677-1030
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Nai
Source: Nai

Nai is an incredibly modern tapas bar with Spanish-esque small plates and fare. Nestled in the center of Ukrainian Village, this eatery is across the street from a theater club and theater workshop to fulfill your entertainment needs.

If you give this tapas bar a try, I have a few notable small plates I enjoyed most. The cauliflower and the Brussel sprouts are both filling and refreshing.

Nai is also unique with its authentic Spanish experience realized through flamenco dance performances. Consider this restaurant when you want to host a reunion dinner with friends.


Tia Pol

205 10th Ave., New York, NY, 10011
Phone: 212-675-8805
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Tia Pol
Source: Tia Pol

Tia Pol is a tiny tapas restaurant sitting across the street from Clement Clarke Moore Park. The small plates bar is one of Chelsea’s many great eateries throughout the area.

The Chelsea Piers are just a few blocks away, giving you an excellent view of the Hudson River after you finish eating.

The atmosphere of Tia Pol is rather fun and energetic, making your meal much more than a flavorful experience.

My favorite tapas are the patatas bravas and the garbanzos fritos. Their private dining room is ideal for a smaller birthday dinner.


Once you plan your trip, you’ll find that the tapas restaurants in NYC feel almost limitless. Your itinerary will be packed with all there is to do in such a dynamic and diverse city.

The above tapas bars, with their amazing flavors and atmosphere, will be the highlight of your trip. And for the next morning’s breakfast, you should head to these spots!

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Written by Brian Nagele

Brian attended West Virginia University, then started his career in the IT industry before following his passion for marketing and hospitality. He has over 20 years experience in the restaurant and bar industry.

As a former restaurant owner, he knows about running a food business and loves to eat and enjoy cocktails on a regular basis. He constantly travels to new cities tasting and reviewing the most popular spots.

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