The Oxford Dictionary defines traditional tapas as “small Spanish savory dishes, typically served with drinks at a bar.” That Spanish tradition has ignited a trend of small plates that have invaded menus of all cuisine types across America. Food critic extraordinaire Adam Platt ignored those pretenders on the Absolute Best Tapas Bars in New York City list he compiled for top food blog Grub Street. Platt breaks down some of his picks below and we couldn’t help but dive into their menus to find standout Riberas and Ruedas that grace their wine lists. Salud!
Owners Alex Raij and her husband Eder Montero — the culinary masterminds behind New York Spanish standouts Txikito and La Vara — have created a menu that honors tradition, but features unique takes on classic dishes. Platt says “if you’re in the market for the classic tapas at the bar experience — surrounded by boisterous crowds of tapeador revelers, all fueled by a steady stream of faithfully fashioned lamb skewers, silvery anchovies, and crispy, creamy croquetas — this is the place to visit.” EQP is also home to the famed uni panini that the New York Times deemed “the sandwich of the year” when it first hit the menu in 2007.
On the Wine List: A Los Navales Rueda from Nieva and a Ribera del Duero from Condado de Haza.
Superchef Mario Batali oversees this sidecar to his acclaimed Spanish eatery Casa Mono. Platt calls out “an excellent mix of imaginative tapas plates — frizzled baby squid over beds of sweet onions, crab salad with “homemade” sriracha — and slightly reimagined classics [like the] tortilla española stuck with paprika-dusted potato chips.” Jamón’s wine list borrows from Mono’s impressive cellar.
Seamus Mullen’s Iberian gastropub has been going strong since 2011 and has hosted such celebs as Jay-Z, Beyonce and Gwyneth Paltrow. But Platt says the real stars can be found at the small bar up front on the “Snacks and Bites” portion of the menu. “You’ll feel like you’re in tapeador heaven,” says Platt. “Mullen’s own innovations — smoked pork cheeks with quail eggs; the sublime crushed-egg, potato, and ibérico-ham sandwich — are worth the price of admission, and the house tortilla española is one of the best in town.”
Platt says this East Village dining bar “specializes in Basque-style small bites, or pintxos, which are not technically tapas. By whatever name, the $65 small-plates dinner is possibly the finest tapas-esque omakase in town, and so is the egg-and-onion tortilla, which is made fresh to order every time.”
On the Wine List: A Rueda from Martinsancho and Riberas from Finca Torremilanos and Viña Sastre.
Watch Below: Huertas finds a perfect pairing with Garciavelo “Casamoro.”