Time for Tapas

Paired with a lovely sangria or a sparkling cavas, tapas make a wonderful and fun meal for group sharing.  Enjoy three of our favorite choices in Manhattan, from midtown to the Upper West Side.

Sol y Sombra fits the growing tapas, small-plate trend by offering a full menu of traditional Spanish choices along with a nice selection of sangrias and wines.  Daily wine specials encourage make buying a full bottle a no-brainer, a better choice than the somewhat sweet sangria poured here.  It’s difficult to narrow down the choice of tapas to a few, so we suggest dining with either someone who is very hungry or bringing along a group of people to share the wealth at this loud, popular restaurant.  Traditional cold Spanish selections like albondigas (meatballs), broiled octopus, white asparagus vinaigrette, and queso manchego were predictable, if not exciting.  Warmer dishes like the grilled shrimp with sea salt or the grilled chorizo had a bit more of a kick.  Larger plates are also available including a vegetarian paella and arroz con pollo.   A traditional flan and a house special torrejas, bread dipped in spiced wine with vanilla ice cream, were nice finishers.  www.SolySombraNYC.com462 Amsterdam Avenue (212) 400-4036
Buceo 95The perfect place for after-concert tapas and wine, Buceo95 welcomes you with a hearty bienvenidos. Get to know the charming host (and sommelier) John who will suggest a Spanish small-plate feast that might start with a glass of wine and a plate of Spanish cheeses, followed by grilled baby octopus over saffron piquillo mashed potatoes, churrasco con salsa verde, or delicious dates wrapped with chorizo and goat cheese. If you’re not too hungry, there’s also a selection of Spanish pintxos, perfect nibbles to pair with a bold Spanish tempranillo.  If you can’t score one of the high-topped tables, a seat at the bar works very well, as the small restaurant is always crowded and lively. Bring a group of friends because you’ll want to try as many dishes as possible. 39 European and South American wines are available by the quartino along with a selection of port, sherry, and champagne.  Enjoy one with Buceo95’s wonderful flan, a house specialty.  www.Buceo95.com 201 West 95th Street (212) 662-7010
The dual-personality La Fonda del Sol in Grand Central Terminal offers Josh de Chellis’s modern take on Spanish tapas in a modern-day reincarnation of Joe Baum’s famed restaurant of the same name.  Designed by Adam Tihany, the restaurant stands out from other business-oriented midtown choices.  The lower-level casual space is bright and minimalist in décor with a full bar and menu of tapas.  Upstairs, in the luxe airy dining room, selections from the tapas menu accompany an extensive entrée menu.  Traditional Catalán favorites like tomato bread, patatas “bravas” and Serrano ham grace the menus in both rooms.  To create a traditional Spanish feast, try the tuna tacos or blistered piquillo peppers (“padrones”) to start, followed by some of the heartier selections like skate a la plancha or chicken with chorizo and rice.  Desserts include Spanish-influenced tres leche cake as well as rice pudding with roasted pineapple and chile de arbol.  Spanish wines and cavas are offered along with Spanish-influenced martinis.   Because of its location, the restaurant is very popular during lunch and after work.  Try for a reservation after theater or on the weekend when you can enjoy a less frenetic ambiance  www.PatinaGroup.com/Fonda-Del-Sol 200 Park Avenue (212) 867-6767

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