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Posts Tagged ‘Tía Pol’

Tia Pol taking reservations

Last night, we met our friends Yael and Bryan, who were visiting from London, and a big group of their friends at The Half King in Chelsea. John and Amy, who you might remember from previous posts as they are frequent dining companions and always willing to help us cross somewhere off The List (Keste most recently), were in attendance and looking for somewhere to eat dinner so I sent them to Tia Pol.

I am smitten with Tia Pol and have been for several years (although I realize now that I have never written a proper review of this gem…for shame). It came to my attention recently (thanks, Jess) that Tia Pol has started taking reservations. I was incredulous until I went to the restaurant’s Website and there it was: we are now taking reservations for parties of 2 to 10.

I don’t know how to react to this change. Assuming that I can actually get a reservation, I suppose the change is a good thing, but going and hovering over a glass of cava and an order of fried chickpeas in the cramped bar area is part of the experience (for better or worse). I hope that the new reservation policy does not portend other, more dramatic changes (I would hate to see Kefi’s fate befall Tia Pol). For those of you who have been deterred from going to Tia Pol by the likelihood of an hour-long wait, you have no more excuses. It’s time for you to experience the best tapas in New York (for now at least).

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Top tapas

Last week, we visited one of our favorite spots in the city – Tía Pol.  We discovered Tía Pol in 2006, two years after this delightful spot opened (it’s unclear why it took us so long to get there, but we’ve been trying to make up for lost time ever since).  It seems that Tía Pol has only grown in popularity since we first started going there.  Despite the loss of chef Alex Raij earlier this year, the food is as good as ever.  (Those in the know have heard that Alex just opened a new tapas spot, Txkito, which will surely be added to the list as soon as I get around to updating it).  In addition to great food, Tía Pol offers great value…although $6 tapas can add up to a surprisingly high bill (particularly when you throw in a few glasses of wine) and beware the nightly specials, which are much more expensive than the regular menu items. 

The only downside of Tía Pol is the size of the restaurant, which results inevitably in long waits.  There is a bar area where you can bide your time, but it gets very crowded.  Tía Pol has one large table and will take reservations for parties of 6-8 (at least this use to be the case).  If you haven’t snagged a reservation at the big table, be prepared to wait, but rest assured that the food will be worth the wait.  Here are some of our favorite items on the menu:

  • patatas bravas – rough cut potatoes with spicy aioli (simply amazing)
  • croquetas de jamón y croquetas del día – ham croquettes and croquette of the day
  • garbanzos fritos – fried chickpeas (a great snack to tide you over while you wait)
  • chorizo con chocolate – palacios chorizo with bittersweet chocolate
  • huevos rellenos al pimentón de la vera – deviled eggs (the best deviled eggs)
  • montadito de crema de habitas con beyos – fava bean puree, beyos cheese on toasted bread

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While I compose my thoughts (pictures, too!) on our wonderful weekend in the Berkshires, I wanted to highlight my favorite wine bar in NYC. Blue Ribbon Downing Street Bar is one of those places (like Tía Pol) that I almost hate to blog about as it’s such a small spot and I don’t want to let anyone else in on my secret. Admittedly, the cat was out of the bag a long time ago on Tía Pol and the same is probably true of BRB. And, let’s be honest, my nascent blog is probably not yet (yet!) at a point where it’s amassed a broad enough following that my commentary makes a difference. We discovered BRB over the summer and we’ve tried to visit every few weeks since our fateful visit in June. BRB has everything that I want in a wine bar – extensive selection of wines by the glass (25+ wines) from an ever-changing and interesting wine list, wines available by the taste as well as by the glass (absolutely critical!), knowledge and nice staff (who are always happy to let you try a taste of a taste), and yummy snacks. I don’t recommend BRB for a meal, but it’s great for a pre-dinner snack (don’t miss the egg shooters). I often lament that BRB is not in my ‘hood (or vice versa)…oh, to be a regular…but it’s probably for the best, as I drink plenty of wine already!

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