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259 W 19th St., nr. Eighth Ave. (Chelsea)
New York, NY
(1) 212-462-1000 | www.socarratpaellabar.com
HOURSSun.-Thurs.: 12:00pm-3:00pm, 5:00pm-11:00pm; Fri.-Sat.: 12:00pm-3:00pm, 5:00pm-12:00pm
BEST FORLunch; dinner
BARYes - small wine bar
PRICE (PAELLA; TAPA)USD 22-24 per person; USD 7-11
FAMOUS PLATESPaella; fideua; tapas
DRINKS AND WINESpanish wine
# OF SEATSApprox. 25
PRIVATE ROOM AVAILABLE?No
SUBWAY18th St. (1); 14th St.-8th Ave. (A, C, E, L) 23rd St. (1)
Traditional paellas are made to share, and share you must at this cozy Spanish joint: the ‘smallest’ portions are intended for two and even space is shared as everyone squeezes in at a single communal table. The setting is meant to evoke a traditional Spanish village paella spot where neighbors chat over shared meals, though the exposed brick walls and artsy array of paintings speak more to Chelsea chic than small town Spain. But back to the center of the action, those steaming pans of paella: there’s an impressive variety available–from vegetarian to “Black Rice” (made with squid ink), Fideua (made with noodles instead of rice), and the house specialty, Socarrat (which counts chicken, beef, sepia, shrimp, cuttlefish, mussels, cockle clams, and green beans among its many ingredients). All feature a perfect “socarrat” (the delectable crispy bottom layer of the rice that forms in the paella pan), and the servers here are experts at scraping the rice from the bottom of the pan to ensure that you enjoy every last morsel (it’s harder than it looks!).
30-something professionals, foodies, and a handful of Spanish expats
WHAT WE WOULD WEAR
A low-key Euro-chic look, like smart jeans, a classic tailored top, boots, and funky accessories.
GO HERE WITH
Fans of Spanish eats; a friend or two; a date - for getting cozy with each other (and the neighbors) at the communal table
WHY WE LIKE IT
This has to be one of the best places in NYC for paella–no one else can match on quality or range of options. Expect to stuff yourself silly because the portions are huge. We also dig the atmospheric surrounds–perfect for setting the scene on a relaxed date or an evening out with a few friends. (Sure, it’s a bit squishy and you have to share a communal table, but that just adds to the fun.)
WHAT WE WOULD CHANGE
The tapas are passable, but not outstanding. You need to be in the mood for the communal table–this is not the spot for private or confidential conversations.
GOOD TO KNOW
The paella is priced per person, and there’s a minimum of two people per paella order. If you need a bit more space, try the Nolita location–it’s bigger and has private tables. Owner Jesus ‘Lolo’ Manso also runs La Nacional at The Spanish Benevolent Society. If you go on a weekend night without a reservation (or even on a busy weeknight), expect to wait for hours. Takeout, delivery, and catering are all available.
Nolita (New York)
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