You remember that list I made of all the restaurants I wanted to visit when I returned to the city? Well, my first day back I got to try out my number one on the list. That's right. The new Spanish tapas restaurant, El Manolo, on 176th street and Broadway. To say the least, this is quite possibly my new favorite restaurant in New York. The food, service, ambiance; all spectacular. So spectacular that I went back to the restaurant every week for the next two weeks. Here's the breakdown.
Price: $$$$/$$$$$ (about $8 per small plate and about $21 per large plate)
Overall Experiences: The first time we went to Manolo, we ordered Gambas (shrimp in a divine garlic sauce), Croquetas (fried potato croquettes with cod), Caldo Gallego (a soup filled with chorizo, beans, and greens), Tortilla Española (a thick omelette filled with onions and potatoes), and Paella Valenciana. Everything was fresh, flavourful, and perfectly seasoned. Growing up with a Spanish great-grandmother who was an outstanding cook, the food came pretty darn close to hers. The second time we went to Manolo, we ordered the same things except the Croquetas that day were made of Spanish ham and chorizo. Quite possibly the best fried things I've ever tasted. (Even better than the Cod Croquetas.) The third time we went, we went with a larger group. Eight people to be exact. We ordered the cheese plate (pungent but oh so tasty), Papas Bravas (potatoes with a spicy kick), Gambas, Peppers stuffed with some kind of meat (a very refreshing and light cold dish), Paella Negra, and tons of other plates. The best plate that night though was the eerie looking Paella Negra. If you enjoy unique dishes, I would highly recommend that you try the Paella Negra. It was beyond delicious. Oh, and the desserts are just as amazing as the main courses. I tried the creme brulee, Torta de Santiago (an almond pastry), and Un Cantó para Kiara (a chocolate, raspberry truffle). All were scrumptiously sweet. So from a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being I would personally drag you to this restaurant to try the food, I'd give Manolo a 15. Definitely, check out this restaurant! (And go with a group because the more people, the cheaper the bill.)