It may seem hard to imagine, but there was a time when you couldn't get tapas in Spanish restaurants. Back in those antideluvian days, Spanish food met caldo gallego, paella, and big, garlicky plates of seafood. I miss those days! Do you? Well, a few of these dinosaurs are still around!
It doesn't get more old-school than this venerable Spanish restaurant, best known for its immense lobsters.
It's not what you would call fine dining, nor will the decor win any design awards. But if you want to go eat some garlicky paella and cheap red wine and check back into a older, more laid-back time, this is the place.
A lot has changed on Bleecker Street, but one this that hasn't is this beloved, reliable Spanish restaurant, a holdover from an era when little was expected from restaurants other than good food, cheap prices, and clean plates. It has all that -- but what really counts here is character.
Generations of Greenwich Villagers ate their first paella or tapas here, coming back again and again in the subsequent years to once more settle back into big booths, eat garlic shrimp, and get happily trashed on sangria. Good times!
Old-time Spanish restaurants sometimes succumb to erosion, but somehow Toledo never has, which is why it's constantly busy. Get in a Don Draper mood and have some steak, some shrimp, and some sangria.
Murray Hill locals have been going to this reliable, intimate Spanish restaurant for years, thanks to the hearty food, good sangria, and homey atmosphere.
I think I went to El Charro Espanol the first time at the age of 19, on a date. I must have been back at least once or twice a year since, always getting pretty much the same thing, and never feeling let down or disappointed. These are the kind of institutions that you just never want to see change.
Always fun, always cheap, and always delivering big portions of food, El Boqueron is the type of Spanish restaurant that sustained generations of New Yorkers, but is now largely extinct. El Boqueron never got the memo though.
If you've spent any time in New York's old-time Spanish restaurants, you've come to expect very big lobsters served with very cheap wine and lots of delicious, garlicky Spanish comfort food. And that is what you get at Francisco's, down to the jot and tittle.