38 E 19th St
New York, NY 10003
Well you may have guessed I would be a fan of tapas restaurants, given that I framed this blog as sampling the restaurants of NYC the way one would sample many dishes at a tapas restaurant...basically anything with many flavors is De-lish in my book! So much more interesting than a one-flavor meal... don't think I'll ever be a big fan of those one-dish casserole recipes!
Have been to a few tapas restaurants in Manhattan, and this was my 2nd time to Pipa on 19th St. I remember liking it a lot the first time, and still agree the 2nd. It's got a plus in the ambiance department right from the get-go given that it shares its space with a chandelier store, and the chandeliers hang throughout the restaurant (complete with price tags in case you get the urge!). Tables are lit by small candles and the chandeliers, it creates a cozy atmosphere, if a bit dark. We took the parents who were visiting, and they struggled to see the menu in the darkness, eventually a waiter brought over a small flashlight!
It can get quite crowded and loud at Pipa; if you can get a table up front near the window that's key as it's slightly set-off from the rest. Otherwise there are many long shared tables. At 7pm on a Friday it wasn't so crowded yet. Price-wise it's not cheap, but the quality is good. I HIGHLY recommend their sangria, and I can be pretty picky about Sangria. It was delicious with nice chunks of fruits such as plum, apple & mango in it.
Between 4 of us we got a lot of tapas to share, and enjoyed them all. The whole table LOVED the Gambas al ajillo--shrimp with roasted garlic & olive oil, so tasty; and the 'sauce' (olive oil & butter? with garlic) was amazing when the bread was dipped in it.
We tried two kinds of croquettes-- we liked the ham ones a lot; shrimp & crab were alright. Who would have thought spinach would be so good---Spinach w/ garlic & cranberries? yum! I really enjoyed the chopped chicken & fennel salad- nice size, good mixture of flavors, green apples, chopped salad, etc. We also tried stuffed piquillo peppers with shrimp & crab that were decent, and very good, rich scallops wrapped with serrano ham and topped with caramelized onions.
Service was good, though again it wasn't quite crowded yet. An interesting place to take guests, and a delicious and romantic place for sangria and snacks!
Click here for Blogsoop reviews of Pipa