Despaña Princeton
Despaña Princeton

Despaña Princeton

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.despanaprinceton.com/
  • Phone: 6099212992x
  • Hours of Operation:
    Cafe, Market & Take-out

    Mon: 11:00 am - 9:00 pm
    Tue - Sat: 11:00 am - 10:00 pm
    Sun: 11:00 am - 9:00 pm

    Full Service Lunch

    Mon - Sun: 11:00 am - 4:00 pm

    Full Service Dinner

    Mon: 4:00 pm - 9:00 pm
    Tue - Sat: 4:00 pm - 10:00 pm
    Sun: 4:00 pm - 9:00 pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX,Discover,MasterCard,Visa
  • Cuisine: Spanish, Tapas / Small Plates
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Beer, Cafe, Counter Seating, Gluten-free Menu, Non-Smoking Restaurant, Patio/Outdoor Dining, Personal wines welcome, Private Room, Takeout, View, Wine, Wine Bar
  • Catering: Despaña offers full service off-site catering. Whether you're having a small get together or a party of more then 100 people, we can bring your favorite cuisine to you. Despaña has the ability to do a large paella show at your event as well.
  • Entertainment: Occasional live music and special events, like flamenco performances.
  • Special Events: Despaña hosts numerous special events throughout the year. From tastings to live music to Flamenco performances. Check out our website and Facebook for news about upcoming events.

Getting there

  • Cross Street: Olden Ave.
  • Public Transit: NJ Transit bus and Princeton Train Station are accessible to the restaurant
  • Parking: Private Lot
  • Parking Details: Despaña features free parking for diners in a well-lit lot. Additional parking can be found on the side streets and Nassau street. Two municipal lots are near by for convenience as well.
A word from Despaña Princeton
Despaña is an all-authentic Spain tapas cafe and restaurant with full service lunch and dinner. Despaña's unique space features a beautiful industrial chic atmosphere with a second floor dinning room and outdoor terrace overlooking scenic Nassau Street. Despaña also offers guests take out from the spacious market featuring all imported goods from Spain and the ability to cater private events.
Continued
Foodspotting photos
See all photos
Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerOutdoor Dining
Despaña Princeton reviews from OpenTable diners
81 reviews since June 24, 2014
Overall Rating4.1
  • Food4.2
    Service4.2
  • Ambiance3.9
    Noise LevelModerate
90% of reviewers would recommend this restaurant to a friend.
great for outdoor dining (54)fit for foodies (45)neighborhood gem (43)good for groups (36)special occasion (16)great for lunch (15)kid-friendly (15)scenic view (8)romantic (7)hot spot (7)notable wine list (3)late-night find (3)great for brunch (2)Show More
  • Great find!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006
    Dined on 10/18/2014
    This was a great find in Princeton. We were looking for something other than Italian or seafood and this fit the bill. The tapas menu was diverse and all the dishes we ordered were delicious. Our server was very helpful as well. Would definitely revisit.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • What not to like...?
    OpenTable Diner Since 2014
    Dined on 10/12/2014
    This place is awesome, from the market on the first floor to the beautiful space upstairs that includes a terrace facing Nassau Street. Our dinner was great, we had different tapas, croquetas , patatas bravas, salmon tartar, pan tumaca, iberico ham that was perfectly cut ( like in Spain ) The service was very attentive and the waittres really knowledgable on the menu. We had 2 paellas ( Mixta, Negra ) hands down best paella I ever had in USA and as good as the best ones we had in Spain. We will come back very soon.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, kid-friendly, notable wine list, scenic view, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Authentic Spanish Food
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 10/3/2014
    Good authentic Spanish food which is difficult to find in NJ. Tapas and soups are varied and interesting. My sons love the Paella. Nice outdoor seating upstairs. One of the better restaurants in Princeton.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great food but poor acoustics
    Feedmeplease
    Dined on 10/3/2014
    We went for the first time to Despana because my husband loves Spanish food. The food was very good (especially the paella), but we had a difficult time hearing each other. Will go back for sure but maybe we will sit outside.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • great tapas
    ActiveNick
    Dined on 9/20/2014
    I love Despaña, quite different from the heavy concentration of seafood & steak restaurants in Princeton
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, neighborhood gem, notable wine list, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Real Tapas in Princeton
    MercerChowVIP
    Dined on 9/19/2014
    Had lunch here a few months ago and came back for supper. Very happy with the food and service. Despaña is a much-needed addition to the Princeton area. Plan to make it a regular.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great paella!
    AiredaleVIP
    Dined on 9/15/2014
    It's been a couple of visits now and I think it might be one of my favorite places in Princeton. Great market on the first floor, excellent appetizers, really good sangria and fanatical about proper paella. I find the prices reasonable, maybe a little steep, but they do a good job of presentation and making the offerings a little more unique and, subsequently, valuable. Would recommend for outdoor dining as well as for large groups. A little outside the main shops and bars/restaurants, but worth the walk.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Yummy
    DeirdreVIP
    Dined on 9/13/2014
    Fantastic food! Can not wait to go back. Paella is the best I ever had
    Special Features:
    good for groups, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Something for everyone
    SPB1
    Dined on 9/12/2014
    Excellent tapas option. Paella is fantastic (order first as it takes 30 minutes) and worth the wait while you enjoy everything from hot tapas to salads to soup to fresh cheeses. Don't forget dessert-almond cake and churros! lot of food and great price.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Another Wonderful Experience
    PatW
    Dined on 9/6/2014
    We had another wonderful dining experience at Despana in Princeton! It was a busy night for the restaurant, but as usual we received excellent attention and service. The food was at its usual best. My partner had the fresh mussels and we shared the excellent vegetarian paella. As always, we received thoughtful and friendly attentiveness from the staff from the manager on down. We also enjoyed shopping in the food specialty shop.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, hot spot, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Amazing Food
    bmwmed19
    Dined on 9/2/2014
    Best paella I've ever had in the United States, and just as good as the best I've had in Spain. Delicious and authentic. We got the paella negra, and also the berenjenas appetizer which was also perfect. Will definitely be back for more!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, late-night find, neighborhood gem, romantic, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Not excited
    OpenTable Diner Since 2009
    Dined on 8/31/2014
    The food was okay. The music was nice but way too loud for us old folks to hear. No matter, we will not be returning.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Wonderful service
    A123VIP
    Dined on 8/26/2014
    The food was good, but the service from Marianne (sp?) was really warm and considerate. We just moved to the Princeton area and tend to gravitate to locally owned spots where owners truly care about there customers. At first blush Despana hit the mark!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for lunch, great for outdoor dining, kid-friendly, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Princeton restaurant with parking?
    foodiewannabe
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    Girls night out was a success. Many larger groups were there, but this is also well suited for more intimate conversations and the noise level did not preclude conversation. I had the "special" soup: cucumber soup which was a lovely pureed with shrimp and avocado on top. If you like ceviche, you'll love this soup! My friend and I split the carafe of house red wine - I would suggest BYOB instead which is an option here. The artichoke fritters were not to my taste, but then again, I did not order them. What was most delicious and made the trip worthwhile, was the paella. We shared the paella mixta which was very fresh, perfectly seasoned, and authentic. I will be back again...
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • YolyOVIP
    Dined on 8/23/2014
    Our first visit to this restaurant was great. The service was terrific, but more extraordinary was the food! We chose to order many different tapas dishes and every one of them was delectable. It was a great way to get acquainted with all the flavors of Spain. It's just too bad that they don't offer Sangria.....it would've completed an otherwise perfect meal.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great tapas!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2003VIP
    Dined on 8/22/2014
    Dined indoors on Friday evening, although the busy rooftop seating looked like a fun place to enjoy a meal. We started with 3 tapas selections: Fried artichokes with lemon, salmon tartar with avocado, and octopus. The octopus was one of the best preparations we have had; very tender, flavorful slices. Also had a trio of Spanish cheeses with honey, marcona almonds, and fruit. For dinner we shared a small paella mixta, which included chicken, chorizo, shrimp and sea bass. Menu alerts diners that paellas take 25-30 minutes to prepare to order, but the timing was perfect. Since it is prepared to order, we asked that the chorizo be of the spicy variety and they were happy to oblige. Wine from Old York Vineyard was a nice addition to the meal.
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Deafening noise
    BernieVIP
    Dined on 8/16/2014
    Our dinner at Despana was defeated by the noise level which made conversation amongst our group of four totally impossible. Maybe that's the way that young people like it but I couldn't recommend the restaurant to anyone over 50. Our waitress was charming. However, I ordered dessert when the other three at our table ordered coffee. Their coffee arrived, they sipped it slowly, but my dessert still didn't arrive. After about 20 minutes, I asked the waitress to bring the check and she said that my dessert would be up very shortly. I tole her that was far too late, and she had it taken off our bill. The delay in the dessert was clearly not her fault, but she didn't come over to explain that the dessert would take some time! Too bad.
    Special Features:
    great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelCannot Recall
  • Great Meal!
    OpenTable Diner Since 2006
    Dined on 8/15/2014
    I was really happy with Despana- the food was delicious (get the bacon wrapped dates!) and the outdoor roof deck was very cute. I would definitely recommend this place to friends and I can't wait to go back!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great Tapas!!!!
    HLCFoodieVIP
    Dined on 8/15/2014
    Absolutely wonderful food and terrific service. Definitely going to make frequent visits!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Loved it here
    Foodlover
    Dined on 8/9/2014
    After looking through a bunch of restaurants in Princeton that were good for my party of 7, we chose Despana. This was the perfect atmosphere, the food was so delicious, the service was great, and we all really enjoyed ourselves. The sangria was a great, fun idea too that we participated in. Special shout outs for the amazing cheese plate (we chose the 3 M named cheeses), the vegetable paella was delicious, the salad with Manchego was fantastic, the list goes on. We really loved it, and I cannot wait to bring my husband back to enjoy Despana again.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, scenic view, neighborhood gem, hot spot
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • GourmetVIP
    Dined on 8/7/2014
    Best tapas in New Jersey, there are just like in Spain.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
  • Great View of Princeton
    PixieguyVIP
    Dined on 8/6/2014
    This Spanish restaurant sits on top of a building overlooking the main street of Princeton. The gazpacho is excellent and freshly made. The paella is a bit overcooked with chewy chunks of seafood and meat. Pricey considering the quality of the food.
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, good for groups, great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great Paella & Sangria
    LuvmesomeSangria
    Dined on 8/3/2014
    The outdoor dining experience on the second floor terrace overlooking Nassau Street at the Despana Princeton was truly enjoyable, we were serenaded by a very fine Spanish guitarist while dining on tasty tapas dishes, a selection of cured meat and cheeses and great paella. The Sangria was very good as well. The service was excellent by a friendly wait staff. Will definitely be back
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • dissapointed.
    onedayatatime
    Dined on 7/30/2014
    food was less than spectacular....was expecting better. The gazpacho was delicious, but the others fell short. Tomate Relleno was probably the worst of them, a bland tasteless tomato (even in the height of tomato season here!). Service was lack luster, got the job done, but not super attentive considering the mass amount of food we were ordering. I would think a server would have been happy to have our table seeing it was going to be a good sized check! Ordered the Paella and again was underwhelmed, but it was seasoned nicely. It is a beautiful restaurant, just wish the food was as good as the surroundings!
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great Tapas and Paella!
    mmmgood
    Dined on 7/27/2014
    We went here with a group of friends and it was a great place to share a bunch of different kinds of food! The paella was really good and perfectly sized. Our server was also very helpful in letting us know how much food was a good amount to share for the number of people we had. Overall a great experience!
    Special Features:
    kid-friendly, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • good Spanish food
    sampler
    Dined on 7/26/2014
    Food was good, considering it is the only Spanish food in town. Food choices are limited and wine list is very limited, especially if you don't want a whole bottle.
    Special Features:
    special occasion
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Another wonderful time!
    PatW
    Dined on 7/23/2014
    We recently celebrated my husband's birthday with family members at Despana Princeton. The tapas, soup, entrees, coffees, and desserts were delicious! Service was exemplary! This was our first lunch time experience, and it couldn't have been more pleasant! We plan to return more often for lunch.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, great for lunch
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Great Tapas
    2goodVIP
    Dined on 7/22/2014
    We've been the first time here and pleasantly surprised. It's really something different. A great feature is certainly the roof top terrace where you can have dinner right over Nassau Street. We've tasted some if the tapas and they were fresh and delicious. Really great quality food. We'll definitely come back to taste some of the many other tapas available.
    Special Features:
    good for groups, great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelQuiet
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • What's not to like?
    TonyBoy
    Dined on 7/19/2014
    Really authentic tapas and paella, sat upstairs on patios overlooking Nassau St. BYOB...So much better than the Ironbound.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Nice dinner
    Yummy
    Dined on 7/19/2014
    We had a few tapas-garlic shrimp, octopus, and cod fritters! All 3 were delicious! My husband and I shared the Paella Negra-which was yummy as well. The Sangria w Despana Red was also delicious! Overall it was a nice night!
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Poorly managed but food good
    ez2pleezVIP
    Dined on 7/18/2014
    Food is generally good but I can't believe the number of ways this rest. Can screw up This time it was delivering all eight tapas plates within five minutes of each other. Ever eat with plates on your lap in a restaurant?
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Despana's paella declines
    PrincetonDiner
    Dined on 7/16/2014
    I've been to Despana's a number of times but, my latest visit was not as pleasant for a foodie. The paella with chicken, fish, and sausage was just not as good as in previous visits. There was much less fish, the paella was saltier, and it just was not up to their prior standard. I hope they return to a better standard. The server was friendly and did do a good job.
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Great neighborhood spot
    brabb
    Dined on 7/11/2014
    Delicious, laid back. Not budget but not crazy expensive either. BYOB, you can also order wine there. While not necessarily a "family restaurant", we carted along my 9 month old and the staff was super helpful and friendly about it. (Plus, my kiddo totally dug the tastes of tapas!) Only thing I'd say that wasn't perfect was the recommended quantity per person, which was 1-2 tapas plus an entree per eater. We ordered 5 tapas, a cheese plate, and a small paella for five of us and it was more than enough. We were stuffed.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • A trip to Spain in Princeton
    FrequentDinerVIP
    Dined on 7/9/2014
    The food at Despana is authentic Spain! Each of the tapas dishes we have tried over two visits have transported us back to our Spain vacation. I just love Tortilla de Patata. This last visit, we enjoyed the cheese stuffed peppers and the Paella Mixto - the rice is so creamy. When the weather cooperates, a table on the 2nd floor patio is the place to sit and savor. Definitely adding Despana to our regular stops.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, good for groups, great for outdoor dining, great for lunch, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Diningdiva
    Dined on 6/28/2014
    The tapas at Despana is truly a dining experience. From the cheeses to the jamon, to the seafood, it is a party of flavors. The service is excellent and helpful in making selections. The Old York Cellars Merlot they carry there was perfect with our meal! Can't wait to return to try the paella.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • OpenTable Diner Since 2007VIP
    Dined on 6/25/2014
    food was tasty and good but is overwhelming Carb based...even the Octopus Tapas was on a slice of potato. there's more margin on starch that meat. Need more choices of protein that is not supplemented or constured to be more by adding carbs
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • Ratings-Only Reviews
    Based on 45 ratings-only reviews submitted since June 24, 2014
    • Overall Rating4.1
    • Food4.1
    • Ambiance3.9
    • Service4.2
    • Noise LevelModerate
  • The following 79 reviews are from the Despaña Princeton reviews archive.
  • Very good ambiance and food
    FalconerVIP
    Dined on 6/21/2014
    Great location, brings culinary diversity to the area. Food and service was very good. Sangria mix's taste was average (light on taste/fruit), and the flan was also average Will come back though for the paella and tapas.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, special occasion, great for lunch, late-night find, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelEnergetic
  • Excellent Paella
    TheHungryStudent
    Dined on 6/20/2014
    Every aspect of the Paella was excellent: it was better than what I had in Spain!
    Special Features:
    great for outdoor dining, romantic
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Outdoor terrace
    Hope
    Dined on 6/20/2014
    Great for tapas and paella. Has nj wine or byo. Eggplant tapa amazing and try Spanish hams and chreses
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, great for outdoor dining, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate
    I would recommend this to a friend.
  • Excellent - again...
    OriginalSix
    Dined on 6/15/2014
    Our second visit and it was as terrific as the first. Three of us shared the paella mixta for two, and some tapas (calamari, tortilla, albondigas, & piquillos) and everything was excellent. We'll definitely be back.
    Special Features:
    fit for foodies, neighborhood gem
    • Food
    • Ambiance
    • Service
    • Noise LevelModerate