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  • Despaña Princeton

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Despaña Princeton
Despaña Princeton

Despaña Princeton Details

  • Dining Style: Casual Elegant
  • Website: http://www.despanaprinceton.com
  • Email: info@despanaprinceton.com
  • Phone: (609) 921-2992
  • Hours of Operation: Café & Market Mon-Sun 11am -10pm

    Take Out Mon-Sun 11am -10pm

    Full Service Lunch Mon-Sun 12pm - 4pm

    Full Service Dinner Mon-Sun 5pm - 10pm
  • Payment Options: AMEX, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
  • Cuisine: Spanish, Tapas / Small Plates
  • Dress Code: Casual Dress
  • Accepts Walk-Ins: Yes
  • Additional Details: Banquet/Private Rooms, 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 & Promotions: Despaña hosts numerous special events through out the year. From tastings, 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 dinners in a privately lighted lot.
A word from Despaña Princeton
Despaña is an all-authentic Spain tapas cafe and restaurant. With full service lunch and dinner, Despaña features a beautiful atmosphere with second floor indoor and outdoor seating overlooking scenic Nassau Street.
Foodspotting photos
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Awards voted by OpenTable diners
  • Diners' Choice WinnerGood for Groups
  • Diners' Choice WinnerOutdoor Dining
Diner Reviews
  • "Great tapas and unusual, tasty paella. The staff is friendly and patient. Nice little Spanish take-out and mini grocery."
    Dined on 4/18/2014
  • "We requested a paella without sausage, but the paella came with it. The person who does not eat pork, ate her first bite without realizing she was eating sausage! The server did not notice the oversight, but since everything takes so long there, we did not mention it. We will never go back!"
    Dined on 4/10/2014
  • "We had a very pleasant experience. I arrived early and there was room to work in a very nice atmosphere. I enjoyed a great pitcher of sangria made with house wine. The atmosphere for two was terrific, we sat at a high table above the stairs and had a great perspective on the street below in an area of low buildings. The noise level was low so we could enjoy our conversation. The service was attentive and prompt. We enjoyed one of Paella dishes, which is a house specialty it was excellent and the small portion with several tapas dishes was perfect. We will be back. The only limitation is there is only one small unisex bathroom, which could be an issue when it gets busy. The store and deli on the first level is great as well."
    Dined on 4/9/2014
  • "For our family reunion luncheon, we are so glad that we remembered that Despana, a new Spanish restaurant was now in town. We polled our kids and they were all in favor of trying something "new." Immediately on arrival we knew that we made an excellent choice. The downstairs greeter, the waitress upstairs, the colorful "ambiance" and, most important, the FOOD was excellent !! Wearing two ( much needed ) hearing aids, I had no difficulty hearing our dinner conversation...which is a rarity in most other local Princeton restaurants...they are so noisy! We all agreed to return to Despana for our next family reunion, and it can not be soon enough! Thank you for this great dining experience!"
    Dined on 4/6/2014
  • "Despite being quit empty (albeit a Tuesday night) it took way too long to get our appetizers and entrees. We were told that the paper in the order machine in the kitchen ran out and the cooks didn't know there was an order. We were offered a free entree after eating 2; which we declined. With that said the food was good and we were satisfied at the end of the dinner. The server was also good but should have been aware of the delays especially considering how empty the restaurant was. I like the fact that this is a BYOB restaurant with the alternative to purchase bottles of wine from a local winery or a sangria mix to add to your own wine. I will probably go back when in the mood for paella."
    Dined on 4/8/2014
  • "Overall I thought the food was very good, with some appetizers and paella being better than others. The octopus, which came highly recommended, was good but not great. The bruschetta type bread with prosciutto was outstanding. Some things were great, others were good. The paella was very well done, and appears to be a signature dish. A large was big enough for 3, a small was probably enough for 2 if you were having appetizers and a dessert. The desserts were a little limited, not outstanding, but satisfied a sweet tooth. The market downstairs seems to have some good, albeit pricey, options and the "pick a wine and we'll mix it into your sangria" is a really fun idea and the sangria was the highlight. Worth checking out..."
    Dined on 3/27/2014
  • "The food at Despana is unbelievably authentic and fresh. Our party of six enjoyed sharing several small plates before our entrees. The patatas bravas-with the perfect amount of spiciness,and gambas al ajio(shrimp in garlic)were among our favorites!! The preparations and menu choices are stellar!! You could only get a better paella by traveling to Spain! Previously a BYOB establishment, the restaurant now sells local NJ wines which are actually very good and reasonable. On the first floor there is a well stocked store of imported items so you can attempt to recreate the delicacies enjoyed here! I would recommend this restaurant highly for anyone who wants to have a taste of perfection and authenticity."
    Dined on 3/28/2014
  • "nice that it is a byob. service was very good. watch your food choices. we did tapas. gazpacho was weak. would not order it again. peppers stuffed with goat cheese was good. the tortilla with toasts and aioli was very good. the meat platter for $21 was not good. very little meat and not very flavorful. we would go back (not run back) sometime in the future but definitely order differently. a little disappointing but a great idea for a local restaurant."
    Dined on 3/22/2014
  • "Service and food were top notch. Excellent place to have an early Sunday dinner and watch futbol"
    Dined on 3/23/2014
  • "Group tried a number of different tapas and paellas and everyone was very happy! Liked the sangria "dry" mix (dry as in you need to BYOB). Desserts were also awesome! Great service from start to finish!"
    Dined on 3/22/2014
  • "The first time we ate at Despana, we enjoyed a quiet dinner and conversation. This time, when we arrived the music was so loud that we could not hear conversation at a normal volume level, nor could we hear our waitress and had to ask her to repeat herself a number of times. We asked the waitress twice to have the sound turned down, and the second time she came back to tell us that it was impossible to turn the sound down, because the sound level was set by "corporate policy." Huh? We will not be returning to Despana."
    Dined on 3/16/2014
  • "Excellent paella. Service - fair at best, even tho uncrowded."
    Dined on 3/13/2014
  • "We went to Despana for dinner with friends for a casual Friday night. The atmosphere is fun and welcoming! You feel as though you are in a NYC restaurant due to the multi-level layout. The kitchen is quick and we ordered multiple tapas and they brought thing out at a nice pace. The tapas were all enough for four people to try but not so large that they would interfere with your appetite for the main course. The Paella was smoky and savory. We tried two different versions of Paella; one with rice and the other over crispy Spanish noodles. Both had seafood that was cooked perfectly."
    Dined on 3/7/2014
  • "While these IVY LEAGUE waitstaff are sweet and charming, I would have appreciated more attention to detail...e.g.......remembering to bring the entrees we ordered...ALL the entrees, not just some. And....how do you run out of FLAN at a Spanish restaurant on a Saturday night? You know what else would have been nice????? a coffee refill !!!!!!! DESPANA: that rotating waitstaff....we had at least three different waitstaff/bussers/food carriers....NONE of whom got it right.......again...charming, sweet, but NOT PROFESSIONAL.......if you charge Princeton prices...how about some IVY LEAGUE service!! Add some quality control to your waitstaff..........hope you get it together...because the food was very good!"
    Dined on 3/8/2014
  • "I love BYOB restaurants and this one also offers wines from a local winery if in need. I thought the prices was reasonable. The paella is authentic and many may need to grow a taste for theirs. The octopus salad was awesome but the artichoke fritters needed some seasoning. I will definitely return to try some of their other entrees. Looking forward to dining on the outdoor balcony come the spring."
    Dined on 3/1/2014
  • "We have been to this establishment twice and liked it very much both times. We have sampled a variety of the tapas - the cod bollites, the fried eggplant, and the tortilla were all terrifice - and had the mixed Paella - good but a little light on the seafood and meats. Food is very good and the service is friendly. This is a great place for an unpretentious, informal meal."
    Dined on 3/1/2014
  • "Wonderful! Food is great and so are the people. Paella was the best and it was my first time trying it, and I was completely satisfied."
    Dined on 2/14/2014
  • "We ate here on a Saturday night and upon arrival, the place was packed. We were seated in an odd configuration at a table for two but with another diner's back immediately to the side of us, practically touching our table. I was worried we would bump into the other diner every time I reached for more tapas. The tapas themselves were a mixed bag. Delicious croquettes and garlic shrimp but the patats bravas were a little soggy and only so-so. The paella rice was delcious but the fish, shrimp and chicken in the dish lacked flavor. Overall, we were disappointed, as I was so excited to see a tapas restaurant come to Princeton. I probably wouldn't go back as there are much better restaurant choices in the area."
    Dined on 2/22/2014
  • "Yes, we were there for about 3 hours. A light touch a bit earlier that someone had booked the table and were waiting would have worked better. The grim faced enforcer then sent to tell us was less effective, but we moved on promptly anyway. The meal was great and everyone enjoyed the room. RRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR"
    Dined on 2/22/2014
  • "We've been to many Spanish restuarants over the years where the food is terrific but heavy and you walk out feeling awful. Despana was a bit different. My wife and I shared 4 small plates and split a small paella. The food was universally fresh, light and delicious. The sangria bar is a nice idea - bring the wine of your choice - they supply the fruit in an earthen jar - and enjoy. My kids both enjoyed the spaghetti with chorizo. The desserts were also fresh and very tasty. Service was attentive and friendly. We'll definately visit Despana again."
    Dined on 2/17/2014
  • "Service was inattentive and minimalist. Ordered diet soda and was given a can and a small glass -- asked for ice and was given about four small cubes. Bread before meal was very average, slightly warmed, and served with a plate of olive oil but no seasoning. Our tapas was okay -- but not seasoned. My wife and I both ordered paellas -- hers was full of mushrooms (not mentioned on the menu) and okay but not well seasoned, and so it came off as a little salty but nothing more. Mine had no mushrooms (granted, a different paella option from the menu) but was also salty/not seasoned. Casual-style restaurant but pricy for what it was with little attention to detail, bland food, and mediocre service. Not awful, but wouldn't recommend."
    Dined on 2/16/2014
  • "Our seafood "salad" was predominantly onions, and the paella overwhelmingly greasy and salty. The ambiance and service make it a nice place to dine, especially at that price, but for food, go elsewhere. If I wanted to eat unhealthy, I'd get a slider."
    Dined on 2/14/2014
  • "Very good food, nice Spanish dishes, superior service"
    Dined on 2/14/2014
  • "Food was ok - not great - paella poor - service lousy - tables and chairs awkwardly placed/soaced"
    Dined on 2/14/2014
  • "great BYOB!! Love all the tapas we tried and the paella was delicious! definitely recommend the octopus and the gigantic muscles!"
    Dined on 2/1/2014
  • "First time at Despana. The atmosphere was great. Modern and industrial feel with cute red chairs. The service was excellent and the food was delicious. The paella was absolutely fantastic. Rivals any paella I had in Spain."
    Dined on 2/2/2014
  • "Was very disappointed with the paella, could not detect any saffron that is the main glover of the dish. Did not have any flavor at all."
    Dined on 1/31/2014
  • "We enjoyed our meal & the relaxing atmosphere. The restaurant is bright, clean & modern. The staff was pleasant, helpful, accommodating and informative. We were there on a cold & snowy Saturday afternoon and the restaurant was a wonderful haven from the outside temperatures. The menu is quite large with many options. We had three tapas (the potato dish was particularly tasty) , then shared a paella (veggie an shrimp) & flan. BYOB at this time….The liquor store across the street had a nice selection of Spanish wines! I wish I had tried a cheese plate. Noise level was quiet because of the snow day… not many people in the restaurant. The sangria bar looked fun. The Market/Deli looked like a great take-out option for locals."
    Dined on 1/25/2014
  • "It takes a while (thy make it fresh) it ain't cheap, but the Paella is well worth the price and the wait. With several different varieties there is a version for everyone at the table. You can bring your own wine and buy a pitcher of sangria fixens. Great idea. Very nice to have something a little different in Princeton."
    Dined on 1/23/2014
  • "This restaurant did everything right from the moment we climbed the stairs to when we left the deli area downstairs. The waitress was attentive but not annoying, tables were cleaned promptly and kindly. The food was delicious and fresh, we had the croquettas de pollo and the large paella mixto. I would highly recommend it to friends looking for authentic flavors and good service. They also have heated balcony seating and are a BYOB with a sangria mix (which I will be returning to try). Overall I loved my dining experience here."
    Dined on 1/20/2014
  • "I've wanted to give despana a shot but was a little worried having read some of the reviews. The tapas were great, creative, and the paella was really nice. I'd read the seafood paella was bland so we ordered the despana paella. It wasn't "in your face" salt and saffron which allowed the flavor of the individual ingredients to build into something memorable. Love BYOB, will definitely be back to sample more tapas. The chorizo and chestnuts is yum."
    Dined on 1/19/2014
  • "Tired of the same old thing? Then Despana is the place for you. the Paella is outstanding. We tried the seafood paella and our friends had the vegetarian. The cheese plate was excellent along with the can not miss eggplant french fries with a honey garnish. On a prior trip we had the calamari which was also terrific. If you bring your own red wine, you can have Sangria as they supply a beautiful pitcher filled with nice fruit. Desserts were also very good. Our table sampled the flan, rice pudding, the chocolate mousse and the cheesecake and no one left unhappy and there wasnt a bite left. As much as i want this place to succeed, I dont want it too become too popular as I feel it is a "find" only worthy of those who appreciate good food."
    Dined on 1/18/2014
  • "I love the relaxed feel of this place, I definitely would return to try more dishes. My family is from Spain and it felt as if I were at a restaurant in Spain, enjoying the delicious dishes. I'm definitely returning with my entire family next week!"
    Dined on 1/19/2014
  • "I really must drive down this end of the street more often because apparently this place has been here since August but I had no idea! Great addition to Princeton's not-very-good restaurant options. Food was delicious, service friendly and attentive without being overbearing. We had the paella mixta and it was prepared perfectly without the chorizo for my dining companion who does not eat pork. Starts of the marisco soup and manchego salad were also excellent. I am personally not a fan of BYOBs so I wish they had a liquor license but there is a liquor store right across the street. Parking is also not too difficult at this end of Nassau Street. Restaurant was quite loud and a little bit cold in temperature, but doing a booming business!"
    Dined on 1/17/2014
  • "Mixed emotions about this experience. The tapas were excellent - except the Octopus which was overpowered by paprika and not very well presented. The Paella was a bit bland, and the seafood in it (esp the scallops) should have been seared before being added to the pan. Dessert was delicious."
    Dined on 1/14/2014
  • "After perusing the menu on line ahead of time, we were looking forward to a nice dinner. Things started goo, we were seated in the smaller of the 2 rooms and the waitress came over fairly quickly. We ordered a couple of items from the tapas menu and a smaller paella. The tapas were good but we found the paella to be somewhat bland. Our waitress never even made it over to see how the food was. A small item but my wife and I always find it tacky when they ask you to keep your silverware after using it on one course."
    Dined on 1/11/2014
  • "We thought we would try out this new Spanish restaurant in Princeton. My husband is in a wheelchair, so the staff very kindly set a table for us on the first floor in the middle of the market. It was a fun place to sit! The paella was superb, and they have four other kinds we will be trying in the future. Also, a really interesting high-end market with unusual foods. A great new addition to our neighborhood!"
    Dined on 1/11/2014
  • "Enjoyed a great night with friends for New Years Eve. We waited for the last minute to make reservations and for the time we wanted to be honest Despana was the only restaurant available. What a nice surprise as we expected so so food and service. Upon arrival we were greeted warmly and seated promptly. The food was EXCELLENT and we all shared several selections. I found the lighting a bit too bright for dinner and if they were to lower them it would create a much warmer atmosphere. We especially noticed that there was an outdoor patio and my husband and I are looking forward to warmer weather when we can visit them again and enjoy it. Lastly, we ordered flan from the store on the lower level to go and it was also excellent."
    Dined on 12/31/2013
  • "First time, here ( frequented the Indian restaurant at this location often ) and I was very pleased with the salad and tapas bites that I selected. A solid 4 stars. My only complaint was that I found the chairs uncomfortable."
    Dined on 1/6/2014
  • "Loved the ambiance and food. Just the right size and felt intimate. Can't believe we have driven by this restaurant many of times but never noticed it. Will return over and over again. Had the black (squid ink) rice paella. Yum, yum."
    Dined on 12/31/2013