La Vara

4.7
629 reviews
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$30 and under
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Spanish
La Vara celebrates the Moorish and Jewish legacies in Spanish Cooking. Chefs and Owners Alex Raij and Eder Montero, of Manhattan's premier Spanish restaurants El Quinto Pino and Txikito, extend their story in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn.

Specials

Valentine's Day Special Menus & More

Join us for an evening celebrating the ones we love, serving our regular menu plus extra special additions for a romantic evening.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

What Insiders Are Saying

The Infatuation
8.5

La Vara is the best Spanish restaurant in Brooklyn, and possibly all of New York City.

Ratings 8.0-8.5:The best way to think about restaurants in the low to mid 8′s is that these are the places you would absolutely go back to, anytime. These restaurants are ones that you want to bring a friend to, just so they can also experience the duck carnitas, or burger, or whatever dish the place is known for.
What 629 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.7based on recent ratings
4.7
food
4.7
service
4.5
ambience
4.3
value
Noise · Moderate
95% of people would recommend it to a friend
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RC
1 review
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Service was outstanding. Each dish was well crafted, plated, and tasted amazing. Cocktails were delicious.

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MT
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on January 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

La Vara is consistently terrific. Highlights are always the nut-milk based gazpacho (special and not every night - it's absolutely to die for), anchovies, fried artichokes, roast pork belly. Come hungry and share everything.

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OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on January 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This is one of my favorite places to eat. Being tapas, it’s make fore sharing and the food is excellent. It’s a fair price, so I feel like I’m able to try lots of different things on the menu. The drinks/wine selection is good, I don’t think you can order the wrong thing. The staff is great. Everyone is very knowledgeable about everything that was served, I could ask anyone what ingredients made up the dish and they were able to tell me immediately.

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OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on January 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always solid.

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MW
New York Area
1 review
Dined on January 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

La Vara is an absolutely excellent neighborhood gem in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. Worth the drive from the city or suburbs. A must try on your list!

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OT
Miami
1 review
Dined on January 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great tapas and very well paced meal allowing us to enjoy superior food with some good drinks and fun conversations!

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OT
New York Area
5 reviews
Dined on January 1, 2019
Overall 3food 5service 3ambience 2

My husband and I went for dinner on New Year’s Eve- the food was amazing but their was no prefix menu which is pretty typical on NYE. And they really didn’t do anything special- music list was all over the place and lighting was really bright. Just didn’t feel like a special occasion.

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SI
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on January 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Loved this place. Stopped by New Year’s Eve. Didn’t stay for the countdown, but certainly started the night off right.

Standouts were the artichokes, eggplant and migas dishes, and all the cocktails were quite good (my wife and I had a few).

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LH
London
1 review
Dined on January 1, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Just amazing in every way, from the inventive menu to the attentive staff, can’t wait to return

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KI
New York Area
7 reviews
Dined on December 31, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I had been wanting to try this restaurant since a friend recommended it to me back when I moved to the neighborhood last year, and finally had the perfect opportunity-I closed out 2018 by having dinner with my two siblings who live out of town by dining at La Vara. Everything from the service, to the drinks, to the food was fantastic. My younger brother can be a picky eater, yet he tried and loved every dish we ordered. My favorite had to be the crab and rice special, it was to die for. I will definitely be coming back and bringing all my loved ones to enjoy.

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EK
New York Area
4 reviews
Dined on December 23, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

My party of 8 had a blast. Great way to show off this neighborhood gem with a fresh and unique menu among a brownstone lined street. We got a bit of everything being the tapas are small plates. We were blown away by the flavors and quality of their food. Make your reservation now!

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DJ
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on December 22, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Loved the creative city of our meal. This was not your basic brunch. Really enjoyed it!

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A
1 review
Dined on December 22, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was great, the service was great and the suggestions by staff were great!

We will definitely be back!

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EW
Anchorage
3 reviews
Dined on December 20, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 2

The food was beyond amazing and the staff was very fun. The chairs and tables are like something from a wobbly vintage outdoor barBque.. who thought they were a good idea? They need a larger space. Go for the food and drinks...

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OT
1 review
Dined on December 17, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was fantastic and the tapas style dining made for great conversation starters.

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GK
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on December 17, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 4ambience 5

Was very excited about this place. Unfortunately the plates are really small and quite expensive.

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C
1 review
Dined on December 14, 2018
Overall 2food 1service 4ambience 3

I’d been here once before and had a lovely meal but this time around it was incredibly salty to the point of being an edible. I was with a group of four and we all agreed it was incredibly salty beyond enjoyable.

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BW
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on December 13, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Delicious tapas! I went to La Vara for my birthday dinner. At first, I was a nervous as we were a large group and not everyone in the group loved tapas. La Vara won the skeptics over! The drinks are well done -- the Spanish vodka is particularly smooth. The food is fantastic. We ate a lot of the daily specials as well as trying most of the regular menu. The stand out dishes at our table included: croqueta, berenjena con miel, migas aragonesas, albóndigas, fideuá, and carabineros. Everyone left full! I would highly recommend.

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R
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on December 12, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was delicious and varied. It it all went well together and I liked the novel take on things.
It was truly a delight. And the drinks/cocktails were also fun.

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OT
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on December 9, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always great!

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OT
Minneapolis
21 reviews
Dined on December 9, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Wow!! This was some of the very best food I have ever eaten!! The pork dish was unbelievably good and the anchovy toast was to die for. If I lived near this restaurant you couldn't keep me away. Loved!

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AG
New England
5 reviews
Dined on December 4, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 5

Sadly this restaurant lost its Michelin Star. The food is really wonderful, and the price is surprisingly decent for a restaurant of this quality in New York City. The portion size of each plate varies, and it is easy to order too much at this restaurant (so just be careful!). My favorites were the rabbit, the duck, and the artichokes. Be sure to tell the server to pace the dishes well, as our plates came out super fast in the beginning, and then slowed after we requested.

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OT
1 review
Dined on December 4, 2018
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Overall great experience!
Food break down;
Olives - literally just a jar of olives
*Rice cooked in tomato water (dunno what that means) with crab & mushrooms - it’s pretty much a crab risotto, which is great if you like crab
Cumin Lamb breast - AMAZING! This is a must try!
*Shrimp dish that was half seared & half raw in a white cream sauce with olive oil - don’t do it!! The texture of the shrimp was exactly what you would expect from half cooked shrimp

*specials the night we went

Our server was so sweet and kind even after we refused to eat the shrimp. She was also very knowledgeable about the wine selection & helped me pick out the perfect one!

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NE
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on December 1, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing and authentic Spanish Cuisine. I was instantly transported to the Basque region upon entering. I would recommend the cider to drink and for you to keep a menu to explore. Food was bold and playful, each dish a wonderful experience.

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O
Nashville
29 reviews
Dined on December 1, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

La Vara is a real gem.

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YM
1 review
Dined on November 28, 2018
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 2

I was a little disappointed by the level of service both before the dinner as well as during. I called ahead requesting a more private table for my boyfriend's birthday and also requested that he have a dessert that comes out with a candle (not an uncommon request). I was told that they couldn't guarantee a corner table and also could put a candle in the dessert but would not cover the cost of the actual dessert. When we showed up, we were put at a table in the back of the room near the bathrooms (horrible lighting and the back of my boyfriend's chair was directly against the chair of a person from another table). Additionally, I had to remind the waitress of the fact that it was my boyfriend's birthday (She was completely unaware). We were eventually moved to a different table, but I think in general, the service and ambiance were not what I was expecting.

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Z
London
15 reviews
Dined on November 25, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We absolutely loved the chilled brunch vibes. Everything was great. Would highly recommend.

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S
New York Area
9 reviews
Dined on November 24, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

One of the best dining experiences in NYC area. Thanks for a wonderful night! Original and delicious food with marvelous ambience. Great for romantic dates :)

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OT
London
1 review
Dined on November 24, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing tapas meal

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CJ
New York Area
1 review
Dined on November 19, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 5

Went for a friends birthday. Was very happy with the outcome. Food, service and ambiance all lived up to expectations. Having some sort of beef option may be the only item that was missing but things were delicious regardless.

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GC
1 review
Dined on November 18, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was really special. Lovely service. Nice ambiance. Not to loud so conversation was easy.

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T
New York Area
8 reviews
Dined on November 12, 2018
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 5

This was our fourth time at La Vara in the 5 plus (?) years since it opened. I found the food to be even better than our last visit (probably about 18 months ago). However, we had to wait at least 30 mins for our table despite having reserved and confirmed, and then the service was painfully slow (although cordial). Our waitress took her sweet time with every request (we were half way through our meal before our wine came) and considering our wait to be seated, service should have been much more attentive. That said, the food was excellent, every dish we ordered was great to amazing. A lot of attention to detail and to the balance of flavors. Ingredients were all fresh, and presentation was professional. Overall, we would return, but it would really round out the experience if the restaurant to be more attentive to service.

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OT
New England
1 review
Dined on November 7, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Finally got to try this neighborhood gem after walking by so many times. Did not disappoint! Will definitely return.

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k
New York Area
9 reviews
Dined on November 4, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The food was SOOOOOO good!!
Fantastic service.
Everyone LOVED this meal.
Cannot wait to go back.

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LM
New York Area
4 reviews
Dined on November 4, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

We had a very nice moment at La Vara for a brunch. I particularly loved the neighborhood, which is si much quieter than Manhattan with amazing Autumn colors. We had very high expectations for the food, and were a bit disappointed (tortilla not so tasty). The service was also very nice. Nothing outstanding.

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OT
Vancouver
1 review
Dined on November 3, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My boyfriend’s birthday

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OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on November 2, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wonderful food! Must go

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RS
1 review
Dined on October 30, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Without question the best anchoas in New York City.

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TT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on October 29, 2018
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 4

The location was a little surprising. Essentially a residential area, apart from the one adjacent restaurant. Nowhere in the vicinity for a pre dinner drink as we had travelled from Manhattan. They were able to accommodate us earlier than our reservation and we had pre dinner drinks with excellent olives.
Staff very attentive and the daily specials offering impressive on top of the standard menu.
It is as advertised, tapas, so expect certain dishes to be small. A couple of the highlights were the Migas Aragonesas (suitable spicy punch, Fideua (pasta beautifully cooked) and the Rabbit loin.
Good atmosphere and nice vibe. The table sharing somewhat strange and wouldn't suit everybody. Very enjoyable night but lack of surrounding venues may be an issue for some.

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WT
New York Area
6 reviews
Dined on October 28, 2018
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We had a great meal at La Vara - the tapas allow you to experiment and explore, which was both fun and delicious. Highly recommend making a reservation as this is a popular restaurant, even on a Sunday night, which was when we visited. They also included a candle for my birthday for dessert which was a lovely touch.

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