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Reviews + Photos from nymag.com
Posted by Alfavil on 01/24/2012
My partner and I just spent $100+$15 tip at lunch for: an appetizer with 6 boquerones (pickled sardines); 4 hard-as-nails lamb chops on a mount of french fries; a plate of seafood in "green sauce" consisting of one clam, one mussel, one shrimp, two pieces of fish and three slices of potato in a gooey white sauce sprinkled with parsley; a bottle of "house wine" which at $28 was the cheapest on the wine list; a decent dessert of pears in wine; and 2 espressos. There were exactly four customers, other than us. I have no idea why people rave about this parody of a real Spanish restaurant (hint: there are no real Spanish restaurants in NYC). Twenty five years ago, it used to be a hangout for poets, with great cheap tapas and cheap wine, where grumpy old Spaniards sat all afternoon playing domino and watching soccer. Unfortunately, the NYT discovered it for its paella, and gentrification set in. I know, for I have lived my whole life around the corner from it!
Posted by Ocean on 11/15/2010
First time at La Nacional for my partner's birthday lunch. The food was great, the paella had enough seafood and the rice delicious flavor.... the croquetas and pulpo tapas and sangria were good. We finish up with bread pudding -crema catalana was not ready, as it was too early in the afternoon, Oh!we'll come back. The service was very good and we got two glasses of 'tempranillo' sweet wine on the house!
Posted by rosanne on 02/03/2010
Once again, a family member had a memorable birthday dinner. The food is perfect and the service couldn't be better. We've been coming here for one occasion or another for many years and they never disappoint. Thanks...
Posted by Anonymous on 11/08/2009
The short answer is I would not return. The place is very plain, bordering run down. The food was decent, with some dishes being good, and others quite uninspired. The water was absolutely undrinkable, as it reeked of chlorine or a dish rag. The house paella was good and fairly filling. They rice texture was surprisingly pleasant, although the seafood and the chicken were a bit scant. The octopus tapas was very good. The calamari was OK, and the artichokes didn't have much of a taste. Although the place is not expensive, I feel there are better values to be found in the city for the same price.
Posted by SR on 09/05/2009
A downscale, sister restaurant of the cramped, crowded and critically acclaimed Socarrat a few blocks north, La Nacional is every bit as good and always easy to get into. The measure of good paella is the rice -- when you'd be happy with nothing but that and all the other fish, meat and veggies mixed in become that much more lagniappe. Good tapas too and tasty sangria, make this a true find. The staff can be a bit surly, but not unbearably so. Definitely a find.
Posted by Don Thomas on 03/25/2009
These are very authentic Tapas. Don't expect interpretations of dishes, just straightforward mouth pleasing tapas. Try the paella, it is really good.
Posted by slimtasty on 11/10/2008
Greasy apps and rotten service made for a sub-par meal. The food is made with zero love. Our party of five are paella fanatics with high expectations. We were delivered a pan for "five" that was at best meagre. We were still hungry after this sad meal. At other Spanish restaurants, we always order a paella per head, somehow this is verboten at this clip-joint. To add insult to injury,as the surly and ineffective waitress dropped our check, she said the gratuity was included. Nice try loser, the menu states parties of six or more get the gratuity added, we were a five top. Of course we brought this to her attention and had it rectified. Begrudgingly, we would have given her the bare minimum 15% tip due to two diners at our table being former bartenders and servers, but her attempt at slickness left her with bupkus. We are not tourists or suckers. La Nacional is not the only game in town, thank goodness. We will take our paella-loving butts elsewhere.