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Where to Get Tapas in North Jersey

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Triangles of manchego cheese, paper-thin squares of Iberian ham, anchovies marinated in peppery olive oil, arriving with a crisp Spanish Rosé. Following these, a heaping plate of pescado frito, and pork in a chickpea stew. Keep the wine and conversation flowing. Although it might still be a while before we can freely travel to Madrid or Seville, there are plenty of local options to quench your tapa cravings. Read on to find where to find fun tapas meals in North Jersey.

Broa {297 Grove Street, Jersey City}

broa

Strictly speaking, this quaint little Portuguese bistro is not a “tapa restaurant,” but many of its Mediterranean-style light dishes are best enjoyed shared. The menu changes throughout the seasons. Summer sees a dazzling rotation of exotic fish, shrimp, and clams, many imported in small batches from Portugal {look out for fat, grilled Portuguese sardines in early June!}. The winter menu is slightly meat-heavy, featuring delicacies such as flame-grilled Portuguese chorizos, or carne de porco à alentejana {clam and morsels of pork tossed with potatoes and coriander}. The restaurant is temporarily closed but is soon to reopen in downtown Jersey City. So stay tuned.

Cellar335 {335 Newark Avenue, Jersey City}

cellar 335

Since its establishment in 2016, Cellar335 has made a name in the Jersey City bar scene with its Instagram-worthy, tiki-style cocktails. The food, which mostly comes in shared plates, is equally noteworthy —  loosely speaking, “new American,” jazzed up with some Asian and Mexican elements. Must-tries include spicy cornbread {smoked cheddar, and butter infused with honey and Japanese spices}, seared shishito peppers over a bed of runny smoked goat cheese, and glazed pork belly baos assembled by eaters themselves. 

Cuban Pete’s {428 Bloomfield Avenue, Montclair}

Cuban Petes

Lively spot with a “Pan Latin American” style tapa menu. Some unique dishes include bolinhos {airy croquettes made from salted cod, a Brazilian classic}, costillas {crispy morsels of rib dipped in mint chimichurri}, and ceviche. Also, remember to check out the non-alcoholic sangria options!

Read More: The Best Brunch Spots in Hoboken — By Category

La Tienda Tapas 33 {33 Patterson Street, Newark}

La Tienda Tapas 33

{Photo credit: @latiendatapas}

A vibrant tapa and cocktail bar opened by the owners of the Ironbound establishment Forno. The cocktail menus and sangria offering has been the talk of the town. The tapa options can be loosely described as Spanish dishes executed with modern techniques {such as salmon tartare with a kiss of wasabi}. Also, remember to ask about specials from guest chefs.

Lola’s {153 14th Street, Hoboken}

Lola’s

{Photo credit: @lolas_hoboken}

The large menu offers dazzling choices of over 80 regional Spanish dishes and 100 wines, from which eaters can assemble any type of meal depending on their appetite and mood. A simple, rustic meal may consist of Serrano ham, sheep cheese, tortilla a la Espanola {a hearty, quiche-like dish made of layers of thinly sliced potatoes, eggs, and cheese}, and espinaca con garbanzos {chickpea and spinach stew}. For a “fine dining” experience, there are plenty of options from the land and sea. Some unique choices include langoustines in brandy sauce, squid-ink rice with cuttlefish, and “raxo” {diced pork loin} with figs. Make sure to ask about the restaurant’s award-winning sangrias. 

Mompou Tapas Bar + Restaurant {77 Ferry Street, Newark}

Mompou Tapas

{Photo credit: @mompoutapas}

Electric cocktail and tapa lounge in Newark’s Ironbound district. The menu is a combination of tapa classics {croquettes, tortilla espanola, patatas bravas, etc} and New American style small plates, such as curry crab and shrimp cakes. For  “substantial” dishes, the restaurant also has a varied paella selection.

Pintxo Y Tapas {47 N Dean Street, Englewood}

Pintxo Y Tapas

{Photo credit: @pintxoytapas}

The casual upscale restaurant offers a tapa menu that features some seafood-heavy Basque and Galician dishes. Some interesting options include sautéed mushrooms with shrimp and piquillo peppers and various types of clams cooked in different ways. Also noteworthy is the wine menu, which includes labels, among others, from Spain and Portugal.

Satis Bistro {212 Washington Street, Jersey City}

Satis Bistro

The chic neighborhood bistro makes traditional Spanish tapas and other Mediterranean delicacies. The small-plate menu includes classic tapa bar finger food such as garlic shrimp and patatas bravas {crispy potato with aioli}. Other dishes hail from Italian or Greek cuisine, such as cannellini soup and lamb exohiko {phyllo pocket with lamb, spinach, and cheese}. The pasta and main courses are also creative. 

Spuntino Wine Bar + Italian Tapas {70 Kingsland Road, Clifton}

Spuntino Wine Bar

{Photo credit: @spuntinowinebar}

Not really a Spanish place but still well worth trying. The cozy spot offers Italian nibbles such as bruschetta, arancini, and thin-crust pizzas. Check out the large, Italian-centric wine menu to pair with small plates.

Spanish Pavillion {31 Harrison Avenue, Harrison}

Since its opening in 1973, Spanish Pavillion has gone through several rounds of ownership changes and remaking. The style, nevertheless, has stayed old-schooled Spanish, with a large selection of traditional tapas. Some simple but authentic choices include pan con tomate {tomato toast, a most iconic breakfast mainstay}, fried baby sardines, and datiles con queso {bacon wrapped dates with blue cheese}. Larger seafood and meat dishes are also available.

Tapas de Espana {7909 Bergenline Avenue, North Bergen}

Tapas de Espana

{Photo credit: @instatapas}

This North Bergen Iberian restaurant is a reliable choice for classic Spanish tapas. Start the meal by picking at marinated anchovies and crispy potatoes {with alioli}. Move on to charcuterie items such as Serrano ham and manchego cheese. Continue with garlic shrimp, cod croquettes, and grilled chorizos. Pair the dishes with sangrias and Spanish wines.

See More: A Guide to Montclair’s Best Coffee Shops

The Kitchen Step {500 Jersey Avenue, Jersey City}

Kitchen STEP

An easy-going small-plate restaurant featuring modern American dishes with Mediterranean touches is what you’ll find at The Kitchen Step. The menu changes frequently, and some recent interesting items include beef tartare, seared rare tuna with avocado mousse, and mascarpone polenta fries. Even some pasta entrees, such as a velvety ricotta cavatelli with zesty broccoli pesto, can be easily shared. Equally interesting is its craft cocktail menu, which changes by season.

Vivo Tapas Kitchen {167 Ferry Street, Newark}

This is a contemporary Spanish restaurant with live music, and the tapa menu offers a large selection of Spanish classics. Also famous is the paella menu, which is made fresh to order.

Xunta Tapas España {392 Bloomfield Avenue, Caldwell}

Xunta

{Photo credit: Xunta Tapas España}

A casual Spanish restaurant with a dedicated tapa menu is what you’ll find at Xunta. The menu is rather meat-focused, with a variety of options of chorizos, braised meat, and morcilla {blood sausage}. The seafood selection is strong as well. Get the meaty whole grilled sardines when available, or squid ink with rice, a delicacy of the Valencia region.

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Written by:

Yiwei was born and raised in China. She has lived extensively in Beijing and Hong Kong, before finally settling down in New York. She moved to Hoboken after a few years in Westchester and immediately felt at home here. Two years ago, she left her job at an investment bank to travel the world and explore her interests, and has since then taken on a few freelancing gigs in career coaching, college admission consulting, and writing. When she is not wandering wildly in the streets of Europe, Asia, or Latin America, she can be found sipping an espresso in one of Hoboken's coffee shops or trying out restaurants in Hoboken and Jersey City area.