Una pregunta: por qué has the lower west side of Manhattan become THE hood for Spanish food? It feels like the majority of New York City’s tapas joints are in the Chelsea/Flatiron/Village area (Tia Pol, Socarrat, Toro, Tertulia, Casa Mono, Alta, Boqueria, etc). Was just curious… So if anyone has an answer 💡 , por favor fill me in 🙂 .
Anyway, despite the variety, if you want a Spanish restaurant in Chelsea in an intimate, romantic setting, Salinas is a great option. Salinas opened in 2011 and offers a modern take on Spanish cuisine, with a specific focus on the Basque region (where the chef Luis Bollo is originally from).
Make sure you sit in their back garden room
Salinas is a medium-sized restaurant with three rooms: a lounge and bar area at the entrance, a main dining room and a back courtyard room with a retractable roof for warm nights. You’ll walk in and think “is this it?” 😕 but the back “garden room” is what this place is all about, so make sure you ask to be seated there when you make your reservation. There is even an outdoor stone fireplace to make up for chilly evenings when the garden is covered. This room and its overall atmosphere is what makes Salinas so seductive.
The first thing you’ll notice in the dining area is the smell of fresh flowers in the air. Salinas is beautifully decorated with flower arrangements of roses and lilies at every corner (they allegedly import fresh flowers from Ecuador every week). In addition to the flowers, the delicate and elegant decor, the intimate lighting, and the tufted velvet chairs set the scene for a serene and romantic night.
In spite of the fact that the food is served family style, Salinas does not only serve tapas. Along with traditional small plates priced between $9 and $19, Salinas‘ menu has an extensive choice of Arroz & Fideos (rice and noodles) and fish and meat entrées, around $30 each (i.e. pricier than your regular tapas joint). Tapas highlights include the Razor Clams (although they don’t even come close to Casa Mono’s), the Pulpo, Croquetas, and the Anchoas Jardinera.
For entrées, I like their fish specials, but make sure you share one of their Paellas or Fideos Negros (squid ink pasta). And if you don’t mind the wait, order the Suckling Pig.
Drinks wise, choose between their in-house artisanal cocktails, one of their two Sangria options (that are ingeniously cooled with sangria ice cubes!), or from their Spanish wine list.
$40 pre-theatre tasting menus available every day before 7pm!
Reservations are relatively easy, just book a table online to avoid a wait and to assure seating in the garden room.
Service is overall friendly, despite the fact that they are annoyingly anal about booking confirmations and their 15-minute grace period for seating a late reservation.
Even though the food is more than decent, what makes me come to Salinas is the ambiance. Come with with a date or for a gathering of friends/girls’ night out. Salinas is also a good option for large parties and special events.
Open daily for dinner:
Fri-Sat : 6pm-11pm