I love it here. The space is like something out of a fairy tale, lit largely by candle light and decorated with brightly colored tapestries and delicate, sparkly chandeliers that dangle from the ceiling. Everything, even the tables and chairs, comes with price tags: the restaurant was installed by ABC Home & Carpet and nearly everything in it is for sale. Despite the crowded bar, the place isn't nearly as loud as you'd expect.
Although Pipa is best known for its communal bar table and signature sangria, the food - spanish-style tapas - is delicious and surprisingly hearty (for tapas) and inexpensive. The pulpo gallego - sauteed octopus with roasted potatoes and green olives - was spicy and tender, and the piggy-back dates - stuffed with almonds and wrapped with bacon - were among the best I've ever had. I love that they serve salads, too, and would highly recommend the pollo y hongos, which comes with grilled chicken, mushrooms, manchego, hearts of palm, and a bright and tangy sherry vinaigrette. Of everything I tasted, though, the hongos y hingos flatbread was my favorite: wild mushrooms, serrano ham, figs, manchego cheese, caramelized onions and almonds, sprinkled with truffle oil and layered on top of a sweet and doughy catalan crust. The pipa flatbread (pictured here), with chorizo, artichokes and piquillo peppers, comes highly recommended as well.
I went for dinner just last Saturday and am already planning to return this coming Friday night. In a city of a million restaurants, that's gotta say something, right?
38 East 19th Street (between Park and Broadway)
pollo y hongos salad
hongos y hingos flatbread