La Vara review image

La Vara


268 Clinton St, Brooklyn
View WebsiteEarn 3X Points

La Vara is Cobble Hill’s best and most charming restaurant. In fact, the couple who run the place should demand some sort of commission for luring people to move to the utopian commune of brownstones and tots on tricycles (especially since the husband-and-wife duo also own Saint Julivert Fisherie next door). Instead, they just charge between $20-$30 for plates of Southern Spanish dishes influenced by Moorish and Sephardic-Jewish cooking traditions. 

La Vara is an essential visit for anyone who loves Spanish food, particularly because the menu expands beyond the croquetas-and-jamon canon you may have seen at tapas restaurants around the city. Some of our favorite food here combines classic Spanish proteins with Middle Eastern cooking, like the cantabrian anchovies served with a disc of salted dukkah butter. Another great Jewish-fever-dream dish is the salchichón—fried artichoke hearts lying in hammocks of oil-slicked ibérico de bellota sausage (which is where our hearts would like to hang out, ideally). The plate gets topped with polka dots of anchovy aioli and grated grana padano, and, when you eat it, you'll taste each individual salt crystal on your tongue. 

We’ve had great meals here sitting at the bar and catching up with a friend, but this restaurant is best used for a date night in the area. Something to note: You’re probably not going to get out of La Vara without spending close to $75 per person. Nothing on the menu costs more than $32, but the portions are meant for you to order a whole bunch of stuff and share. Plus, La Vara serves a long list of cocktails as well as delicious (often Spanish/Portuguese) wine. Make sure to reserve your table ahead of time if you don’t want to wait. This place is pretty much always filled with couples who found babysitters and people who plan their weeks around eating cantabrian anchovies. 

Sign up for our newsletter.

Be the first to get expert restaurant recommendations for every situation right in your inbox.

By signing up, I agree to the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.

Food Rundown


These anchovies come with dukkah butter and a few pieces of crispy charred sourdough, so you can make your own perfect bite: intensely salty from the anchovies and nutty from the blend of seeds in the butter.


La Vara has plenty of dishes that read more classically Spanish, and you shouldn’t ignore those unless you want your future self to be angry. Try the rossejat, a party bowl of crisped fideo noodles in a lobster stock.

Pulpo De Roca

Galician octopus is on the table at La Vara—and it should quite literally be on yours. This octopus comes sliced into gelt-sized coins, which are submerged in a ton of bright and citrusy olive oil.

Featured in

16 Great NYC Restaurants For New Year’s Eve That Don’t Require A Tasting Menu guide image

16 Great NYC Restaurants For New Year’s Eve That Don’t Require A Tasting Menu

The Best Restaurants Where You Can Bring Your Own Wine guide image

The Best Restaurants Where You Can Bring Your Own Wine

The Best NYC Restaurants For Date Night guide image

The Best NYC Restaurants For Date Night

The Most Romantic Restaurants In America guide image

The Most Romantic Restaurants In America

Suggested Reading

Bar Jamón review image
Bar Jamón

Bar Jamón is basically Casa Mono's waiting room. However, for that First/Early in the Game Date, where dinner feels too formal but you are also starving, Bar Jamón was designed for you.

Casa Mono review image

Casa Mono serves great tapas in a tiny space in Gramercy.

El Quinto Pino review image

This restaurant/wine bar in Chelsea from the folks who brought you Tia Pol and Txikito delivers solid authentic Spanish eats, wine, and sangria.

Txikito review image

Txikito has been doing solid business in Chelsea for several years, serving Basque-style tapas to people who are mostly on dates.

Infatuation Logo
2023 © The Infatuation Inc. All Rights Reserved.


Get it on Google PlayDownload on the App Store