La Vara

4.7
740 reviews
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$30 and under
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Spanish
La Vara celebrates the Moorish and Jewish legacies in Spanish Cooking. Chefs and Owners Alex Raij and Eder Montero, of Manhattan's premier Spanish restaurants El Quinto Pino and Txikito, extend their story in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn.

What Insiders Are Saying

The Infatuation
8.5

La Vara is the best Spanish restaurant in Brooklyn, and possibly all of New York City.

Ratings 8.0-8.5:The best way to think about restaurants in the low to mid 8′s is that these are the places you would absolutely go back to, anytime. These restaurants are ones that you want to bring a friend to, just so they can also experience the duck carnitas, or burger, or whatever dish the place is known for.
What 740 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.7based on recent ratings
4.7
food
4.7
service
4.5
ambience
4.3
value
Noise · Moderate
93% of people would recommend it to a friend
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f
London
12 reviews
Dined 3 days ago
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 2

The recommendation is actually maybe because of the following. The noise level is unbearable and unfortunately it really detracts from the high quality of the food being served.

D
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined 4 days ago
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 4

We were a large group so we tried a lot of the dishes on the menu. It started out strong with the persian cucumber salad which was a wonderful mix of flavors and textures. Unfortunately after that things went downhill. The preparation was good but many of the dishes were overly salty, we all thought the noodle paella tasted like Lipton's onion soup, the the tuna tartare (salty) came with fried motzah that left a burnt taste in the mouth. We had the chicken heart salad, the hearts were yakatori style on skewers and delicious but the salad was so salty it was hard to eat. Sorry, I really wanted to like the restaurant but 8 of us agreed it was disappointing.

RG
New York Area
26 reviews
Dined 6 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This restaurant cooks delicious food.

AE
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on August 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wonderful eating experience- late lunch. Meals were served hot, and tasty. Perfectly balanced Sangria.

HC
1 review
Dined on August 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I loved dining at La Vara, but wish I had realized beforehand that they are a tapas restaurant. Our server recommended 2-3 small plates per person. We made it work with several of the smaller appetizer sized dishes and one small plate each. They also had a great happy hour deal on Sangria!

S
New York Area
4 reviews
Dined on August 6, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 1ambience 3

Food was spectacular. Our waitress was truly one of the worst I have had in years. She was passive aggressive, non-accommodating, and pretty rude at times.

SS
New York Area
9 reviews
Dined on August 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Dishes like lightly breaded and fried artichokes, unbelievably creamy pine-nut gazpacho with scallops, and a delicately prepared octopus salad were some of the best things I've eaten in New York ever. But it's no surprise from the chefs of Txikito and El Qunto Pino, who take Spanish food to an exquisite level.

c
New York Area
210 reviews
Dined on August 5, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

Very delicious and very creative dishes to share, from the Basque Region. We loved most of them, but it can get pricey.

NG
New York Area
1 review
Dined on August 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

We had a terrific meal. The server suggest 5 dishes for the two of us. She was spot on. We had just the right amount of delectable food. We started with the fried Brussels sprouts. Unbelievable. What a great way to get your greens. The meatballs were savory and tender. We had a cucumber salad which was crunchy, perfectly dressed and light. I had the grilled sardines and I refused to share them. I would go back just for these swimmers! Finally we had the crispy suckling pig. It was so flavorful and tender it melted in my mouth and left a smile. I am looking forward to a return visit. It was a great meal.

NN
New York Area
16 reviews
Dined on August 3, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Wanted to dine there for a long time and we are very happy we went there. My hubby ordered half chicken for us. Blowing off my complain that he ordered a boring dish, I have to tell, the chicken was THE BEST chicken I have ever had! Friendly and professional atmosphere. Beautiful location.

M
San Francisco
1 review
Dined on August 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Delicious food and great service

CA
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on July 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Second visit, food was even better then first time around!
So different and interesting flavors.
Impeccable service

OT
New England
1 review
Dined on July 23, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Truly incredible

B
New England
3 reviews
Dined on July 21, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

La Vara is a lovely neighborhood restaurant. It has an excellent menu of tapas with a few regular main courses. The sangria is excellent. The wine list is very good. The beer list needs work. It is a warm and engaging place in a beautiful Brooklyn neighborhood and is alongside a lovely park. It is one of the finest restaurants in New York City. I would give it 2 Michelin stars for food (2 macarons).

AB
Portland
1 review
Dined on July 18, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Absolutely lovely restaurant in Cobble Hill where I celebrated my 40th with my 6 besties. Delicious food, lovely ambiance, excellent service. Don’t forget dessert!

SB
New York Area
1 review
Dined on July 18, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 1

Great food but WAY too loud for relaxation and conversation. If sound panels installed I’d definitely recommend and go back.

C
New York Area
4 reviews
Dined on July 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My husband and I went here for a date night recently. We had been to their sister restaurant in Chelsea in the past, which we really enjoyed for many of the same reasons: great service, casual and cozy atmosphere, delicious and interesting food that celebrates great ingredients. We are excited to try their seafood restaurant, St. Julivert, next!

SJ
1 review
Dined on July 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Everything was insanely delicious. My favorite was the tuna tartare with fried matzoh. So good!

NC
Washington DC
6 reviews
Dined on June 30, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Creative menu, creative presentation of very good food. Thanks

JY
Chicago
6 reviews
Dined on June 27, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Knowledgeable staff, extremely friendly yet professional service, and the tastes were lucsios. Small snafu with our reservation was unfortunate but did not diminish our enjoyment.

S
1 review
Dined on June 23, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

The artichokes were heavenly, the olive oil ice cream blew me away.

K
New York Area
24 reviews
Dined on June 23, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I always knew that La Vara was great for dinner but not that they do amazing brunch and have a lovely outside dining area. Great experience again!

OT
New York Area
4 reviews
Dined on June 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

We love La Vara! It’s a neighborhood gem. Delicious food, warm ambiance and a delight of Iberian and Middle Eastern flavors.

AE
New York Area
7 reviews
Dined on June 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We were initially very disappointed that, despite our telling La Vara that it was our anniversary, they couldn’t seat us on the patio outside as we had requested. Fortunately, our server Jackie M was absolutely wonderful and made up for that. As usual, the food was terrific, the service warm and attentive, making for an exceptional evening. This is one of our favorite places-I think we’ve come to celebrate a birthday and another anniversary at least. Well done!

PS We appreciated the candle with our dessert.

JW
1 review
Dined on June 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

My new favorite restaurant! The chicken hearts, duck breast and lamb breast are a must. Such an amazing meal.

OT
New Orleans
1 review
Dined on June 19, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The good is outstanding - so inventive. Can’t wait to go back!

N
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on June 16, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 3ambience 3

The food was tasty but not great. Portions were adequate but not generous. Had brunch with eggs but had to ask for bread and for the table to be cleared when courses were completed.

n
New York Area
12 reviews
Dined on June 13, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 3ambience 5

my only issue was the wine by the glasses weren't really well described and i wasn't happy with either of them. both felt a little bland and overpriced.

TJ
1 review
Dined on June 12, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

They were amazingly nice and accommodated a bday cake and let us stay a little past closing!

MS
1 review
Dined on June 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Exceptional service, fabulous food. Highly recommend!

j
New York Area
1 review
Dined on June 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

The food was amazing. The chicken was the best I’ve ever had. The service was wonderful.

PD
New York Area
1 review
Dined on June 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Sat outside drinking sangria with lamb hash and poached eggs for brunch. Very pleasant.

DK
1 review
Dined on June 8, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 2

Food was decent if somewhat pricey given the very modest portion sizes. Service was friendly and efficient. But oh THE NOISE inside (the patio was open the weekend we went) even with the restaurant nowhere near capacity made sign language an obligatory skill if you wanted to communicate. If the table next to us (by about 6 inches) had been occupied we might have needed ear plugs.

Why oh why do New Yorkers (or Americans generally) feel they must virtually yell at one another during meals? Of course this isn’t helped by the addition of alcohol which merely facilitates unabashed shouting.

Any why do I always seem to eat at establishments frequented by folks with hideously penetrating voices and utterly vacuous things to say?

E
San Francisco
15 reviews
Dined on June 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Delicious dinner and excellent service . Our only complaint is that there were not more vegetarian options.

RC
1 review
Dined on June 4, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

Daniel our server was amazing. His recommendations were on point! His wine knowledge was great. I really enjoyed the PX/Palomino with flor contact. The food great, also well worth the price. Overall great experience!

k
Los Angeles
3 reviews
Dined on May 31, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Our second time, we absolutely love this place

NP
Philadelphia
1 review
Dined on May 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great experience! Food was absolutely wonderful! We look forward to dining there again.

P
New York Area
32 reviews
Dined on May 25, 2019
Overall 3food 4service 4ambience 4

Good food, but be prepared to be seated at a communal table.

OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on May 24, 2019
Overall 2food 2service 3ambience 3

A lot of the food was either under- or over-seasoned, and we all left feeling deeply unsatisfied with our decisions. The grain salad was the only dish (out of 6) that we enjoyed. Overpriced as well.

DZ
New York Area
29 reviews
Dined on May 19, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Food is delicious, especially the noodle paella, shishito peppers, and roasted cumin lamb. Portions on the small side but everything is meant to be shared so order plenty!

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