La Vara

4.8
724 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 724 People Are Saying
Overall ratings and reviews
Reviews can only be made by diners who have eaten at this restaurant
4.8based on recent ratings
4.8
food
4.7
service
4.5
ambience
4.3
value
Noise · Moderate
96% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
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C
New York Area
4 reviews
Dined 5 days ago
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!

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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!

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

Creative menu, creative presentation of very good food. Thanks

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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.

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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.

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K
New York Area
22 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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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N
New York Area
3 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.

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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.

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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!

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

Exceptional service, fabulous food. Highly recommend!

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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.

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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.

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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?

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E
San Francisco
16 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.

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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!

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

Our second time, we absolutely love this place

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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DL
1 review
Dined on May 19, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Beautiful food, beautiful garden patio out back, the service was great... We are so happy to have made the trip from Toronto to visit your restaurant. We will be back again!

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SC
Washington DC
2 reviews
Dined on May 16, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 5

Some dishes were excellent, while others were not great. Highly recommend the chicken and eggplant. The chickpeas and prawns were way way too salty, and the pasta was mushy. Unfortunately we were charged for two of the same dish, but we caught it and had it refunded.

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JC
New York Area
1 review
Dined on May 14, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 4

It´s ok. Good food. Maybe a little bit overpriced for the food they give you. We are Spanish.

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p
New York Area
107 reviews
Dined on May 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The Egipcio 🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻 Great restaurant, fantastic wine

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DN
Raleigh
1 review
Dined on May 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Very bustling but cozy restaurant, nestled in calm and quaint Brooklyn. With our reservation, we were immediately seated in a hedonistically large and comfy booth, but walk-ins seemed to only wait at most 15 minutes for a table. Service is efficient and effective, as things get done quite tidily for such a busy and small restaurant. Dishes came out within minutes of each other and after ordering. Everything was wonderful though, the food is elevated yet homey tied into delicious blends of different cuisines. We all thought the cooked meats were a touch overcooked, not that the flavors weren't compelling enough to force us to finish it. Portions were a bit smaller than expected, but for the price, it was still reasonable. The desserts were fine: absolutely luscious semifreddo specialty that night but the egipcio was very dry like sandy shortbread but nuttier and less sweet. Still a hit of a restaurant, and not one I'll forget.

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OT
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on May 12, 2019
Overall 2food 1service 3ambience 3

we went for a mothers day lunch. the menu is very limited. there was nothing special for mothers day on the menu. we had brunch. most of the options contained egg we have egg allergies. the meats they had were pork and lamb. we don't eat pork or lamb. we asked for chicken but it was not available. the restaurant is cute but nothing special. the waitress was very nice and tried to help deal with our requests but unfortunately there was nothing she could do. i would not recommend this restaurant to my friends nor would i ever go back.

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JR
Washington DC
1 review
Dined on May 11, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

La Vara was one of the best dinners I’ve had in a long time. The ambiance was great, the cocktails were fantastic, and the food was superlative. The one thing I would say is that the portions were small, even for a tapas restaurant, so the entree sizes were really more like a large small plate. Would definitely return.

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J
New York Area
25 reviews
Dined on May 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Very Good!Enjoyed the different plates.Each choice was a good one.

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OT
New York Area
10 reviews
Dined on May 7, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 5ambience 3

The cochinillo was a bit bland. However, the tapas was great.

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ER
New York Area
114 reviews
Dined on May 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

Interesting food..lots of choices for a vegan....friendly and helpful service...DO NOT MISS THE FLATBREAD

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HM
1 review
Dined on May 1, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 5ambience 3

I was underwhelmed by my experience at La Vara and wouldn’t recommend it. Firstly, the cava I ordered was flat and had to be sent back. The small plates were mostly good but the only really exceptional dish was the fried eggplant & cheese. The dessert was really disappointing: dry cake, fruit clumsily prepared with pith on, nice chocolate that didn’t go with the other elements. I didn’t feel it was good value for money.

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ES
New York Area
1 review
Dined on April 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

With a big group (8 people), it took awhile for us to get all of our dishes. The dinner was almost three hours, but nevertheless, the food was outstanding. Will be returning.

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MS
Toronto
36 reviews
Dined on April 27, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

La Vara is a neighbourhood gem. Tucked away in Cobble Hill, it's well worth the trip from anywhere. The tapas selection is consistently good - try the pasta from Murcia - and the service was attentive. The decor is a little uninspired and the ambiance could be tweaked to create more of a vibe. Otherwise, highly recommended.

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c
San Francisco
2 reviews
Dined on April 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Interesting food, excellent service! There were 6 specials on the day we ate there, which is quite a lot! Pretty much everything you order there is going to be excellent and unique.

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OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on April 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing as always

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KH
New York Area
1 review
Dined on April 20, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

I went here for the second time Saturday night and this place is now officially one of my favorite restaurants in New York. La Vara’s food is off the charts and each dish is better than the last. Incredible flavor, beautiful presentation, and accessible ingredients and combinations. Worth every penny!

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