Tia Pol

Tía Pol still calls itself a bar de tapas, but really it’s a chic little covered alley serving small plates of food inspired by all the diverse regions and cuisines of Spain. Soon after it opened, in 2004, it was impossible to move in this skinny space, with revelers three deep at the bar, jockeying for a spot to sip txakoli and pop Marcona almonds, until a two-top opened up for dinner. Now, mercifully, Tía Pol takes reservations for seats at three communal tables (with up to 28 places available) and works like a trusty machine. Dishes fly out of the tiny kitchen in rapid fire: bang! a pile of blistered green peppers, sprinkled with sea salt; bang! a terra-cotta bowl of tender octopus and garlic. Without pretense, the place offers flavor and fun, plus a sweet little wine list that pulls bottles from some of Spain’s great bodegas.

sweet seats

The small tables for two that run along the wall are undeniably sexy and built for sharing—bites and secrets.

chew on this

Tía Pol is rightly credited with igniting the small explosion of tiny Iberian eating places in Chelsea. The trio behind it (now split up) went on to spin off El Quinto Pino, and, later, one of them opened Txikito.


lunch: Tues.–Fri. 12 noon–3 PM
brunch: Sat.–Sun. 11 AM–3 PM
dinner: Mon.–Thurs. 5:30 PM–11 PM; Fri. 5:30 PM–12 midnight;
Sat. 6 PM–12 midnight; Sun. 6 PM–10:30 PM)

price range

$12 (lamb skewers) to $16 (assorted cured meats); $29 (suckling pig, available most evenings)