La Vara

4.7
665 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 665 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
92% of people would recommend it to a friend
5
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OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined a day ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 3

The food is spectacular and interesting. The cocktails were worth the money, the waiter was knowledgeable and pleasant. This was our 2nd time dining and we will be back. Get the anchovies and mezcal cocktail and thank me later

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BS
New York Area
6 reviews
Dined 2 days ago
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Everything was delicious.. staff was great.. lots of restaurants in this neighborhood but this one is outstanding

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B
New York Area
9 reviews
Dined on March 17, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

La Vara is a neighborhood gem. Food is amazing! My salad was so colorful it could have been a photo for Food and Wine magazine. Servers are welcoming, friendly, and attentive. It’s always busy but you never feel rushed.

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KK
Washington DC
3 reviews
Dined on March 16, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Great food, wine and ambience. Service was a little slow at times and we did have to wait a while for our table even though we had a reservation. Overall great experience.

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M
Austin
4 reviews
Dined on March 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Honestly was so so so delicious. it’s all the things you like in new and interesting ways. and every dish we had was surprising. highly recommend!

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CJ
New York Area
1 review
Dined on March 14, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 4

Recently got to try this Brooklyn gem. And went back the following week! Kudos to the chefs for the flavor palette they have created. Food is amazing. Looking forward to warmer weather to checkout their backyard dining space (unfortunately had view of an ugly blue tarp thru the backdoor all evening. A pretty lace panel on that door would have improved the ambiance!)

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OT
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on March 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Fantastic and food was delicious! Preferred tapas style vs entrees. Lots of flavor in ever plate

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R
1 review
Dined on March 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

I had a wonderful experience at La Vara last night. The food was exceptional, and well-priced for the high caliber dishes. We had the Faeuda and two specials which were phenomenal. The Albaicin cocktail didn't wow me, and my view at the back table wasn't ideal—however, the service was top-notch and I felt very well taken care of and informed about the dishes. I'm sure I'll be back!

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OT
1 review
Dined on March 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Friendly and knowledgeable servers. Portions were perfect for a first date.

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SB
New York Area
1 review
Dined on March 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

The service staff was extremely helpful, polite and knowledgeable of the menu. The drinks were just right and the food was quiet unique, tasted delicious and priced fairly. They even took note that it was out anniversary and gave us complimentary drinks to that.

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TM
New Orleans
5 reviews
Dined on March 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Terrific basque cuisine and service was impeccable. It is located in a quiet spot of Brooklyn and reasonably priced. All around great experience.

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JB
New York Area
5 reviews
Dined on March 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

This was one of the most creatively delicious meals I’ve ever had. Everything was amazing, and the lamb was mind-blowing.

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OT
London
1 review
Dined on February 27, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food, knowledgeable service and good atmosphere - thanks!

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T
Denver
13 reviews
Dined on February 25, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

La Vara is always exceptional. One of our favorite places in Brooklyn.

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OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on February 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It was awesome.

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LZ
New York Area
1 review
Dined on February 22, 2019
Overall 4food 3service 4ambience 4

Most of the dishes we had needed more seasoning, seafood and roasted pork was bland

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TH
Charleston
1 review
Dined on February 21, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It's impossible to choose the right thing because there isn't a bad one on the existing menu, and any special they suggest you should get to. Plan on going more than once!

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PG
New York Area
6 reviews
Dined on February 21, 2019
Overall 1food 1service 1ambience 1

Before we were even asked about ordering dessert, my table of three was told rather directly that we had to vacate our table because of an upcoming reservation. With dessert menus in our hands, I asked if we could at least order and eat dessert, the waiter looked at his watch and said the next reservation is in 10 minutes, so if you order right now, I can do it, otherwise we can move you to the bar (which actually filled up in the next five minutes). This was my birthday dinner, and ruined by a horrible policy.

Management should reconsider such an obnoxious policy and instead 1) just let the table know that you have a full night and that we should take our time (which almost everyone would take a hint and hurry up a bit), 2) offer the incoming guests a free drink while they wait, 3) offer to buy us dessert if we could move to the bar, 4) speed up your service, 5) etc., 6) etc.

There are SO many ways this could have been handled better. It ruined my birthday dinner, and I've made sure to tell everyone I know of the experience, warning them away from both this place, and the rest of the restaurant group. Restaurants come and go in a flash in this town...just because you're hot today, don't think it'll last. So pretentious...

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e
New York Area
18 reviews
Dined on February 21, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It is a hidden treasure with a cozy ambiance , attentive staff to help you with choices of food or wine, and delicious tapas that , although small , eventually satiate you.
We had the Croquetas, Fideuá, Pipirrana con Grano, Lamb meatballs, and Deviled eggs and all very very tasty . Our knowledgeable waitress suggested a wine that had less tannins bc of my allergy and it too was very crisp and dry as I like it.
Looking forward to our next meal at La Vara.

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HK
Los Angeles
10 reviews
Dined on February 18, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

This restaurant was outstanding! I had discovered it via Michelin and OpenTable and made a reservation for one of my trips to NYC. I was staying in Midtown East and took the train to Brooklyn to dine at LaVara. It was worth the time to get there. The servers were wonderful and helpful, the food was hands-down the best meal I've had in NY in years!

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OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on February 17, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We’ve been a few times and always love our time there. The food is outstanding and very unique. The ambiance was romantic and intimate which is what we were going for. Just always feels like a special experience. Love it!

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OT
New York Area
198 reviews
Dined on February 17, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 4ambience 4

The service staff are incredibly helpful. If any diner has an allergy, every dish will be explained in detail as it comes to the table, assuring the diner s/he can enjoy the food without concern. The food is fabulous! Every dish arrives with a burst of unique flavors. We are already looking forward to returning for another memorable meal.

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EK
Detroit
1 review
Dined on February 16, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Most unique, amazing dining experiences! Everything was absolutely delicious and so flavorful. We will definitely be back to try more. Also, the staff was so kind and helpful.

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EC
New York Area
4 reviews
Dined on February 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Everything was amazing from start to finish plus the service was great and authentic. All the staff was extremely friendly. All the food was made with quality ingredients and extreme care. Great price point. 10/10 would recommend.

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OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on February 13, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 2

Avoid the long shared table for 10. Too small. Too close.

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D
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on February 13, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This is easily my new favorite restaurant: the food is unique and incredible, and the service was perfect. The dishes came out one after another in a steady but well-timed stream.

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SD
1 review
Dined on February 11, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 3ambience 4

Loved the unexpected food combinations and delicious flavors. Will come back! Our server was a bit inattentive but overall the experience was great.

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GR
New York Area
1 review
Dined on February 10, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Amazing food and service in a beautiful restaurant, but on the pricey side -- especially given how many dishes it takes to get full.

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TL
New York Area
13 reviews
Dined on February 5, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Cute neighborhood restaurant with excellent food! It maintains a relaxed and friendly vibe while delivering food with the quality of a fancy high-end restaurant. I wish it wasn’t so popular so we could just pop in without a reservation (it was packed on a Tuesday in the winter).

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J
1 review
Dined on February 2, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Delicious and creative food choices that was fun sharing between 4 of us. The wait staff was friendly and attentive. We will definitely go back the next time we are in Brooklyn.

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JS
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on January 28, 2019
Overall 3food 2service 4ambience 4

3/5 of our dishes were pretty tasteless... not what I was expecting with so many vibrant ingredients!

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d
New York Area
1 review
Dined on January 19, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

We went to La Vara for a celebratory dinner and made a reservation for two. When we arrived, we were told by the wait staff that we wouldn't be able to sit at an individual table for two, but rather a table directly between two other parties. This was a disappointment to us, so we asked to sit at the bar instead and enjoyed our meal there. The food was delicious and the serving sizes were larger than we anticipated (still small, sharing plates). In addition to the food, the drinks menu is large. We enjoyed the sangria.

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SN
1 review
Dined on January 18, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

Lovely and wonderful food but too loud. Great service.

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RF
Dallas
2 reviews
Dined on January 17, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

This is a charming restaurant that clearly takes pride in its food and service. Celebrated my sons birthday there and everyone has a wonderful time

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OT
1 review
Dined on January 15, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Celebrating friends returning to us

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RC
1 review
Dined on January 14, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

Service was outstanding. Each dish was well crafted, plated, and tasted amazing. Cocktails were delicious.

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MT
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on January 8, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

La Vara is consistently terrific. Highlights are always the nut-milk based gazpacho (special and not every night - it's absolutely to die for), anchovies, fried artichokes, roast pork belly. Come hungry and share everything.

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OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on January 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This is one of my favorite places to eat. Being tapas, it’s make fore sharing and the food is excellent. It’s a fair price, so I feel like I’m able to try lots of different things on the menu. The drinks/wine selection is good, I don’t think you can order the wrong thing. The staff is great. Everyone is very knowledgeable about everything that was served, I could ask anyone what ingredients made up the dish and they were able to tell me immediately.

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

Always solid.

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MW
New York Area
1 review
Dined on January 4, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

La Vara is an absolutely excellent neighborhood gem in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. Worth the drive from the city or suburbs. A must try on your list!

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