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“Excellent dining experience” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Spanish Tavern

Spanish Tavern
103 Mcwhorter St, Newark, NJ 07105-1359 (North Ironbound)
973-589-4959
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Ranked #1 of 454 Restaurants in Newark
Cuisines: Spanish
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Romance, Large groups, Doing business, Local cuisine, Special occasions
Dining options: Dinner, Reservations, Late Night
Neighborhood: North Ironbound
PA
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
“Excellent dining experience”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 22, 2013

My wife and I ate at Spanish Tavern early in January. The experience was simply excellent.
Server: Wilbur (yes, “Wilbur” - - ask him how he got the name!) could not have been better. Very attentive and informative.
Food: Meal started with the complimentary bowl (not cup) of soup - - nice touch and excellent. We shared the shrimp in garlic sauce appetizer (as so many reviewers raved about it) - - it did not disappoint. For our entre, we opted to share an order of paella (Wilbur assured us that it would be enough for two - - and it was). My wife inquired if it might be “too spicy” – not to her taste – while I indicated that I preferred “spicy” and Wilbur suggested that he bring out a “side bowl” of a “spicier sauce” that I could add to my share. How often do you get a server who will even listen to his customers, let alone go out of his way to make the experience memorable. Bottom line - - wife and I both loved our entre. Pitcher of sangria was a perfect match. Flan for desert was to die for - - at least as good as all others who raved about it. To make up for sangria arriving a bit late, Wilbur offered complimentary dessert wine. Another “above and beyond” touch.
Ambiance: Really very nice, although a bit crowded (but less so than other Ironbound restaurants as we’ve heard). Free, attended parking lot across the street was another very nice touch.
Price: I have eaten in restaurants in 13 different countries and this experience was one of the best value dinners I have experienced - - total bill was under $70 including a very handsome tip.

Can’t wait for my next excuse to be in the Newark area to return to Spanish Tavern.

  • Visited January 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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149 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    86
    52
    10
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Morris County, NJ
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
“wow!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 29, 2012

The Spanish Tavern is, simply, incredibly good, in every way. The dining room was decorated beautifully for the holidays, and the staff was polished. Unlike other restaurants in the Iron Bound District, the tables are well spaced, and not on top of each other to cram in as many diners as possible. It was very comfortable and relaxed.

The service was impeccable. For example, an empty dish never remained on a table for more than a few seconds. Water glasses and glasses with sangria were always replenished. Once a bowl was filled with lobster shells, it was whisked away and replaced with a clean bowl, in one fell swoop. Top notch.

The food was delicious and satisfying. A tasty, hearty vegetable was served before our appetizers and it hit the spot on a frigid December night. My friend and I shared a chirozo appetizer, which was large enough to share, and we had about 1/4 left over. I ordered the crab-stuffed lobster and it was delicious. The stuffing was predominantly succulent crab chunks, and not filler/stuffing. I requested a small lobster (1-1/4 lb) and the size was perfect. The lobster meat was tender and juicy. The chips and rice that accompanied our meals were yummy too. My friend ordered the shrimp in lemon sauce and said it was excellent. It was beautifully presented and, again, the portion was large enough to take some home. Unfortunately, we were meeting people after dinner, and ran too short on time to have dessert, but the platter they presented the adjacent table looked really, really good. Wish we could have ordered because I'm sure they would have been delicious. The white Sangria was sweet and delicious and made with a good balance of liquor and juices -- not watered down like you may find in other restaurants. If I had one "complaint," and, admittedly, it can hardly be justified as a valid complaint, it would have been nice if the Portuguese rolls were served warm and the butter was soft. But, other than that minor detail, every aspect of our meal was extraordinary.

The prices on the Specials menu were a little steep but don't be put off by that because there are reasonably-priced (relatively speaking for Iron Bound restaurants) dishes on the regular menu.

In short, The Spanish Tavern was great. Now my only fear is that we will not be able to get a table the next time we visit! Although, a restaurant this good could never remain a best-kept secret!

  • Visited December 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Food
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Long Valley, New Jersey
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
19 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
“A Newark Treasure”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 15, 2012

Great place to go before a show or event at the Prudential Center. The menu choices are sure to please everyone, the portions are generous, the prices are reasonable, and the staff are professional and friendly! John, the maitre'd was especially nice! We had a delightful evening - will definitely return.

  • Visited December 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Food
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Skillman, New Jersey
Top Contributor
55 reviews 55 reviews
31 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 26 cities Reviews in 26 cities
34 helpful votes 34 helpful votes
“Good (but not great) Spanish food”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed December 11, 2012

Spanish Tavern has lots to recommend it. The service is good, the chips are excellent, and the ambiance is pleasant enough. There is free parking (a big convenience in the Ironbound). We had a paella valenciana, which was big enough to serve 2-3 people. It was good, but not overly inspiring. The sangria was good and the price was reasonable. Two things I did not like: the tables were really jammed together. We were with two tall guys and it was a tight fit. Also, some roving troubadors came into the restaurant, sang a few songs I did not want to hear, and then walked around asking for money. Ugh. So overall, I think I would try a few other places in the Ironbound before I came back here.

  • Visited December 2012
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Food
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Northampton, Massachusetts
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
“Great party room on the lower level”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 10, 2012

Staff is very attentive; food wonderful. They couldn't have been more welcoming. We had a graduation party here and we were coming from out of state. Very flexible and willing to change the count on a daily basis.

Visited September 2012
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