La Vara

4.7
681 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 681 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
4.8
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
3 reviews
Dined on April 9, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

food and service were superb
will definitely return

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OT
New York Area
7 reviews
Dined on April 7, 2019
Overall 1food 3service 1ambience 1

Felt unwelcome from entering the door. Server looked put upon to educate us about the menu. Food was rushed. Never inquired about how we enjoyed the wine or meal. Server was unable to clearly describe the special and was robotic in her delivery. She could care less about our dining experience. Will never go back or recommend to others.

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SM
1 review
Dined on April 7, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 4ambience 5

Loved the food! Only disappointment was the runny eggs when we asked for them to be well cooked.

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D
New York Area
3 reviews
Dined on April 6, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

This is a neighborhood favorite that never disappoints. The food is surpassed only by the service, but both represent an attention to detail that is worth every penny.

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OT
Chicago
1 review
Dined on April 5, 2019
Overall 3food 3service 4ambience 5

We were excited about this place from reviews and actual close friends who raves about it, but we found the food lacking. The cucumber and grain salad was among the most delicious things I’ve ever eaten, and the shrimp were incredible. The rest was, meh. Bland, lacking flavor or seasoning. I find myself yearning for the delicious restaurants of my hometown of Chicago, and NY tends to let me down with these close-but-no-cigar places. La Vara is a place I desperately want to love, but only really liked.

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NP
New York Area
2 reviews
Dined on April 2, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Love the inventive choices on and off the menu. Great, attentive service. Not a huge fan of the desserts.

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JG
1 review
Dined on April 1, 2019
Overall 5food 4service 5ambience 5

Very enjoyable but a bit packed in at the Bar. Really good staff. Not cheap, not expensive.

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

This was so good! The food exceeded my expectations, the atmosphere was fun and lively especially for a Monday night. I received a candle on my dessert acknowledging my birthday in a subtle manner which was lovely. Can’t wait to go back!

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R
1 review
Dined on March 31, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 3

Super tasty, simply delicious. Great brunch menu without the usual suspects!

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ES
1 review
Dined on March 30, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

It was magnificent the food is just so excellent it make you want to try all. The ice cream at the end blow your mind. The service is so professional and friendly at the same time. Love La Vara

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J
New York Area
27 reviews
Dined on March 27, 2019
Overall 4food 4service 4ambience 4

Very good dinner overall, some dishes clearly better than others. Good wine

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

Everything was perfect!

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LS
New York Area
34 reviews
Dined on March 26, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 4

La Vara is a wonderful combination of fresh, vibrant and incredibly flavored dishes coupled with a relaxed, warm and inviting atmosphere. Our waiter was knowledgeable, professional and friendly. He made sure to
manage expectations; we knew dishes would come out as they were ready -- the perfect time at what to enjoy them. The decor is simple and inviting. Prices skew a bit high for such a casual feeling spot, but menu ingredients are surely top notch and likely more expensive. Our only objection was to the wine prices. Spanish and Portuguese wines usually skew a bit more reasonable, but we paid $60 for four quite skimpily poured glasses. We live in the neighborhood and are looking forward to becoming regulars -- but may stop elsewhere for cocktails first.

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JM
New York Area
13 reviews
Dined on March 25, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Always delicious. Great service, dishes, specials. Highly recommend!

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OT
New York Area
1 review
Dined on March 23, 2019
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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KP
1 review
Dined on March 23, 2019
Overall 4food 5service 5ambience 4

La Vara was great, would definitely recommend that you make a reservation. It's a small, but popular spot among locals, and even with a reservation you're likely to be waiting at least a few minutes for your table to clear up. The food, sangria, and espresso are delicious and super fast. The staff are warm and welcoming. Will definitely be back.

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BF
New York Area
7 reviews
Dined on March 22, 2019
Overall 5food 5service 5ambience 5

Great food and atmosphere!

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BS
New York Area
7 reviews
Dined on March 22, 2019
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
6 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
200 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
6 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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