Scroll down for a list of all reviewed Spanish restaurants.
Although New Orleans was founded and acculturated by the French, it was a Spanish colony for a long time. The architecture of the French Quarter is really Spanish, for example. Despite that, Spanish cooking has only recently begun to catch on in New Orleans, and then mostly because it's become hip in the rest of America.
As in other European countries, the cooking styles of Spain are highly regionalized, different on one side of the country than another. What we find in New Orleans is a greatest-hits album of all those styles. Paella has always been on every Spanish menu. During the past decade, the popularity of tapas--the wide range of bar snacks that's evolved into a dining strategy--has enlarged the appetizer portions of all the Spanish places. Filling a table with friends and tapas of all kinds is delicious fun.
Those new to Spanish food must make a disconnect between it and Mexican food. The two are related, but more like cousins than parents and siblings. Spanish cooking is to Mexican what French cuisine is to Creole and Cajun. Many of the same names for dishes and ingredients link the pairs, but the flavors are far apart. A Spanish tortilla, for example, is a potato omelette, not the Mexican flatbread.
One of the finest pleasures of eating in a Spanish restaurant is the exploration of Spanish wines. They're much more numerous and of better quality than what used to arrive in these precincts even ten years ago. Sangria has been demoted to a footnote.
Click on any of the restaurants below for a detailed review.