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Despana – Spanish Heaven in Soho

Sometimes New York makes it too easy for New Yorkers to never, ever have to leave. One prominent way of doing this is opening restaurants so authentic in the food they serve that going to the country of their origin for the same offerings almost seems silly. Why go there when we’re all lucky enough to have the goods right here? Ridiculous logic, sure, but when it’s delicious and right around the corner from your office, round trip air fare sounds kinda silly.

While I will take any opportunity to go to Spain, the Spanish specialty food store, Despana, right up the block from my office supports the above logic more so than any other place in Manhattan. Despana is a Spanish food store that houses every Spanish product you can think of and comes complete with tapas and amazing bocadillos for completely reasonable lunch prices.

The first time I went there for a sandwich, on a recommendation from Europeans (of course), there was a line of people from the sandwich counter to the front door, and about all of two of them were American. The rest were Spanish or French or Brazilian – always a good sign as far as taste buds go in my world.

The sandwiches, or bocadillos as they are called, vary in ingredients and are served hot or cold depending on your preference, and they are the reason the long is so long everyday. They are simple, delicious, and full of so many different and beautiful flavors that I have to force myself not to go there every day for lunch.

Now, bear in mind these are not the overstuffed sandwiches you usually encounter in New York but specifically proportioned amazing ingredients packing a flavor punch you will come back again and again for. The service is straight forward and all about the food. Order your sandwich or tapas plates, then take a place at the two common tables to the left of the sandwich counter or go back to your office to make everyone jealous of your amazing lunch.

So far, I’ve tried the Catalan, the Navarrico, and the Chorizo bocadillos and they’ve all been delicious. Personally, I prefer hot sandwiches, but the Despana bocadillo, which is generally served cold, is supposed to be their best one so that is next on my still very long list of things to try there.¬†I’m determined to try the entire menu and if you think that’s impossible, you’re wrong. I like a challenge, especially a tasty one.

While the bocadillos are why I come on an almost weekly basis, the shop also has a huge supply of Spanish products, with meats and cheeses on display to taste before buying. There’s also a lovely little wine shop next door with nothing but Spanish wines and a very educated staff that are super friendly with people who may not be as familiar with Spanish wine as they are with other regions, like myself.

All in all, Despana is a little piece of Spanish heaven in the madness of New York City and a must visit for locals and tourists alike.


408 Broome Street (btwn Lafayette and Cleveland)

New York, NY 10013


Closest Subway: 6 Spring Street

The BEST holidays

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