So, funny thing about Pil Pil. When I was researching the best restaurants in the Upper East Side, I saw that there was a Peruvian place called Pio Pio that was highly reviewed. I wrote the restaurant name in a note in my phone and promptly forgot about it for a while. A long time after, I was trying to pick a place for dinner, and I saw that my note said “Pil Pil,” which had me a little confused because I vaguely remembered a “Pio Pio” but wasn’t quite sure. Turns out my iPhone autocorrected what I had written, but interestingly enough, “Pil Pil” is also a highly rated restaurant in my neighborhood. What are the chances!
So that’s how I happened upon Pil Pil, and boy, am I glad for autocorrect, otherwise it probably would’ve never been on my radar. The restaurant is intimate with tall tables with stool seating, webs of tree branches across the ceiling, a colorful display of wine bottles behind the bar, and chalkboards displaying the day’s specials. All in all, Pil Pil has great decor and ambience.
Tapas is kind of my ideal dining situation, because it’s where you order a wide variety of small plates to make a full meal. Great for people who want to try as much as they can (raises hand) or those who can never decide. The menu is broken up into sections–meat, seafood, flatbread, vegetables, croquettes/pastry, toast tapas, and cheese. The waitress recommended that the table order 1 to 2 dishes per person, so my roommate, her mom, and I decided to get five dishes.
We picked the zucchini frito (fried zucchini with pimiento sauce), empanadillas de berenjena (eggplant, asparagus, and manchego cheese stuffed pastry), pulpo a la gallega (grilled octopus with garlic and olive oil served with boiled potatoes topped with paprika), a cheese plate (we chose a sheep, cow, and goat cheese), and macaroni and cheese with chorizo croquettes from the day’s specials.
Our food arrived promptly, and we were presented with a feast. I was surprised by how big the portions were. And everything, I mean EVERYTHING was absolutely fantastic. The fried zucchini was crisp and delicious, the empanadillas were my roommate and her mom’s favorites, and the macaroni and cheese croquettes tasted very similar to arancini but made even better with the delicious chorizo sauce. The cheese plate came with bread, olives, and grapes, which was much more accompaniment than I was expecting, and the octopus was tender and buttery.
We couldn’t stop raving the entire meal about how yummy everything was. I can’t wait to come back here and try even more dishes like the grilled skirt steak with fries, spicy ketchup and aioli; shrimp poached in garlic, olive oil, red pepper flakes and sauvignon blanc; and the flatbread with mushrooms, manchego cheese, and truffle oil.
Pil Pil also has quite a few special events and deals throughout the week. They have a Sunday brunch where there’s unlimited sangria, live Spanish guitar every Wednesday from 7:30 pm to 11 pm, happy hour every day from 4 pm to 7 pm with $3 beer and sangria, and half-off wine bottles on Sundays.
Pil Pil is a great place to go whether you want to try tapas for the first time, you’re looking for a good happy hour, you want to impress your date, or hey, if you simply want good Spanish food. I highly recommend it. And just think, if it wasn’t for my iPhone, I would’ve missed out on all this goodness.
Zucchini frito, empanadillas de berenjena,macaroni and cheese croquettes with chorizo, cheese plate, pulpo a la gallega
265 E 78th St.
New York, NY 10075