At Xicala, a Nolita tapas bar a hair smaller than the average Manhattan living room, sangria isn’t just an afterthought. It’s the specialty. Preparation is careful—not ladled from a sludgy jug of leftover table wine and fermenting fruit. Wine is studded with fresh strawberries, which add in a layer of sweet and tart flavors. The signature drink is echoed in the bar’s deep red walls, the color field brightened by glittering mirrors and glass tiles. A handful of rough-hewn wooden tables and benches anchor the cozy, rustic vibe. On warmer nights, French doors open wide onto sidewalk tables, where couples and nabe professionals nosh on Spanish small plates like fat marinated olives, salty slivers of prosciutto and tender chicken meatballs. House specialties, including codfish chunks dunked in port raspberry vinaigrette and grilled baby lamp chops slathered in a honey-orange sauce, are worth waiting for the bartender/waitress’s free moment. In the off chance you want a little more depth than a summery sangria can offer, Xicala’s short wine list is well curated, with the expected Spanish focus and specials that change daily.
151 Elizabeth St., near Kenmare St.; 212-219-0599
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