I wouldn’t recommend coming here because they have the best paella in NYC or that the steaks rival Ruth’s Chris or Flemings. Don’t get me wrong, the food is delectable but the real attraction of El Quijote is that it has resisted gentrification while staying in business for 80 years right next to the storied Chelsea Hotel. Always a hub of artistic and bohemian residents, the Chelsea Hotel’s guests essentially used El Quijote as their dining room over the years. Bob Dylan, poet Allen Ginsberg, writer Dylan Thomas, and Sid Vicious of the Sex Pistols are among a long list of creative types to set up temporary residence here….and believe it or not, all of them weren’t living on an unlimited expense account.
That tradition carries over today with El Quijote’s copious house sangria and cheap lobsters. Upon entering, you’ll feel you’ve stepped into another era. A suit of armor paying homage to the man from La Mancha immediately greets you. The interior is dimly lit with worn Spanish décor and Cervantes murals on the walls. Here you can afford to indulge your creativity on the back of a napkin or imagine the distinct possibility that Janis Joplin or Jimi Hendrix were sitting right in your seat years ago.