The Look: Despana

September 28, 2012 | Alex

One of my favorite commercial spaces in Manhattan is Despana. Located in the neighborhood called Nolita (just east of SoHo), the food shop carries a variety of imported Spanish goods and features a small tapas bar in the back. I find myself stopping by anytime I'm in the area for a quick snack of pintxos-- or choriza a la sidra if I'm especially hungry. It's an opportunity for me to re-stock on their tiny little cartons of garlic aoli and olive oil by ArteOliva. I recommend both as a pantry staple and an absolute must-have if your future travel plans involve an apartment rental. (I have to credit my dad, the family chef, with this golden rule: unless you're traveling to a country with incredible olive oil, stop by Despana before your trip. They sell super high quality olive oil in perfectly portioned cardboard cartons. Enough for a 1-2 week trip, small enough to pack in your checked luggage and unlikely to break in flight. If you're an aoli person, pick up a carton of their garlic aoli too. Especially tasty with rotisserie chicken.)


I also like to pretend that their tapas annex is my kitchen in the Spanish countryside. The design incorporates country elements, with the hand glazed subway tiles, exposed beams and beautiful terra cotta cookery on display. But it also feels thoroughly modern and liveable thanks to the industrial touches: barn lighting, tolix arm chairs and that killer steel mirror in the right of the frame.

While I'm unlikely to have a Spanish country house any time soon, it would be possible to re-create the look-and-feel in Brooklyn without breaking the bank. 

Here's how I'd do it:

The Permanent Fixtures


The Accessories



  1. 3x6 Field Tile in Crackle Finish, Architectonics via Waterworks
  2. McCoy Industrial Cord Pendant, Rejuvenation - $163
  3. Expedit Shelving Unit, Ikea - $199
  4. Mix+Match Table, Industrial Steel Base + Marble Top, West Elm - $1,599 (You could also DIY this using plumbing pipes for a base and a slab of marble for less money, but I spotted this table in person in the Dumbo West Elm store and can verify that it's exceptionally beautiful. The honed marble top has really interesting statuary-like veining. If only I had 1.5K and a spot for a new dining table.)
  5. Tolix Cafe Chair, Pottery Barn - $245 (On sale. Originally $269)
  6. Olive Tree, Sur La Tabla - $39.95
  7. Vintage Hand-Painted Majolica Plate with Moorish Design, - $76; Similar designs available at Despana.
  8. Harbor Bath Accessories, Nate Berkus for Target  - Individually priced $9.99 - $12.99 (They are meant to be bath accessories, but I'm thinking they might do nicely in Ryan's kitchen. Or in my Spanish kitchen.)
  9. 12" Sockerart Vase/Pitcher, Ikea - $19.99
  10. Terra Cotta Cazuelas, La Tienda - Prices vary; Similar cookware available at Despana.