It's January, and cold, and you're looking for a cozy warm place to savor some wine and savory snacks with a few friends. With low light, abundant space, and a jeweled downstairs lounge to boot, the rustic menu at Sala is sure to please. Diners choose from racciones (appetizers) and platos (entrees); paella is also offered per person for $17. Gothamist favorites included the fried goat cheese with honey and caramelized onion -- overwhelmingly savory with lingering sweetness, and the fresh anchovies bathing in extra virgin olive oil and garlic with crispy chip-like potatoes. Like anywhere offering tapas, the key to a good time is sharing. With this in mind, Sala smartly offers a sampler platter of pinchos for $26 with an assortment of appetizers from the menu. Sala also boasts a whole roasted Mediterranean sea bass, lamb shanks swimming in their own juices, and an abundance of Spanish wines and sherries, available both by the glass and the bottle. Gothamist likes the cavernous downstairs the best: blue like the Mediterranean and tucked away from the chill outside.

Sala is located at 344 Bowery (at Great Jones Street). (212) 979 - 6606.