Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Tapas Around the World

Tapas distill all of Spanish cuisine into perfect little snacks, making the nibbling of small savories while
drinking into a casual feast. The Spanish penchant for two-bite dining and its associated conviviality has
swept the world, bringing Iberian dishes along for the ride.


El Cisne de Oro

Calle César Elguezábal 23; www.elcisnedeoro.com
This tile-encrusted traditional bar with hams hanging
overhead captures the tastes of both land and sea –
slices of mountain ham sit alongside plates of white
anchovies in olive oil. The kitchen’s own pungent aïoli
enlivens both the potato salad and small rolls stuffed
with pork and mushrooms.

Nou Manolín Restaurante & Bar

Calle Villegas 3; www.noumanolin.com
One of the quintessential tapas spots, not just in
Alicante but in all of Spain, Nou Manolín offers more
than 50 different tapas every day in the ground-level bar. All the classics are available, as are dishes with a
modern twist, from shrimp in a spicy garlic sauce to
sushi-grade slices of fresh red tuna.

La Taberna del Gourmet

Calle San Fernando 10; www.latabernadelgourmet.com
The owners of this pioneer gastrobar are fanatical
about sourcing the best fish, vegetables, fruits, and
meats and playing up the perfection of the produce.
Excellent tapas choices include a fresh tomato salad
with tuna belly or tempura-fried baby squid.


Granada’s restaurants and bars offer Spain’s
most generous free tapas, making tapashopping
an inexpensive way to dine. Dishes
might escalate from potato salad to a small
dish of stew as customers keep ordering drinks.

Bar Casa Julio

Calle Hermosa, just off Plaza Nueva (no telephone)
There’s no telling just how old Casa Julio might be,
but the jam-packed bar looks little changed from
the days before the Spanish Civil War. Specialty
tapas here include several variations on octopus
and squid – always best with red wine.

Above : Bars groaning with tapas dishes
welcome workers at the end of the day
all over Spain
Below : Air-dried jamón serrano, one of Spain’s finest
delicacies, is often hung from the ceiling.

Gambas (shrimp) from the grill with, in the background,marinated artichokes; tapas are always
best shared, preferably with good red wine; a modern tapas bar in London

On the Menu

Albóndigas Meatballs that combine
bread crumbs with pork, veal, lamb,
or some combination of meats. They
are served in either a brown sauce or a
tomato sauce.
Almejas Clams served in the shells, often
steamed with wine, herbs, and vegetables.
Anchoas The small Spanish white
anchovies, usually lightly poached and
preserved in olive oil.
Berenjenas rebozadas A dish with North
African origins, consisting of eggplant that
is salted, breaded, and fried in olive oil.
Boquerones Anchovies, either canned in
vinegar or fresh and deep-fried.
Chorizo A distinctive Spanish sausage
with many regional variations. It usually
contains pieces of cured ham as well
as ground pork and is always strongly
flavored with Spanish paprika.
Croquetas These take many forms but
most often feature minced cured ham or
poached tuna. In both cases, the filling is
blended with béchamel sauce, rolled in
fine crumbs, and deep-fried in olive oil.
Gambas Shrimp or prawns (species can
vary by season): served a la plancha,
they are grilled whole with the heads on;
gambas al ajillo are peeled shrimp that
are fried in olive oil with copious
quantities of fresh garlic.
Jamón serrano The air-dried mountain
hams seen hanging from the ceilings of
tapas bars, so concentrated and intense
that servings are sliced paper-thin.
Morcilla A blood sausage or black
pudding. As a tapa, it is usually sliced, fried
in olive oil, and served with toothpicks.
In northern Spain, it is filled with pork
fat, rice, and onions, but in central and
southern Spain the filler usually includes
bread crumbs and almonds.
Patatas bravas Named for the Madrid
bar that invented them, fried potatoes
served with a dip of paprika-laced aïoli (a
very garlicky, mayonnaise-like sauce).
Pimientos rellenos Stuffed peppers:
there are a number of varieties, the most
common being small triangular peppers
from the north (either green or red) filled
with salt cod and whipped potato.
Queso manchego The famous aged
sheep’s milk cheese of La Mancha, usually
sliced very thin and served in triangles.
Tortilla española Perhaps the most
universal dish in Spain, a masterful
combination of fried potatoes baked into a thick omelet, sliced and often eaten cold.

Taberna Salinas inexpensive
Calle de Elvira 13; www.tabernassalinas.com
Widely known for offering high quality at low prices,
Salinas proffers tapas that are scaled-down versions
of full recipe dishes: scrambled eggs with ham and
fried potatoes, broad beans simmered with little
pieces of ham, or beef braised with sweet peppers.
Cunini Restaurante & Marisquería

Plaza de Pescadería 14; +34 958 250 777
Appropriately for its location on the fishmongers’
square, Cunini serves the best seafood tapas in
Granada. Salt cod dishes or calamari are common
first offerings – it could take three drinks before they
bring out the shrimp or crisply fried mullet.
Following the Spanish Civil War, thousands of
Spaniards fled to New York, and many made
their homes in Manhattan’s Chelsea
neighborhood. Few restaurants from that era
remain, but New York has blossomed with
contemporary tapas restaurants.
Boqueria moderate
53 West 19th Street; www.boquerianyc.com
Named for the famous Barcelona market, Boqueria
ranges across Spain for its tapas, from the classic
potato omelet to bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with
almonds and blue cheese and a Catalan sauté of
spinach, garbanzos, pine nuts, garlic, and raisins.
Txikito moderate
240 Ninth Avenue; www.txikitonyc.com
Serving mostly Basque wines with its pintxos (as
the Basques call tapas), Txikito pays homage
to Spanish Basque cookery with dishes such as
blistered peppers with sea salt, or a salad of Basque
anchovies and bonito tuna on butter lettuce.
The English love affair with vacations in sunny
Spain has translated into a boom in Spanish
restaurants, especially in London’s Soho and
Bloomsbury areas. Most offer extensive tapas
menus and a strong list of Spanish wines.
Navarro’s inexpensive
67 Charlotte Street, W1; www.navarros.co.uk
With a menu (and wine list) more redolent of
northern than southern Spain, the tapas at Navarro’s
are rib-sticking and satisfying – like the Galician tuna
empanada (stuffed pastry), braised oxtail, and lentil
stew with chorizo. Its red wine choices are splendid.
Barrafina moderate
54 Frith Street, W1; www.barrafina.co.uk
An intimate room with about two dozen stools
around a counter, Barrafina has the crowd density
to claim Spanish authenticity and the menu to match,
from grilled bread smeared with tomato and olive
oil to grilled quail with aïoli.
Tapas Brindisa moderate
18–20 Southwark Street, SE1; www.brindisa.com
The south London tapas bar of a famous Spanish
food importer, Brindisa always has just the
ingredients on hand for top-notch, authentic
tapas like thin slices of jamón ibérico, intensely
spicy Léon chorizo, and the incomparable canned
anchovies of Galicia.
Although the expansion of Chinatown has
nearly absorbed the old Spanish Quarter
along Liverpool Street in central Sydney,
Spanish tapas restaurants and bars are
sprouting up all over the city as dining-bythe-
nibble catches on.
Bodega inexpensive
216 Commonwealth Street, Surry Hills;
With a tapas menu that travels beyond Spain to
embrace Latin America, Bodega serves authentic
Spanish dishes like salt-cod-stuffed piquillo peppers
and Argentine plates like beef empanadas with criolla
sauce. The short, sweet dessert list is also a big hit.
Kika moderate
247 Victoria Street, Darlinghurst; www.kika.com.au
The color splashes of this dynamic tapas bar could
have been lifted from an early Pedro Almodóvar film,
but dishes like deep-fried eggplant in parsley batter
or barbecued pork fillets with blue cheese come
straight from rustic Spanish cuisine.
El Toro Loco expensive
49–53 North Steyne, Manly; www.eltoroloco.com.au
The Crazy Bull is as bold as its name, bringing
authentic Spanish cooking to Manly Beach with tapas
like Jerez-style duck pâté, Madrid-style cocido, and
Castilian lamb cutlets char-grilled with rosemary.
Wines are a great mix of Spanish and Australian.

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