Hey fellow hounds!
I'm looking for an authentic tapas place in LA or the LA area. I want amazing sangria, not just orange soda mixed with cheap wine. And i want authentic tapas plates! Any recs would be greatly appreciated!
I like Cafe Atlantic in Old Town Pasadena. They have authentic tapas and great drinks.
Other than that, I have yet to find a tapas place I really love. Cobras & Matadors is a joke (both locations), and AOC is great but it's French.
If you don't mind traveling a bit, try Cafe Atlantic.
If you drive into Pasadena where Cafe Atlantic sleeps, then you can try Xiomara -the mama bear. Both owned by the same person. Cafe Atlantic is more casual and less$$. I like La Luna Negra on Green and Fair Oaks. Green is a one way street. parking is always a hassle. Park in the old schoolhouse parking structure "caddie corner" to La Luna on Green. Free for 2 hours. Been to La Luna numerous times. Used to be consistantly fab. Was there recently and was not as thrilled but, maybe b-cuz it was lunch or an off day. My fav is their blackened scallop salad complete w/ candied walnuts. Still love their sangrias. Another Tapas is located on Colorado - old town Pasadena. Bar Celona - very popular, more $$ than La Luna but, you may like it better. Good Luck :) KQ
I like a place called The Courtyard on La Cienega (Hollywood). They're kind of pricey but worth it. Primitivo in Venice is also good
I have been to Cobras and Matadors in the Los Feliz section of LA a lot of times and think it is great. They have a fried lentil dish that is fantastic. (I know it doesn't sound that exciting, but it's really good.) It reminds me of the best tapas places that I have found in Spain on the several trips that I took there.
There isn't a "real" Spanish-style bar in LA -- meaning a place that is a bar and has tapas behind the bar that get served to you when you order them. Most "tapas" places are cook-to-order small dishes restaurants.
That said, there are some good-tasting ones.
Sangria is hopeless. The sangria at Ole Tapas in Studio City is good (the red -- the white is disgusting) but it's less like a Spanish bar and more like an overdone lounge. The tapas are good, especially the seafood.
La Luna Negra doesn't even pretend to be a bar -- there is one, and you can sit at it, but it's full of tables like a regular restaurant. There are some great things -- anything with pears in it at La Luna Negra is perfect -- but the sangria is too sweet.
I haven't been to Cobras and Matadors in a long time, but it is REALLY small (which is all to the good, as far as I'm concerned) and quite expensive. It has a better vibe, though, and it's more like a bar than a sit-down restaurant. They make these bolitas de bacalao -- little fried salt-cod fritters -- that were like fried sex on a plate, they were THAT GOOD.
One day I'm gonna open a bar here in California and I'm gonna find a way to get around the stupid health department rules about food sitting out (perhaps a bar fridge like they have at some sushi bars?) and make great sangria, and I hope competition opens up, and then finally, people in LA can know what it's like to go "de tapeo".
Sorry to post a negative first, but I have to warn you about La Luna.
My husband is a bonafide spancofile- lived in Madrid for years and all that. I excitedly took him to Luna twice. First time, the place was empty (!) but we were told we had to have had a reservation. What's more, it was only 4.30pm, and the hostess said, sorry, we're holding all of these empty tables for guests that have 6pm ressies. Jeez!
I coaxed him back for another try a few months later, explaining that perhaps the hostess had not set her watch for daylight savings or something. And we went, and ordered heartily. He HATED it. The flavors were all Mexican as opposed to Spanish. Mexican chorizo, too much heat, jalapenos on everything, etc.
I do REALLY like La Paella in West Hlywd
476 S San Vicente Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90048-4107
The staff is from Spain. The sangria is passable (certainly not orange soda!!), and the wine list is very good. Plus I like the romance of this place. The hubby thought the tortilla esp. was a little overcooked, but loved the squid a la plancha.
La Paella is pretty good. They have angulas and if you ask, mojama on occasion.
If you'd settle for do your own - go to La espanola market, and ask to speak with Dona Juana. I think they supply much of the spanish cheese sold by other stores in the area. ANd they have a wide range of meat products. They also have, occasionally, real horchata de chufas (not the mexican sweet rice drink) for sale.