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Tapeo or BarLola?

A couple of my girlfriends are coming in this weekend and we're spending one glorius baby-free night at the Sheraton in the Back Bay. I'd like to get tapas in the area, and I'm wondering if there is a board favorite between Tapeo and BarLola. I've been to Tapeo once before, and I thought it was good enough, but I've never been to BarLola. Also if you could comment on whether one patio is better than the other that would be helpful too. Thanks!

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  1. My take: BarLola is a hair cheaper than Tapeo, and does a few tapas pretty well. Tapeo wins hands down for me on atmosphere (gotta love the surrealist decor), patio (great people-watching on Newbury Street, as opposed to subterranean patio with obstructed view of Comm Ave, which doesn't have much pedestrian traffic) and food (Tapeo and Dali coming pretty close in many of their tapas to the stuff I remember from Madrid and Sevilla).

    Your mileage, as always, may vary.

    1. Surrealist? Are you thinking of Dali instead? How so? I think of the 2 as somewhat similar in decor, both going for the sort of rustic brick/tile/wrought iron look (skip the upstairs room at Tapeo, which is nondescript).
      I agree that, judging on my few experiences, Tapeo is kind of underrated, someone else mentioned that too recently...It's no Taberna, but it's solid.

      1. I really like them both, but I think for one night out I'd go to Tapeo, which is a bit more expensive, just for location and for a slightly better variety of more creative tapas...though even that is debatable.

        I got to Lola a lot because I live on the same block, and I like to sit at the bar, and the bartenders know us and we get good, fast service, and even occasionally a free sangria refill ;-). For a one night only thing, especially if you want al fresco dining, Tapeo is the better bet.

        You must must must must must must get the conejo (rabbit). omfg, I love it. It's actually good at both places, but Tapeo's is the best. Watch out for the small bones though, and get extra bread for mopping up all the sauce.

        1. My other Tapeo faves:
          A long island duckling leg with a wonderfully flavorful and rich berry sauce.

          The goat cheese. Creamy, flavorful, served in a shallow bath of tomatoes. yum!

          1. avoid barlola like the plague. try toro instead, mass. and wash. st.

            1. I would have to say that bothare underwhelming compared to Toro, Ken Oringer's fairly new place in SOWA. It has a much better variety, and the flavors and choices beat the pants off BarLola. i don't have anything bad to say about Tapeo -- they were the standard until Toro. Expect the same wait at Tapeo or Toro, but expect to make a night of it at Toro and have much more fun!

                1. Another vote for Tapeo. Some other suggestions: The Artichokes in saffron cream sauce, the white anchovies (cold) as simple as it sounds I find the potato salad (cold) outstanding, with a hint of vinegar and capers.

                  While I think they do a decent sangria, it seems to me that they have reallly jacked the price. I think a pitcher goes for about 24 bucks and it really isn't that big. Last time the sangira doubled our party's bill (or maybe I'm cheap), but that is about the only negative I can come up with.

                  I've enjoyed Toro as well but I would say that their fare is a bit more upscale/ gourmet, by comparison I consider Tapeo closer to comfort food.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Food4Thought

                    I like Tapeo, but I haven't tried Bar Lola. We always get the same things--the already mentioned baked goat cheese/tomato, the garlic shrimp (the shrimp don't really taste like anything, but the garlic and oil with bread is so good), and my absolute favorite, the pork with blue cheese sauce. And then we throw in a vegetable and try to call it healthy ;).

                    I don't care for sangria, but they have some fairly reasonable wine--the house red is not at all bad, and ~$7/glass.

                  2. I had really wretched food on a couple of visits to BarLola. Tapeo isn't my favorite tapas place, but it's respectable, and one of the better Newbury Street options.

                    1. I am a BarLola fan. The tapas are actually pretty authentic, I love the outdoor space, and they do an excellent sangria.

                      The canelones with spinach are classic Catalan fair. The empanada, croquets, rabbit, and paella are all pretty respectable. Not sure why this thread is quite so anti-BarLola. I have eaten their 3-4 times in the last 4 months an liked what I had. I was not blown away, but I left with a smile on my face thinking this is on my permanent rotation.

                      Tapeo is owned by the same family that own's Dali. Nothing is at all authentic about their menu and I never think the food is that tasty. Food4Thought's meal is a perfect example, with the exception of the shrimp, none of that is even Spanish.

                      On a separate note I recently had dinner at Solea in Waltham, also owned by the same family. One of our group had a huge, seafood chocked, completely flavorless paella. It looked kind of pretty, and fulfilled a touristy idea of what Spanish food should look like, but completely lacked any flavor. In all fairness, a couple of the other nibbles we had were decent.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: StriperGuy

                        I second the pro BarLola sentiments. Terrific fried prawns too.