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Apr 17, 2007 10:17 PM

Spanish Style Tapas in LA

Looking for a spanish style tapas restaurant....from everything I have read and heard...its kind of a hard thing to find apparently. Anyone have any advice or great spots?


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  1. Any particular neighborhood? I like Cobras and Matadors here in the Mid-City. I haven't tried Tasca yet but they're supposed to be good, too. In Pasadena, there's La Luna Negra as well as Bar Celona.

    4 Replies
    1. re: SauceSupreme

      I've been to Tasca and absolutely love it! The food is very authentic, high quality Catalan style with small, medium and large plates. The interior is elegant but cozy and the staff is wonderfully European i.e. from Spain, friendly, knowledgeable and quite leisurely.

      I also like Cobras and go there frequently b/c of the fun atmosphere and no corkage policy, but it's a bit inconsistent.

      1. re: Newkie

        are you sure there is a no corkage policy at COBRAs?

        1. re: revets2

          Positive. You no longer have to buy from next door.

          1. re: Newkie


            Now I can stop sneaking in my Spanish wines from home.

    2. Bear in mind that while there are some places that come close, no place has the Spanish "feel" because the Public Health has some Qualms about food sitting out the way it does in Spain. Never mind that we never got sick even once in Spain, they're still protecting us from The Evil Of Room Temperature Food.

      I'll throw in Ole in Studio City, though the portions are so large they'd be called "mitja raciĆ³" in Barcelona.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Das Ubergeek

        In parts of Spain, like say Seville, Andalucia, they don't have the tapas sitting out to choose from. You have to order them. Unfortunately none of the tapas places around here are even close to being as good, or as good a value. Anyway, I don't see why they couldn't just put the tapas in glass cases and have people point to them. That would satisfy any health code concerns I would hope.

        1. re: Das Ubergeek

          Ole Tapas Bar in Sherman Oaks is pretty good.
          Minibar has some spanish style tapas, as do La Paella and Upstairs2
          Primitivo mixes Spanish and Mediterranean
          A.O.C. has an offering

          1. re: Emme

            Ole Tapas Bar is just OK. Some of the food is really excellent (I'm in love with their goat cheese balls with honey) and some of it is just terrible (they're accomplished the physically-improbable with their mushrooms in white wine -- they're actually saltier than salt).

            It's not really a Spanish vibe, though, for all the deep dark colours and the random art and the tiny tables -- it feels more like a sit-down restaurant with small plates than a tapas bar. The portions are really very large at Ole, which adds to the need to actually sit down and consume a plate -- a tapa in Spain is literally just a few bites, maybe a couple of razor clams al mojo de ajo, or a slice of baguette with toppings, or a small dish of vegetables, which you can easily demolish (politely, even) while standing at the bar or at a small bar table with a glass of wine or cava.

            Like I said, Lizzaran will probably be the most "authentic", if they don't gut the experience to try to appeal to the tourists (unlikely). And if they have Basque cider I will move in permanently.

        2. La Luna Negra in Pasadena
          Maybe Ciudad in downtown

          1. The only place I've seen with a wide array of truly Spanish style tapas in LA County is Viva Madrid in Claremont

            2 Replies
            1. re: Ernie

              I was going to suggest Viva Madrid too, but I thought it might be too far. The selection and the food itself is very nice. I really enjoyed my time there

              1. re: Ernie

                Viva Madrid is highly respected by the folks at La Espanola in Harbor City - that has to be worth something...

              2. There's a selection of Tapas at IL capo Deli in Pasadena - it's an Argentine interpretion but still pretty tasty.