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Spanish Style Tapas in LA

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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.

                1. Like others have mentioned, Cobras & Matadors is tapas and I personally love it (although there are many detractors on CH). But be warned before you go - it is not traditional Spanish tapas at all - more like interpretations of tapas.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: aching

                    What Cobras lacks in autheticity of tapas they make up for with a fantastic Spanish wine list (los feliz location).

                    1. re: Marianna215

                      There's a great wine list at the Mid-City location, too: you just have to walk it in yourself from the store next door.

                  2. must agree with Das. we spent 10 days on a tapas crawl through barcelona and san sebastian in spain recently.

                    no one in l.a. we've found yet hits it right on. maybe there's not a market.

                    although the menu at LA LUNA NEGRA is closer to what you'd find, it's not a tapas bar, more of a restaurant with paella too and the food quality falls a bit short for us. less authentic and also short, BAR CELONA. COBRAS & MATADORS (both locations) consistent and mostly yummy, but not authentic (but their tortilla is spot on).

                    for cutting edge and something closer to what might be served at SANTA MARIA in barcelona, VERTICAL WINE BAR's small bites and well selected cheese, but it's certainly not spanish.

                    can't wait to go back this summer! pray for a stronger dollar.

                    4 Replies
                    1. re: revets2

                      Yeah, I also went to barcelona and san sebastian (last summer) and it's pretty tough to find real spanish tapas in LA. La Tasca on Melrose has good tapas, but not straight up Spanish. Believe it or not, Father's Office (famous for the burgers) in Santa Monica, has some really nice tapas, but a limited offering.

                      There's a spanish wine bar that opened a few months ago that I can't remember the name of...it's by Fairfax. supposed to be pretty authentic, but the menu looks limited. In fact, I just had a hankering for tapas last weekend and ended up at Mediterraneo in Hermosa. Pretty decent fare for what it was, but not real Spanish tapas to say the least. At least their caipirihnas are tasty. :-P

                      How's La Paella's tapas?

                      1. re: purediva

                        It's called "Bodega" something. I went there a few months ago and the selection was limited. Nice atmos - very authentic, but I haven't been back. I'm going to Barcelona this summer, so I'm putting any tapas cravings on hold until then. But I do like Cobras and Matadors.

                          1. re: aching

                            I didn't that was new; but I thought it was a Cuban joint anyway.

                    2. OK, while it's probably not straight from Seville, search for the threads on The Minotaure in Playa del Rey. Great ambiance (tiny place) and really great small food portions. Chorizo, paella, and a bunch of seafood and vegetarian options - tasty ones.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Cinnamon

                        if you want to google it, the spellilng is minotaur.
                        also, they really only have a couple of vegetarian options (that is, if you want some protein in your dish)--and those are based on goat cheese.

                        1. re: westsidegal

                          Actually the restaurant's The Minotaure and the url is www.theminotaure.com ... but if you want to spell the allegedly mythical creature, *then* yes - there's no e on the end. :)

                      2. It's not necessarily spanish style, but if you're into the small/share plates trend, AOC on third is amazing. It's supremely delicious and it's in a great setting.

                        1. I've never had Tapas in Spain, so perhaps it's not authentic, but The Courtyard on Santa Monica in West Hollywood has yummy tapas.

                          1. This place never gets mentioned on this board, but I love Bodega De Cordova, on Fairfax by 4th (just across from the Farmer's Market). This place is by far the most similar to places in Spain. Cash only, and the wine list consists of only Spanish wines and cava.

                            Edit - oops, I see it was mentioned above. Anyway, GO! It's great!

                            9 Replies
                            1. re: hrhboo

                              NoSuch Thing!!!! most of the places here are completely white wash or have some nasty mexican mix....

                              but keep you eyes open there is a FANTASTIC Spanish Tapas franchise coming to southern calif called Lizzaran!!! The food is amazing

                              1. re: barcelona

                                Yes, one of them is slated for Anaheim, in negotiations now with the Garden Walk (on Disney Way and Clementine Street).

                                It's sad to me that this will probably be the most authentic pintxos in the LA area, when it's the Starbucks of tapes in Barcelona. But I'll still go.

                                1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                  Joe Miller of Joe's Restaurant is opening a tapas place in SM called Pintxo. Should be open by the end of summer, hopefully.

                                    1. re: Densible

                                      It's pronounced "pincho" and literally means pinches of food. I'm pretty sure it's the Basque word for tapas, snacks etc.

                                      1. re: hrhboo

                                        I think it's Catalan (the language spoken in Barcelona other than Spanish)...

                                          1. re: aching

                                            It's both, sort of. It's Basque, originally, for any kind of snack, but in Catalan it refers specifically to the slice of bread with topping. The name for tapas in Catalan is "tapes", with a schwa as the second vowel.

                                          2. re: hrhboo

                                            so one can use it interchangeably to mean "tapas" I love that

                                  1. re: EatinThePizzaNaked

                                    I second. Been meaning to try it after the first time. So, obviously I am not posting from a position of authority. But here is the tapas link for all you "Anglesh" speakers from "EatinThePizzaNaked" 's post...


                                    Ole Tapas Bar in the Valley? Shoot, I've had better tapas in South London!! And believe me, at the time, London was just learning how to cook....

                                  2. Next Door Tapas Lounge on Ventura in Studio City is great. Good atmosphere and delicious tapas!