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TOP TAPAS IN FLA

Here are a few from my neck of the woods...which are yours FLA?

1. Casa Juancho - Little Havana, Miami, FLA (Bar & Lounge)

2. Cafe Tu Tu Tango - Coconut Grove, FLA

3. Tapas y Tintos - South Beach, FLA

Very honorable mention: Michy's and Social (Miami, FLA)

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  1. El Carajo -Citgo station @ 17th & US1. Though I've heard unfortunate rumors that the chef has left.

    Bodega Wine Bar (?) Giralda between Ponce and LeJeune

    Copas y Tapas - Miracle Mile

    Xixon - haven't tried yet but have heard good things - Coral Way

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    El Carajo International Tapas & Wine
    2465 SW 17th Ave, Miami, FL 33145

    Xixon
    2101 SW 22 ST, Miami, FL 33145

    Copas Y Tapas
    98 Miracle Mile, Miami, FL 33134

    5 Replies
    1. re: Frodnesor

      The best tapas place I have been to in a while is Pimientos in Miami Lakes. My friends and family like Paella Seafood Grill in Pembroke Pines, but I was disappointed by them in my one and only visit.

      1. re: Frodnesor

        Second the El Carajo vote. Though I haven't been for a couple of months... tried to go there last Sunday but found out they close on Sunday...

        1. re: Frodnesor

          Just want to report back that the rumor is true - the chef has left. My hubby was there tonight and he was not happy with the food... Guess time to give the other contenders a try!!

          1. re: tarepanda

            I may cry. Maybe he's at the other Bird Rd. location which I've heard about.

          2. re: Frodnesor

            Frod: I've been to both locations for El Carajo and I personally like the one off of 57th Avenue much more. I find it very cozy and the atmosphere is great. Just interested in your opinion if you've been to both...

            1. re: 2top

              I second La Barraca...always wonderful and good service. Also, the flamenco dancers are entertaining!

              1. re: 2top

                I have Tapas on the brain thanks to the news about Michelle Bernstein opening a place in the domo japones spot (design district). Curious how La Barraca compares to the places mentioned in Miami, Xixon, el carajo etc Thanks

              2. Honorable mention to Canela Cafe around 50th & Biscayne. Not the most authentically Spanish, but charming and fun.

                -----
                Canela
                5132 Biscayne Blvd, Miami, FL 33137

                16 Replies
                1. re: Frodnesor

                  I'll gladly second your Canela Cafe props Frod...you summed it up well.

                  Once upon a time, I stumbled upon a really cool gallega-ria right behind the old soda fountain pharmacy on what I think is Bird and Ludlum here in the MIA? Can anyone confirm the name and how it is? I was sure sorry I ate the burger at the fountain/farmacy after seeing this Spanish emporium. They have a store full of groceries from Spain and the tables were all a buzz with authenticity.

                  1. re: netmover

                    You's probably thinking of Allen's Drugstore on Bird Road and Red Road (57th Avenue -- Ludlum is 67th). I don't know where the Spanish grocery store is around there, but I haven't been back to that area in a few years.

                    1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou

                      Too weird Lou, when I was a kid, I lived in SW Miami, just down the road from Allen's!

                      Gonna miss you Saturday, hope we can make another get together soon.

                      1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou

                        You are correct BBVL it is Red Road and U2 Frod for the name, Delicias de Espana.

                        How's the Wine merchant from calle ocho doing in their new digs? They have those awesome pressed sandwiches and vino by la copa. I forget the name. Calle Ocho and the 40's? Kind of a french tapa thing there with those ham sammies.

                        1. re: netmover

                          Would that be Sabor de Espana? Also good....

                          1. re: netmover

                            Are you talking about "Best Time Wines", Net? Or something like that? My father loves that place...he loves going on a saturday afternoon, ordering those serrano ham pressed sandwiches, and sitting on a wine barrel drinking a glass of wine.

                            which sounds pretty good right about now....

                            1. re: jessicam29

                              sounds good...sounds GREAT! I got to find their new digs and myself a barrel + +

                              We hooked up some awesome apps or should I say taps at Casa Juancho the other night. Beef Solomillo with match stick fries were scrumpteous. Fish Croquettes with the Vinaigrettica were devine. Fried Seafood Malaguena rounded out our Tapa buffet....woops, I forgot the Crema Catalan....Yowser!!!

                              ....afuera pa' la calle....8...that is....

                              1. re: jessicam29

                                The French guy from Best Times is now more often found at Happy Wine further west on 8th Street. Best Times closed. The entrance is around the back and has grapes drawn on it. The whole operation looks like one of those bad day car centers where poorly educated single mothers are forced to send their kids. In fact, I think there is one of those infamous Miami parking lot playgrounds bext door. Inside, however, you find a dark jungle of boxes piled from roof to ceiling and their famous pami sandwiches, manchego chunks, and delicious salads all served lovingly in the latest styrofoam plates. The best part are the corner warrens for intimate, claustrophopic seating. It's confusing, but the wine is great and clientele knowledgable.

                          2. re: netmover

                            Yes, Delicias de Espana, and we've had them cater some small events for us before, but I've never just eaten a meal there. Thanks for reminding me!

                            http://www.deliciasdeespana.com

                            1. re: netmover

                              You are refering to Las Delicias de Espana. They have been there for years and make a mean "potage de garbanzos" ( chick pea soup/stew). However, they have gotten a bit pricey the last couple of years.
                              My vote for best tapas goes to Xixon.

                              1. re: cubelle

                                ok cubelle cough it up! where's this place called Xixon and why is it so great?

                                1. re: netmover

                                  Xixon is on Coral Way around 27th Ave. I keep on wanting to try but it's on the wrong side of the road as I'm heading home.

                                  -----
                                  Xixon
                                  2101 SW 22 ST, Miami, FL 33145

                                  1. re: netmover

                                    I think the address for Xixon is wrong...it's actually 1801 Coral Way. My family is borderline obsessed with this place. Its just a really authentic tapas restaurant. It can be crowded at peak times and the atmosphere is kind of weird (it's on the bottom floor of what I assume is an office building), but the food cannot be beat.

                                    I love the garbanzos fritos, bacalao fritters, the lamb chops, ensaladilla rusa, and solomillo roquefort. Check out their website: http://www.xixoncafe.com/

                                    1. re: jessicam29

                                      Thx for correction, 18th makes more sense as it's pretty far east from the Gables.

                                    2. re: netmover

                                      Yep...Coral Way & 18th. Get there early. It fills up quickly. They sell a very drinkable & reasonable crianza wine "Protos".

                              2. In Orlando, we have three very good tapas restaurants:

                                Costa del Sol on South John Young
                                El Bodegon on N. Mills
                                Ceviche on Church Street

                                All have stong menus, but Ceviche offers the broadest, with about 100 different tapas. They also have locations in Tampa and St. Pete, but this one is brand new and gorgeous. Huge hall next door with another bar and flamenco music and dancing on the weekends. Definitely worth the trip.

                                6 Replies
                                1. re: jdc111

                                  In Downtown Naples, there is a lovely authentic Spanish restuarant, that has a really good Menu, that is filled with Tapas. Even though we live in Miami, we try to go over there for the weekend a few times a year. They have outdoor seating, great sangria and some of the best Chorizo I have had!

                                  1. re: MiamiSarah

                                    MiamiSarah, it's Bella Maria Cafe 489 5th Ave S, Naples, Fl, 34102
                                    Phone: 239-403-7222

                                    I have a review of it March 7 on my blog:

                                    http://aninsatiableappetite.blogspot....

                                    Very good tapas, great location to kick back, and prices very reasonable.

                                  2. re: jdc111

                                    Went to Ceviche last night, it is a gorgeous restaurant. I was a little disapointed in the food. Only one of the Tapas we tried I though was outstanding (Filletto, Filet with blue cheese on top of toast). I will try it again and some different tapas. Unless the owners have extremely deep pockets it won't be around very long due to all the construction and lack of foot traffic in the area.

                                    Herbert

                                    1. re: jdc111

                                      I've been to Ceviche in Orlando twice since they opened and both times were wonderful. The food was great, service was attentive and friendly and the environment is very attractive. (Well, inside anyway--there is a lot of construction outside.)

                                      1. re: jdc111

                                        Costa del Sol, great tapas and consistent. The main dishes on the other hand have been off. A couple of times we've been there the side veggies were cold. I don't mean that they had been sitting a while and got to room temp, I mean they were cold, out-of-the-firdge cold. So now we go and order only tapas. Make reservations on nights with a live show.
                                        Ceviche has been hit and miss. The if the place is busy then food is great. if it's a tuesday and raining, try some other place.

                                        And don't forget Cafe Tu Tu Tango. They bill themselves as a tapas bar but for the most part I think it's really touristy. they pass small plates of food with a castilian spin off as tapas. Is pizza topped with chorizo considered tapas? you decide.

                                        1. re: NY P8ntball

                                          I'd just as soon forget Tu Tu Tango, thanks.

                                      2. Besides Baracas in Hollywood, anyone have any tapas suggestions further north in Broward or south Palm Beach? Went once to a pretty good place off of Sample Road not far from the indoor flea market, but when we tried to go there last month they had closed already.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: JulieF

                                          casa mondragon on 3055 n.e. 163 st is divine.was a.v. grill and wine bar but has new owner and new chef.great tapas amazing paella,very nice place good music.left very very happy.

                                        2. The place I was trying to think of on Giralda is called Taberna Giralda and it's located on Giralda Ave. between Ponce and Salzedo. The menu has changed yet again since my last visit.

                                          The standout item is the bacalaitos, excellent, plump fried codfish fritters served with a dollop of a tartar sauce on the side. New menu has a bunch of octopus items done in several preparations. We went with pulpo a la gallega, generously sprinkled with smoky paprika, flavored w/ lots of garlic and served over slabs of potato. They also had several rice dishes and one of my favorites, fideua (thin pasta noodles prepared in the manner of a risotto or paella) but we didn't try. Pollo al ajillo was only so-so. Patatas bravas were crispy outside, creamy inside, and infused with more spicy paprika, but I like when then these are also served w/ some aioli for dipping. A very nice touch was our waiter bringing us, gratis, some fresh roasted chestnuts that they had been preparing for the staff.

                                          Probably not the top tapas in Florida, but a nice neighborhood place.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: Frodnesor

                                            I've been to Taberna Giralda, and while I didn't have tapas, I had their dinner entree of vacio (or was it the entrana... oy!) with a salad, and I must say it was a wonderful meal! It's definitely a nice neighborhood spot that serves good food.

                                          2. Not entirely off-topic, a write-up here of Spanish fish places in today's Miami Herald ->
                                            http://www.miamiherald.com/entertainm...

                                            1. Given the rumors of chef departure at El Carajo (which I've been too sad to confirm), I finally tried Xixon today and definitely will add it to my list ->
                                              http://www.chowhound.com/topics/473790

                                              2 Replies
                                              1. re: Frodnesor

                                                I've been there and woud never describe it as incredible.

                                                1. re: JJASF

                                                  Which, El Carajo or Xixon? El Carajo has really declined, and I don't think I ever described Xixon as "incredible" either - though nothing that I've had was a mind-blowing experience, it's pretty good all around and hits the spot when you're in the mood for tapas.

                                              2. The original Ceviche is in Tampa and is incredible!

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: maladrin

                                                  I had the scallop ceviche and the chorizo tapa at Ceviche in Sarasota 2 days ago, with an agave margarita. It was a quick hit-and-run, but very impressive, and a magnificent building. The jamones Iberico hanging over the bar on the first of 3 levels should be in a vault at night! Barkeep said the paella is the signature dish and is killer. I gotst to know. I'll be back.

                                                2. It's not exactly spanish, but there is a restaurant in Lake Worth that has a tapas cafe on the ground floor, and a regular restaurant upstairs...we're trying it next week, so no review just yet. :-)

                                                  www.bizaareavecafe.com

                                                  1. Vizcaya in Tampa- authentic Spanish cuisine. Great tapas and full meals.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: gfctampa

                                                      We just tried Vizcaya a couple weeks ago and absolutely loved it. Great food, wine, atmosphere, and service

                                                    2. The closest to the food I had in Spain would have to be:

                                                      Tampa: Vizcaya Restaurante and Tapas bar in Carrollwood. Everything there is super fresh and delicious. I've went to the new Ceviche recently and the food was just not very good. I have never had anything less than an awesome meal at Vizcaya.

                                                      Miami: Casa Juancho has incredible seafood tapas.

                                                      1. We had a hankering for tapas and felt like trying something new, and headed north to La Barraca in Hollywood this weekend. Let me start by just noting that I grew up in Hollywood (several decades ago) and that it's very interesting to see how the little pocket of downtown Hollywood, in little baby-steps, keeps on improving. When I was growing up this area was as sleepy as it gets, and it seems like it's really starting to come around.

                                                        We got there around 8:30 and a flamenco show was already in full (and noisy)swing. I can sometimes be a curmudgeon about loud music, but I was actually quickly won over - though we did decide to sit at the bar rather than at the tables directly in front of the stage, which maybe helped muffle it the slightest bit. The dining room was pretty well filled on a Saturday night.

                                                        The menu is for the most part a pretty typical list of Spanish tapas, along with a few main course type items and several different paellas. We had a platter of meats & cheeses (serrano ham, a couple different chorizos, manchego cheese); sepia a la plancha; chistorras; albondigas; and patatas bravas.

                                                        The sepia (grilled cuttlefish, in the squid family) were excellent, simply grilled, generously salted, a whiff of garlic and olive oil. The chistorras (little sausages, roughly the size and shape of a Vienna sausage) were also very good, served in a cazuela with some delicious sweet caramelized onions (and lots of bright red drippings from the sausages). The bravas were also some of the best I've had this side of the Atlantic, with an unorthodox addition of some sweet potatoes (which were actually really good) and a nice spicy sauce tasting more of pimenton than tomato. The albondigas were good but not particularly exceptional, and the platter of meats and cheeses came out quite cold, as if it had all been sliced in advance and stuck in the fridge (which is probably what they did).

                                                        Wine selection was not very inspired but they had a couple of Spanish beers. Surprisingly no sherry list though I'm sure they must have had some. I also tried something I'd never seen before, Pacharan Atza, a Basque apertif made from anisette infused with blackberry, vanilla and coffee beans. I'm always excited to try something different, but this tasted like cough medicine to me.

                                                        The chef is quite a character, with a Salvador Dali moustache and a two-foot-high paper chef's hat, dashing through the dining room to pose for pictures with diners, checking on what we were eating at the bar (and nodding his approval). One curious translation note on the menu - "potato" gets translated as "potato knish" for both the bravas and the tortilla espagnola.

                                                        I was pretty charmed by the place and would happily go back.

                                                        -----
                                                        La Barraca Hollywood
                                                        115 S 20th Ave, Hollywood, FL 33020

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: Frodnesor

                                                          I love La Barraca and I am so glad to hear that you also had a good experience.

                                                          Sigh.

                                                          Spain...

                                                          1. re: Frodnesor

                                                            Finally made it over to La Barraca thanks to Frod's recommendation and had an enjoyable meal. Mrs. CF was very happy to see tortilla espanola on the menu which is a "potato kanish" with sweet onions and egg. Think potato quiche. She was very pleased. Quiche is not really my thing but it was good. Also took Frod's advice and went with the grilled sepia and patatas bravas. Both were great. We also tried the corvina with white wine which was just ok, probably wouldn't order that again.

                                                          2. It's already been mentioned here, but wanted to note that I had a really nice lunch at Copas y Tapas earlier this week. Their menu is mostly bocatas (sandwiches) but there is a short and sweet listing of tapas as well. We had a large table and got to try several things - garbanzos fritos, morcillas w/ potatoes and onions, tortilla, callos, piquillos rellenos con bacalao (a daily special), ensalada rusa, along with a couple of the sandwiches.

                                                            The callos were very good, even converted one of my fellow diners to tripe. I also liked their salad rusa (listed as an especialidad de la casa), you've got to be a mayo fan to like this one but in addition to the typical cubed potatoes, peas and carrots, this one had some tuna in the mix as well. I've always liked their tortilla, which is really tasty.The only thing I didn't really like was the morcilla, which I thought was a little too firm and the spicing a little peculiar.

                                                            Xixon, Taberna Giralda, Casa Juancho, El Carajo (Citgo station location isn't very good any more, sad to say) all have many more choices on the menu, but for the most part what they do at Copas y Tapas, they do well.

                                                            1 Reply
                                                            1. re: Frodnesor

                                                              I had eaten at Copas Y Tapas when they first opened and was not impressed with the tapas. (Anyone that grinds their potatoes into small granules to make a tortilla just doesn’t cut it.) But my wife and I went back several weeks ago in an act of desperation, trying to find a quick little bite in the Gables, and we were impressed. Their morcillas were fairly good, the ensalada rusa and the olives were very good, the mussels were excellent and their tortilla had improved quite a bit. I went back a few days later and had lunch there and their basic serano and manchego sandwich was very good.

                                                              The wine selection is great, if you grab a bottle off the wall. Not a bad place at all. I might rate it higher than Xixon. I have not had great experiences there. The food all looks really good in the refrigerated display cases, unfortunately it rarely tastes as good as it looks.

                                                            2. If you're in the northestern corner of the state:

                                                              Jax - Sangria House at Southside and Touchton - strip-mall restaurant w/ an excellent array of tapas and a good selection of wines and house made sangria. Ask if they have the tres leches on your night and order a slab (enough for two, and just murder). Also, the son of these folks has started a little tapas spot in Riverside at the corner of College and Stockton called 13 Gypsies. He's a bit more adventurous and less traditional than Mom, but has a real knack. He has a concoction called a chorizo burger that pretty describes itself. This boy cooks with no fear. Other selections change with the seasons. Get reservations if you can - there are 16 seats, and when it's full, it's full.

                                                              St. Aug - The Tasting Room in the historic district - run by the same folks behind the outstanding Opus 39. If you're in the oldest city and love tapas, don't miss it.

                                                              -----
                                                              Sangria House
                                                              4320 Deerwood Lake Pkwy, Jacksonville, FL 32216

                                                              The Tasting Room Wines and Tapas
                                                              25 Cuna Street, Saint Augustine, FL 32084

                                                              1. I'm surprised that no one has mentioned Global Grill in Pensacola. The soft-shell crab is to die for.

                                                                http://www.dineglobalgrill.com/index....

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: Big Easy

                                                                  Since when has soft shell crab been considered a tapa? I didnt know they existed in Spain.

                                                                  1. re: brave man

                                                                    It's a concept, not a particular dish.

                                                                2. Casa Juancho - an old standby, but still one of the more consistent places to get good Spanish Tapas

                                                                  Meson Ria De Vigo - I LOVE their Pimientos de Padron, and they were one of the first to bring it to South Florida, followed soon after by Casa Juancho, but I like their preparation better than Juancho's. Great paella negra also

                                                                  La Barraca - their cantimpalos are tasty, as well as a few of the other hot tapas, although i was never a big fan of the majority of their cold ones

                                                                  1. I was looking for more tapas places in Miami, since I'll be down there on Friday for lunch. Would anyone like to add more to these or update their opinions? I'm looking for reasonably priced places, for the most part.

                                                                    Btw, I loved Por Fin in the Gables, so I'll just throw that in there.

                                                                    Is El Carajo still good?

                                                                    -----
                                                                    Por Fin
                                                                    2500 Ponce De Leon Blvd., Coral Gables, FL 33134

                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: OysterHo

                                                                      Por Fin is more of a sit-down lunch/dinner type place, but they do have tapas style items as apps that are quite good (croquetas de jamon, bacalaitos, patatas bravas, pan con tomate).

                                                                      I have been back to El Carajo a couple more times since my last reports above. it is no longer exceptional, but it is still good. Sadly the great piquillos rellenos topped with a squid ink sauce are a mere shadow of the original version, but other stuff is still good.

                                                                      Calafate Grill in Sunny Isles has very cheap happy hour specials, has been some commentary elsewhere on this board. Nothing else that I'm thinking of off-hand that's not already covered on this thread.

                                                                      1. re: Frodnesor

                                                                        We went to Xixion. I felt like I was really in Spain, no one spoke English to us! LOL (at first, anyway) I love that place!!

                                                                        We shared the marinated and fried sardines, the seafood salad, and the stuffed piquillo peppers with cod fish. Everything was delicious. I wish I lived closer, I'd eat there every day :D

                                                                    2. im sorry but i hate cafe tu tu tango, the food smells like paint

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: pdpredtide

                                                                        good thing it's been closed for about a year then.

                                                                        1. re: Frodnesor

                                                                          funny! I was just marvaling at their original local's demise. Cafe Tu Tu Tango that is. Good thing there is still one in Orlando where I get to savour the paint from time to time.

                                                                          I did a walkthru during lunch service at Xixion and I got that same feeling of Spain. It was so busy I elected to lunch elsewhere. It looked amazing!