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Jan 10, 2009 06:35 AM

Best Tapas in PDX?

I'm from a very small town and recently moved to the PDX area. Believe it or not, I've never had Tapas, so I'm looking for some suggestions in the Portland area. Thanks!

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  1. Do you want really traditional Spanish Tapas or are you more looking for food served in the style of Tapas?
    The closest to traditional, that serves excellent food is Toro Bravo.
    Andina is a "small plates" kind of place, but does Peruvian. Again, great food.

    Be more specific in what you are looking for, and I and others will better know what to suggest.

    3 Replies
    1. re: nkeane

      Sorry to rain on that plain, but Toro Bravo is not at all traditional Spanish food. The array flavors they combine are definitely not in the "simple" concept of most Spanish tapas. When I went, the food was actually not good at all, things were out of balance and not anything like the food I've had in Spain. Might give it another shot, but not very optimistic, despite the constant, load roar of its loyal cheerleaders. And cooking a nice little piggy in what is basically a "boil-in bag" might be all the rage, but does nothing for building flavor as far as I'm concerned. Where's the foam???

      1. re: sambamaster

        You're probably right, but then again, the OP's never had it, in Spain or anywhere. For someone who's never had tapas, is there a better place to go?

      2. re: nkeane

        How much more specific can the OP get than "tapas?"

      3. Hey Chubbychic - ask a simple question to a bunch of foodies and what do you get???

        Get thee to Toro Bravo - but be aware there can be a wait (esp on weekends). There are a few "traditional Spanish" tapas items on the menu - but, IMHO, they tend to be some of the "weaker" items. The rest of the tapas on the menu are excellent variations on a theme of "traditional spanish" tapas.

        There is also a place called Navarre that does "small plates" but doesn't strictly limit themselves to Spanish food. I've had a good experiences there, too. Lolo is another place - but I was very underwhelmed in my one visit there.

        5 Replies
        1. re: MyNextMeal

          I agree. I think it's ludicrous to ask the OP to "be more specific." How much more specific do you need to be about tapas?

          I love Toro Bravo, and I think in Portland that's about as good as you'll get. However, Navarre is also great. But both are not strictly tapas joints. For that, I hear there's a great place in Seattle, but that's another post!

          1. re: MichaelG

            I only wanted to know if he wanted STRICT tapas or would be happy with a more liberal interpritation. any particular reason that is ludicrous?

            1. re: nkeane

              Maybe it's just me, but if someone is unfamiliar with a cuisine (or any topic for that matter), it's kind of off putting to hear, "Be more specific in what you are looking for, and I and others will better know what to suggest."

              One could instead A) show off the depth of one's foodie knowledge by educating the OP on the different types of tapas/small plate options (Spanish, Mediterranean/Turkish/Greek/Arabic Mezze, Latin American) that are out there and B) suggest a couple of no-brainer places to try in Portland - cuz it ain't like there are more than 5-6 options in this town for Spanish Tapas.

              And, to keep on topic, there is a newish place in town called TAPALAYA - they serve cajun/creole food in a small-plate/tapas format. I've heard good things but not been there yet.

              1. re: MyNextMeal

                one could do that, yes. Apparently you have never spent time doing such, posting addresses, links, etc. only to get a response of "oh, no....i wanted X not Y. are there any of these places?" see, its just easier if Its made absolutely clear before an effort is made.

                as far as Tapalaya goes, I too havent been but ive heard very MEH things about it......I will go sometime, but its not on my radar. That the name needs to be added to the "stupid restaurant names" thread!!! seriously retahhhded

                1. re: nkeane

                  I agree that it's off-putting when people say "get more specific." Keep in mind that if you answer X and they come back with "I was looking for Y," at least other readers will have learned about your appreciation for X. What's really annoying is to read a post and then look forward to the response, only to get "well, how much do you want to spend? Do you want east side or west side? Do you want strict vegetarian...." Just answer the question to the best of your ability!!!

        2. You may want to try The Maiden located on the corner of SE Morrison and 7th in East Portland. I liked the tapas I had there. They have small, medium and large plates. Their red Sangria is very good.The prices are moderate. I also liked the ambiance and the server.

          1. Oregon Liquor laws dictate that all bars must also have food on the menu. As a result of that, you can have "small plates" (not in name, but certainly in spirit) at most any bar.

            Places like Teardrop Lounge, Bar Mingo and Victory Bar come to mind in this regard.

            And in fact, my favorite "small Spanish plate" is the lomo and soft-scrambled egg at Clyde Common.