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Jan 2, 2010 04:13 PM

Authentic Spanish restaurants in the Boston Area?

We're looking for an excellent authentic spanish or mexican restaurant in the Boston area to celebrate my father-in-law's 75th birthday. South Shore would be even better. It needs to have a nice atmosphere, great authentic food (to those who have tasted the real thing), not be too exorbitant in price and ideally able to handle a sizeable group. I know it's a lot to ask, and it might be tough to get all our wishes fulfilled, but any suggestions are greatly appreciated. Thanks so much in advance!

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  1. Spanish or Mexican? Those are pretty different...

    3 Replies
    1. re: Prav

      His background is mexican and spanish and he adores both cuisines. He grew up and has been cooking mostly Mexican all of his life, but he just got back from a trip to Spain (his first) and has been particularly excited about Spanish cuisine. So, either would be great, although Spanish might top the list at the moment. Thanks!

      1. re: svd

        Search the board for "Estragon". It's a Spanish restaurant in the South End. Beautiful atmosphere and generally superb food.

        1. re: Prav

          second estragon and would add Taberno de Haro in Brookline, near Fenway.

    2. This is a great and an affordable Spanish resto in the Boston area. If you want Mexican, El Sarape in Weymouth Landing is the BEST in the area.......for miles around. I think the actual address is Braintree...... So good!!! Carnitas !!! Mole!! Yumm!!

      415 Washington St, Somerville, MA 02143

      1. Taberno de Haro is the best authentic Spanish restaurant. Beacon St in Brookline. Fabulous tapas to share and the best Spanish wine list anywhere.

        1. Among Boston-area restaurants, Taberna de Haro and Estragon hew closest to traditional Spanish cuisine, and both are excellent. Taberna is a bit more homey in feel, and has an astonishing all-Spanish wine list. Estragon is more swish in atmosphere, and has a beer / wine / cordial license (making some pretty good cocktails within those limits). Both take reservations: at one time Taberna didn't, but it's on OpenTable now, woo-hoo! (For a big party, you'd probably have to call; most places don't reserve more than 12 or so via OpenTable.)

          Toro does very worthy food, but stretches the definition of Spanish a bit more. (Good bartending and wines, too.) It's not my favorite destination for occasion dinners, though, as it is a very hectic environment, loud and crowded, and doesn't take reservations; there's rarely a time when you won't face a significant wait for a table. Smaller parties work better there.

          4 Replies
          1. re: MC Slim JB

            Taberna de Haro's on Open Table now? That's the best news I've heard all winter!

            1. re: BobB

              I was pretty excited about that development, myself. Somehow I'm guessing you won't be able to reserve Taberna's patio seats that way, though.


              1. re: MC Slim JB

                Maybe not, but in a couple of months I'll be trying.

                1. re: BobB

                  Update - I made a reservation this past Saturday and specifically requested the patio. I was told that they'd try to hold a table there but couldn't guarantee it, but that they would guarantee a table indoors if not outside. I got there right on time (8PM) and got seated outdoors with only about a ten minute wait. And they let us order wine to drink while waiting - very civilized!

                  There was one couple ahead of us for an outdoor table, and they had also made a reservation.

                  So it looks like the bottom line is, making a reservation does help get you an outside table, though not necessarily with quite the same degree of reliability as sitting inside.

          2. If you have a large appetite...

            Lunch at Las Ventas (Estragon's sister sandwich shop next door). Get the "las Ventas" sandwich, a slab of delectable tortilla espanola smeared with aioli and served on wonderful toasted slices (definitely get the toasted slices - perfect textural combo with the egg/potato/oniony goodness). This sandwich rivals Mei Sum's bahn mi as my current local favorite.

            Dinner at Estragon. Wine list isn't as phenomenal as Taberno, but features the old style Rioja of my favorite Spanish bodega: R. Lopez de Heredia. Get the blanco. Not just because it's summer, but because the white Riojas are their finest wines.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Ricardo Malocchio

              We were at Estragon last night and enjoyed it. Disappointed that the $1 selected tapas special could not be had at table but only at the bar. I guess we could have walked the 10 feet and plopped ourselves down barside. But, whatever. Highlights were the Bomba rice with squid and ink (clearly cooked to order), the beef cheeks (braised to impressive tenderness), a grilled baby octopus special and the arugula salad with goat cheese. Bocquerones were disappointing and meager. Price point is good for the quality and the setting and relaxed pace are nice.

              1. re: Ricardo Malocchio

                Ooh ooh I love the R.Lopez de Heredia wines! I've had a 97blanco, the 99 rose, and the 81 red- all fantastic! FYI Brix on Washington St recently had the 1981 red for $85- not sure if it's still there...