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Are there any good real spanish tapas bars in the SF area.

Heading to san fran next weekend and would die for some good tapas.
Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

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  1. Barlata.

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    Barlata
    4901 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

    1. Contigo

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      Contigo
      1320 Castro St, San Francisco, CA 94114

      1 Reply
      1. re: ernie in berkeley

        I often find myself craving those little buttery tender octopus slices (on bread) tapas. Also have lots of love for the 1/2 roasted crab (it's what I hold all other dungeness against but only sold in winter) , and mussels with choriço (from the entrees part of the menu). If you're craving clams Aletejano, the mussels might satisfy.

      2. Bocadillos if you don't mind a little Basque influence.
        http://www.bocasf.com/

          1. re: foodeye

            Haven't been to Contigo but Zarzuela is my favorite. Subtle and homemade quality...not over salted.

            1. re: ML8000

              Zarzuela
              2000 Hyde St, San Francisco,

              1. re: ML8000

                Zarzuela since list doesn't register is at
                2000 Hyde St, San Francisco,

            2. Also B44, Esperpento, Patio Español, and Thirsty Bear (eccentric combination, American brewpub with traditional tapas).

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              B44
              44 Belden Place, San Francisco, CA 94104

              Thirsty Bear Brewing Co
              661 Howard St., San Francisco, CA 94105

              Esperpento Restaurant
              3295 22nd St, San Francisco, CA 94110

              Patio Espanol
              2850 Alemany Blvd, San Francisco, CA 94112

              21 Replies
              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                Picaro gets a lot of guff here, but it's the same owners/food as Esperpento. I personally think Picaro has gotten a bit better again lately.

                How about Fonda in Albany? I think it's kinda pricey for what it is, but people seem to like it...

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                Picaro Cafe
                3120 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94103

                Esperpento Restaurant
                3295 22nd St, San Francisco, CA 94110

                1. re: mariacarmen

                  Duck Tacos are a great example of what I'd call small plates and emphatically not tapas. And compared to Cesar shattuck - the only reason to go to Fonda is the noise level is lower.

                  1. re: bbulkow

                    Fonda is modeled after the fondas of Mexico, not the tapas bars of Spain.

                    1. re: bbulkow

                      I had some great Mexican food at Fonda recently. Definitely worth a visit, but not if you're looking for real tapas.

                  2. re: Robert Lauriston

                    Can anyone weigh in on Alegrias on Lombard? I have a Groupon for them...

                    1. re: saffrongold

                      I haven't been to Barlata but none of my friends that live in Berkeley and Oakland have mentioned it so I don't hold much hope. La lola is not bad,is the only one I would go back,though is really overpriced. Alegrias is pretty bad.

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                      Barlata
                      4901 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

                      1. re: rteamalc

                        Barlata is great. Chef-owner is from Spain as are often a high percentage of customers, especially later at night. He used to have real Spanish horchata made from chufa nuts, but the machine broke down too often so he gave up. Best price around on jamón ibérico. Be sure to try the arros negre.

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                        Barlata
                        4901 Telegraph Ave, Oakland, CA 94609

                      2. re: saffrongold

                        The food is pretty good, but the atmosphere is like a morgue.

                      3. re: Robert Lauriston

                        I have generally been underwhelmed by Esperpento; If you are drunk or getting drunk, it is fine. But I wouldn't rate it as high quality or particularly interesting.

                        1. re: SFDude

                          Actually I find it about average quality overall -- but focused on classic tapas not particularly adventurous stuff. The noteworthy thing is that they have a larger number than usual of vegetable tapas. The grilled artichokes are absolutely a favorite and would be a standout anywhere, IMO.

                          1. re: SFDude

                            I think Esperpento's menu is hit and miss but fairly consistent as to which dishes are good (not that I can ever remember which they are except for the morcilla and tortilla). It's not Contigo but it's about half the price, I think both are good values.

                            http://www.esperpentorestaurant.com
                            http://www.contigosf.com

                          2. re: Robert Lauriston

                            What do you like at B44 from the non-paella part of the menu?

                            1. re: Glencora

                              I've hardly gone to B44 since Barlata opened, but my longtime favorites besides the arros negra are the xato, mushrooms, morcilla, octopus, romescada, salt cod filets, and rabbit.

                              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                Thanks. Going tonight before ACT. The rabbit with grilled bread salad does look good. And the xato (Just have to figure out how to pronounce it)... Unfortunately just the two of us, so we won't be able to try as much as I'd like.

                                1. re: Glencora

                                  Xato is pronounced something like château.

                                  1. re: Robert Lauriston

                                    The Xato salad was very good and probably not something I'd have ordered on my own -- yay for Chowhound. No rabbit on the menu. Actually the menu we were given was quite different from the one online. Still, nice meal.

                                  2. re: Glencora

                                    the grilled lamb brochettes are always good, as are the boquerones. i second the octopus with fingerling potatoes. and Pa Amb Tomaquet Catalan Toast is always a simple pleasure.

                                    1. re: mariacarmen

                                      The octopus was still on the menu -- and great, thanks. I think the brochettes are just for lunch. The place was pretty empty, but the prices seem good and everyone was friendly. I suppose they probably do better business at lunch. Hope so.

                                      1. re: Glencora

                                        Frequently when I'm on Belden either all the places are pretty busy or they're all pretty quiet.

                                        1. re: Glencora

                                          yeah, that whole alley is hopping on a nice weekday.