HOME > Chowhound > Greater Boston Area >
Do you create unique foods? Get great advice
TELL US

Tapas for daughter's birthday?

b
bakerboyz Jul 10, 2011 02:22 PM

My daughter loves tapas (her favorite is Jaleo in DC) and I would like to take her to the best tapas in Boston/Cambridge area for her birthday in 2 weeks. Would love your thoughts. I don't see much said on this board about Dali in Somerville, is that still good? Thanks.

  1. ecwashere7 Jul 11, 2011 07:56 AM

    Toro is my hands-down favorite. I think it will be the closest in creativity to Jaleo (I like it better). They don't take reservations, but it's worth the wait.

    -----
    Toro
    1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

    10 Replies
    1. re: ecwashere7
      opinionatedchef Jul 11, 2011 11:56 AM

      I have been to jaleo, and while i respect him terrifically for his other ventures, particularly Mini Bar and cafe atlantico, i was disappointed by jaleo; we like Zaitinia “waaaaay better.”

      That said, strong opinions about tapas here in boston; i most enjoy the spots with creativity and not the same old same old. After unforgivably awful food and sangria at Estragon, I would never return there. Same with Dali. Taking off from previous posters, i think Toro and Oleana are great for your special night out. And while Cuchi cuchi (one of the 3 owners is Dali related) is not one of the same food level, it offers a unique and very fun atmosphere and some v good food. i think you would really enjoy yourselves at all three places, so i will suggest checking the on line menus and thinking about what you want for atmosphere. Oleana has more consistently better food that Toro, imo, but Toro has many excellent things. Toro and Cuchi Cuchi have lots more going on bar-wise than Oleana.

      Oleana is medium loud and tables are as close together as Toro but it is a subdued environment where you can have a conversation. Oleana also has a lovely intimate patio(though not reservable i’m told.) my recent review:

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/790043

      Do report back! happy bday to your daughter and have a wonderful night!

      Toro is WICKED loud, tight packed, and HOPPIN' (major understatement here).

      Cuchi Cuchi is every little girl’s play-dress-up treasure box. Can’t find a friendlier more fun girl spot. My review:

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/712584

      Do report back and Happy Bday to your daughter. Hope you have a great time.

      -----
      Toro
      1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

      Oleana
      134 Hampshire St., Cambridge, MA 02139

      Cuchi Cuchi
      795 Main St, Cambridge, MA 02139

      1. re: opinionatedchef
        t
        teezeetoo Jul 11, 2011 12:11 PM

        while i suggested toro and certainly like it, strongly disagree with oc on estragon (not that i doubt he had a single bad experience but my own experiences have been very good) - in general, the spanish tapas at estragon is the most interesting I've had in Boston. Tico has charm of its own as well. Oleana is Turkish mezze and excellent and the cuisine is interrelated in the way all Mediterranean cuisine shares some ancestry. Taberna de Haro is wonderful for thespanish wine, but often the service is "off" and the food quite pricey. I;'ve had both excellent meals there and disappointing and frustrating ones.

        -----
        Oleana
        134 Hampshire St., Cambridge, MA 02139

        Tico
        222 Berkeley St, Boston, MA 02116

        1. re: teezeetoo
          yumyum Jul 11, 2011 12:49 PM

          Agreed. I really like the tapas at Estragon. Haven't tried the sangria, but I'd go back for pringas and beef cheeks any day! The burger ain't half bad either.

          1. re: teezeetoo
            opinionatedchef Jul 11, 2011 12:55 PM

            the restaurant world is sooo changing isn't it? that's what makes it so hard to be "never" and

            'always' when talking about restaurants and our experiences in them. That's the lesson my opinionated mind should learn. But given that, I could never recommend Estragon or Dali because my honest feelings about them are that i would ' never' return there unless i received knowledge that the chef (and bartender) who were working there those nights was fired for their bad food, and the new chef is wonderful. But i'm so glad Estragon has been a good place for you.

            1. re: opinionatedchef
              b
              bakerboyz Jul 11, 2011 01:36 PM

              Thanks to all for responding. Based on the above I will look at Toro, Estragon and Oleana though I believe that my daughter and wife both would prefer Spanish over Mediterranean cuisine. We have done Jaleo, Zatinya and Oyamel in DC (all owned by Jose Andres) and we all preferred Jaleo, just our tastes perhaps.

              -----
              Toro
              1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

              Oleana
              134 Hampshire St., Cambridge, MA 02139

              1. re: bakerboyz
                ecwashere7 Jul 11, 2011 08:54 PM

                Then go with Toro. Chef Bissonnette is a genuine student of the cuisine and he always has creative takes on it. Furthermore, he recently won Food and Wine's 2011 People's Best New Chef Award.

                If you go, you have to order the suquet, a Catalan seafood stew. It's incredible.

                -----
                Toro
                1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

                1. re: bakerboyz
                  t
                  teezeetoo Jul 13, 2011 07:56 PM

                  coupon for estragon on groupon today - sorry i saw it late!

                  1. re: teezeetoo
                    b
                    bakerboyz Jul 25, 2011 05:45 AM

                    Ended up at Toro last night. It was such a nice night and we got there early so never ventured inside but sat at one of the few tables outside. We shared 6 tapas: dates filled with almonds, blue cheese and wrapped in Spanish ham, Grilled corn, hanger steak, short ribs, pork sausage and empanadas. Everything was quite good, particularly the "house special" grilled corn, the sausage and short ribs. In addition, my daughter's sangria was delicious. We were all very happy with the meal, in fact, found it as good if not better than Jaleo in DC which we loved. Thanks all for your help choosing.

                    -----
                    Toro
                    1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

                    1. re: bakerboyz
                      t
                      teezeetoo Jul 25, 2011 12:27 PM

                      thanks for reporting back. I'm glad it was a treat for your daughter.

                      1. re: bakerboyz
                        opinionatedchef Jul 25, 2011 01:15 PM

                        terrif! and by eating outside, you were able to have a conversation! so glad you enjoyed yourselves.

          2. Boston_Otter Jul 11, 2011 07:19 AM

            I'd also suggest Solea in Waltham. It's roomier and less intimate than Dali, but I think they've got a wider selection. It may not be the "best" tapas in town (not sure what that would be), but I've always had a great time there, the service is friendly and helpful, and the food's delicious.

            1. opinionatedchef Jul 10, 2011 10:31 PM

              bb, how old is your daughter> does she like fun/lively/entertaining type place, or quiet?

              2 Replies
              1. re: opinionatedchef
                b
                bakerboyz Jul 11, 2011 04:56 AM

                Typical soon to be 25 yr. old. Likes classy places but also fun/lively/entertaining too.

                1. re: bakerboyz
                  5
                  5thAndNowhere Jul 11, 2011 06:34 AM

                  Cuchi Cuchi is very cute and fun. By the Dali and Tapeo folks.

                  -----
                  Cuchi Cuchi
                  795 Main St, Cambridge, MA 02139

              2. enhF94 Jul 10, 2011 07:38 PM

                Dali doesn't get much love on this board, though I like it fine.

                If you go, it's a great place to try game in a low-risk way (braises, bacon-wrapped little birds). I like the chicken croquettes (and I avoid chicken most everywhere), the blue cheese lomo of pork (usually overdone but who cares, it's thin and slathered with bleu), and as a don't-miss-it, the queso rebozado con miel (fried goat cheese with honey).

                After dinner, try Crema de Alba, a "coffee flavored" liqueur that tastes like bananas to me, and I adore.

                Many around here say it's not a good deal for the money.

                1. m
                  Madrid Jul 10, 2011 03:34 PM

                  consider Toro in the South End as well as Taberno del Haro In Brookline, in additon to Estragon.

                  I love tapas and would not recommend Dali. If your daugher likes Middle Eastern/turkish flavors as well as Spanish tatses, consider Oleana in Cambridge...look at the menu.

                  -----
                  Toro
                  1704 Washington St, Boston, MA 02118

                  Oleana
                  134 Hampshire St., Cambridge, MA 02139

                  1. t
                    teezeetoo Jul 10, 2011 02:50 PM

                    i haven't been to Dali in a while. I prefer Estragon and recommend it.

                    Show Hidden Posts