It seems every food culture has its version of a pleasant, leisurely meal eaten as a group, consisting of an assortment of small plates with just a few bites of many different dishes. The Koreans have banchan; in the Middle East they serve mezzeh. In Spain, tapas are a tradition that began in the Middle Ages and has remained so popular that lately the term itself it has spread around the world. It is not unusual to see a restaurant offering “Italian tapas” or to see a version of tapas listed on a Japanese menu. But tapas are, and can only be, Spanish.
In fact, the popularity of Spanish tapas-style eating predicted the current move in the best restaurants away from large entrée-style portions. This reflects diners’ desires for both healthier and more affordable portion sizes. In many establishments entrées have been eliminated altogether. Many sophisticated diners can’t remember the last time they were served a large portion of a single dish; they wouldn’t remember what to do with it. The idea of so much plate real estate taken up by a 16-oz. steak or a gallon of pasta has become a bit off-putting. You eat, and eat, and eat, and it’s still there.
With tapas, on the other hand, nearly every other bite offers a new and exciting taste sensation. You don’t get bored, and although combining several tapas makes for a healthy meal, you feel less stuffed. You’re able to slow down and enjoy the space between the dishes as much as the dishes themselves. There’s no need to put your head down and work away at your plate – there’s not that much on it. But just when you’re ready for it, another small plate appears with something new to try.
As you can guess, at Sevilla, we love tapas. They are our pán y mantequilla. We love them hot; we love them cold. We love them in slices, piled on a little plate, or hanging on a skewer. When you sit down to order a few of these little plates, you can already feel yourself relaxing.
Here are some of our favorites you should try the next time you come in:
Dates stuffed with Cabrales blue cheese, wrapped in bacon with an apple cider vinegar glaze
Grilled shrimp brocheta with citrus
Green mussels escabeche, marinated in olive oil and lemon, with fresh Serrano pepper salsa
Black paella, made with bomba rice and seafood, topped with a dollop of our homemade alioli sauce
House tortilla Española: egg, potato, and onion tart with sun-dried tomatoes, roasted garlic, and goat cheese
Imported Jamon Ibérico, the famous pata negra cured ham from the mountain villages of Spain