A table filled with tapas is a great way to begin and wind down an evening with friends, paired with a refreshing drink of your choice -- its nature of small servings can make you try many little bites of many little things, and keep the conversation flowing. It's social snacking or tasty bar chow, done the Spanish way.
Photo from Tapeo Facebook
Not to be confused with our local 'tapa' (dried/cured beef), the Spanish tapas are small portions of savory food--appetizers or snacks--commonly served before meals in Spain, and is also eaten separately, usually paired with beverages like wine, sangria, or cerveza (beer), making many orders of tapas a complete meal in itself. Tapas can be served hot or cold, and can range from small servings of simple food like olives and cheese, meatier items like ham and chorizo, the popular gambas and croquetas, and served with bite sized bread like crostini. Pincho (or pintxo) can be considered a relative of tapas, being small snacks hailing from Spain as well, but this time around, the food are served skewered, typically with toothpicks holding it together with bread.
When your craving for these delicious Spanish snacks takes over, round up your favorite people and take your pick among ten of Manila's restaurants listed below serving you a delectable spread of tapas.
Ortigas, Greenbelt, Power Plant Mall, Fort, SM Aura, and Alabang
tarraco.com.ph | FB: /barcinowine | IG and Twitter: @barcinowine
Top tapas: More than 20 items, from small plates to appetizer platters for sharing. Chef's recommendations include Tortilla de Patatas (P195, with chorizo add P130), Gambas al Ajillo (P675), Croquetas Setas (P295), and Chorizo & Cheese Platter (P1,690).
Photo from BESO Cucina VinotekaFacebook
FB: /besomanila | IG and Twitter: @beso_manila
Top tapas: Over a dozen to choose from, and most recommended are Tortilla de Patata with Jamon Jam (P195), Gambas Sauteed in Chorizo, Garlic, White Wine and Parsley (P480), Barbecue Beef Sliders, Tomato Salsa, Arugula (P250), and Chorizo and Chocolate on Toast (P190). Pair the tapas with Beso's limited offer of Madrid Fusion special sangria, available until April 26th -- P500/carafe, P100/glass.
Photo from Black Olive Cerveseria Facebook
Capitol Commons, Pasig
FB: /blackoliveph | IG and Twitter: @blackoliveph
Top tapas: More than a cerveceria (beer hall/brewery), they also serve tapas (hot and cold appetizers) to match your drink of choice. Try the Squid Ink Crispy Shrimp (P390), Involtini of Grilled Eggplant, Roast Tomato, Feta Cheese and Black Olives (P270), and Grilled Octopus, Green Romesco, and Black Olive Salsa (P230).
Photo from Cerveseria Facebook
Top tapas: So many tapas options -- over 20 items listed on the menu, so bring many friends to sample more, like the Setas Shimeji Fritas (P130), Pimientos de Padron rellenos de Gouda (P290), Huevos Rotos con Tocino (P180), and Croquetas de Bacalao (P260).
Photo from Donosti Pintxos y Tapas Facebook
NAC building, BGC
www.donosti.ph | FB: /donostipintxosytapas | IG: @donosti_pintxos
Top tapas: Whether you prefer your Spanish appetizers in small plates or served in skewers, this posh restaurant's got you covered with their Basque selection of tapas and pintxos. Try their assorted Pintxos (P100 or P150 each), Degustacion de Croquetas de la Casa (P595 - tasting platter of 4 kinds of croquetas), Patatas Brava (P300), and Chorizo Iberico (P935) served with Toasted Bread and Fresh Tomato - Extra Virgin Olive Oil Emulsion.
Photo from Rambla Facebook
Joya Building, Rockwell
FB: /ramblaph | IG and Twitter: @ramblaph
Top tapas: The tapas lineup at this favorite Medditerranean open kitchen and cocktail bar include fried and hot appetizers like Foie Gras Mousse with Caramelized Apple & Coffee-Bailey's Foam (P325), Beef Tenderloin Carpaccio (P365), Pulpo a 'Feira', Galicia Style (P395), Crispy Chicken Skin & Prawns (P395), and Iberian Ham Croquettes (P225); they also have a solid selection of Iberian cold cuts, cheeses, and egg dishes.
Commercenter Building, BGC
FB: /RelikTapasBarLounge | IG: @reliktapasbar
Top tapas: Aside from the affordable P199 lunch specials, crowd favorites at this bar and lounge include Relik's Beef Salpicao (P350), Deep Fried Manchego (P300), Chorizig (P220), and Tinta Calamari Negra (P250).
FB: /TapellaByGaudi | IG: @tapellarestobar
Top tapas: Tapas at this Greenbelt restaurant come in many forms: in an earthen pan, fried and traditional, served with a bread base, off the grill, with eggs, and cold cuts and cheeses from the pantry. Try chef's specials like the Pinxto Trio (P250), Scallops dos Quesos (P700), Huevos con Rotos Vieiras Salteadas y Gambas (P850), and for a savory sampler, order a Selection of 8 Cold Tapas (P350) or a Selection of 8 Hot Tapas (P395).
Fort Strip, BGC
FB: /Tapeo.ph | IG: @tapeo
Top tapas: This cozy bar serves traditional Spanish tapas that guests pair with their selection of wine, which are kept in a vault. This tapas bar has many options for nibbling: seafood, meat, vegetables, and tapas served in tabla (board) which comes with olives, grapes, dark chocolate bits and slices of baguette. For adventurous palates, order the Angulas (P700-baby eel in garlic infused oil) and Jamon Salteados con Chocolate Espanol (P399-seared ham drizzled with chocolate). Their best-selling Unlimited Tapas (P495/person) is offered from Monday to Saturday, 2pm to 9pm--part of your tapas spread for this includes fabada, albondigas, assorted croquetas, pinchos, tortilla, and even heavier items like Paella a la Tapeo and desserts like Crema Catalana to end your feast.
Clipp Center, BGC
FB: /VaskManila | IG and Twitter: @VaskManila
Top tapas: Vask offers a refined dining experience with their selection of tapas that combine modern and classic Basque cuisine. Go traditional with Rabas (P395), Boquerones (P295), and Croquetas de Jamon y Pollo (P295); introduce your tastebuds to new flavors with Gambas Cruijientes con Jamon Iberico (P595-crispy shrimp with ham and cheese), Huevos con Txistorra (P290-sous vide egg with chorizo, mushrooms and truffle oil), and Atun Crujiente con Foie Gras y Cebolla Caramelizada (P695-crispy tuna with pan fried foie gras and caramelized onion). Want to try a little bit of everything? Get their Tapas Tasting Menu (P1,995) for an indulgent 8 course spread of dishes that showcase Chef Chele Gonzalez' culinary creativity.