A lot of people are quick to call any restaurant that has a menu consisting of smaller portions (sharing plates, small plates, etc.) as tapas. However, anyone who has been to Spain would be quick to correct you, and tapas will always remain true to Spanish roots.
The definition of “tapas” is as follows: Small Spanish savoury dishes, typically served with drinks at a bar. If you’re thinking patatas bravas, calamari, Iberico ham or anything stuffed with anchovies, you’re on the right track.
Very few cities in Canada have true tapas restaurants — but small plates? Well, that’s another story. Here are six spots you can find in Canada that do right by tapas.
Bar Raval (Toronto, ON)
Chef/owner Grant van Gameren has proven that he knows what he’s doing when it comes to Spanish cuisine with Bar Isabel, and this second restaurant of his only reinforces that. Whether you try the conserva, olives, octopus or really anything on the menu, you’ll definitely leave here impressed. The only possible way you can find better Spanish food is by heading over to Spain. Prove me wrong, Canada.
Bodega (Edmonton, AB)
Connected to the popular Portuguese restaurant Sabor, Bodega is less of a proper sit down spot and more of a lively and fun experience. Tapas is all about finding a few stools, leaning against a bar or ledge and sharing small bites with friends, and that’s what’s worth fighting for here Bodega.
España (Vancouver, BC)
The west coast’s trendiest tapas restaurant doesn’t disappoint with items like fried local anchovies, Iberian ham croquettes, grilled octopus and much more. Couple that with an amazing Oceanside location on Deman Street and you’ve got a recipe for a great night out in Vancouver.
Pintxo (Montreal, QC)
At this popular Spanish restaurant in Montreal, the tapas are presented in a typical Basque style called “pintxos.” You could probably order the whole menu with three or four people and still have room for more, but after all, tapas bars can serve as temporary appetite curbers before a proper dinner. Regardless, pintxos away!
Sardine Can (Vancouver, BC)
With a nice Spanish wine selection, straightforward cocktails and classic tapas offerings like patatas bravas or chorizo cooked in sherry, makes this spot a perfect example of what enjoying food and drink in Spain feels like. The service can be a little surly, but that is also part of its charm.
Segovia (Winnipeg, MB)
I went to Segovia again recently on a trip to Winnipeg, and left feeling just as I did the first time I dined there just over two years ago; extremely impressed. Chorizo and apples, crispy calamari, dates stuffed with the flavour of the week… Whatever you decide to order, you’ll see that these restaurant owners have done their research on Spanish cuisine and can ultimately do no wrong (in my books anyway).