Tapas a L’Espagnole

When going for Tapas, do as the Spaniards do

In Spain, tapas is a way of life. More than just finger food, these small delicacies served with wine or beer are an institución, a ritual of meeting friends over food and drink and sharing a good time. Above all, it must be agradable – gemütlich – otherwise you’re simply filling your belly. The small portions are part of the fun, encouraging you to sample and facilitating barhopping: In short, variety of taste and place.

In Vienna, tapas bars are a growing trend, with many opened in the last half dozen years.  Here’s a selection of the choicest places to enjoy a bite of Iberian flair.

Toma Tu Tiempo
© Toma Tu Tiempo

Huevos Hipsteros

If you relish style as much as food, try Toma Tu -Tiempo, a vintage tapas café and restaurant in the heart of Vienna’s boho district of Neubau. The cheery, informal setting invites you to take your time, bring a book, e-reader or laptop and settle into a hammock or deck-chair; and possibly learn Spanish. Here, Andalusia and Austria team up to bring you Kaffee, and Kuchen mit Schlag for brunch, or Spanish wines and a daily tapas special made with ecological and seasonal ingredients for merienda. The tortilla de patatas and baked goat cheese are excellent; and if you have a sweet tooth, go for the homemade tarta de Santiago. Highly recommended!

Through the grapevine

Traditionalists prefer their tapas either standing or sitting on stools with a glass of wine in hand. At Ignacio Vinos e Ibéricos, you get the authentic Spanish experience. An old-fashioned grocery store with a wine bar, they offer an unpretentious yet special experience where the high standards speak for themselves. Here you can taste rare Spanish wines from small producers seldom found in Austria – of course, paired with classic and modern, cold and warm homemade tapas. You can also stock up on Spanish staples like orange-flavored olive oil, Castilian saffron, caramelized olives, aromatic cheese or Iberian cured sausages.

From Andalusia with love

And then there is Lola Spanisches Tapas Restaurant, where expats go in moments of serious food nostalgia. This Andalusian restaurant offers what we Spaniards pine for: fresh fish and seafood tapas paired with white wines chilled to perfection: Calamares fritos, gambas al pil-pil or pulpo a la gallega at their best. Their red wines and meats are of course a worthy alternative. Whether ordering the grandes tapas for one or smaller portions to share, Lola is a safe bet when it comes to quality and variety. And to make it even more Spanish, every Wednesday you can enjoy an Andalusian evening, flamenco included.

Toma Tu Tiempo
© Toma Tu Tiempo

The Best of the Rest

If you are looking for a more informal and budget-friendly option, El rincón de Don Quijote is your place: Classic Castilian and Andalusian tapas and wines in a relaxed atmosphere are their signature characteristics. Also a great place for a group dinner.

Salvaged barrels serving as tables remind you that wines are the heart of Bodega 1080, a wine bar offering fine cavas (a Spanish version of champagne) along with a large selection of red and white wines. The hanging jamones, cured ham haunches, mirror the appearance of many wine bars in Spain. An absolute must.

Bearing the name of the famous square in Madrid, Puerta del Sol stands out for their selection of white wines and spiced meats and vegetarian pies to die for. Some nice red wines and both warm and cold tapas also grace the menu. They even offer a catering service and home delivery.

 

 

Miguel Roncero
Miguel Roncero was born in Toledo in 1986. He's an international development practitioner working for the UN in Vienna.

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