Spanish Food

For years I've been waiting in anticipation for authentic Spanish cuisine to arrive in Los Angeles. Each time a new Spanish restaurant opens, it does not measure up to those restaurants I adore in Spain. Their food looks Spanish, yet lacks the depth of flavor and the alma that are characteristic of the tapas in Spain. Perhaps these restaurateurs believe Americans will not appreciate the Spanish flavorings or heartier use of oil. They may be right.

Spanish restaurants are not new to LA, just few and far between. There’s La Paella, Cobra's and Matadors, Ole Tapas and a few others, all ok, just not like the ones in Spain. Other countries have excellent restaurant representations in Los Angeles: Italian, French, Japanese, Mexican.. but not Spain, although there are signs of progress.

There’s a tapas craze going on in the LA restaurant scene. Tapas, those small plates of Spanish food, are turning up all over the place. It is the theme of many new restaurants like Tinto and Tasca, both which have great ambiance and decent food.

Some restaurants have successfully implemented the concept of tapas to their menus, offering small tasting plates with non-Spanish food. Sharing many different dishes on small plates of food increases the overall activity at the table and livens up a restaurant. This approach is more efficacious here in LA. Violet, AOC and Upstairs 2 all do this well, focusing on quality, original taste, and a memorable dining experience.

Renown Chef Ludovic Lefebvre implements this beautifully at Breadbar. He prepares bite sized treats combining the concept of tapas with innovation to produce Ludobites. The newest Whole Foods in Pasadena which opened this week has a tapas bar and lounge that serves wine, cheese, and charcuterie with a baguette and fruit. Beautiful little noshes of food are presented in a relaxing setting within the market. I still have high hopes for tapas and Spanish food in LA.

Maybe the soon to open Bar Pinxto in Santa Monica? For those of you that have not had tapas in Spain, tomorrow I'll post some photos of them from my trip to Spain this past summer.

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