From Basque to Bravas: Tapeo Switches to Tapas
Formerly known as Mara Basque Cuisine & Lounge, Tapeo Eatery & Bar offers Spanish tapas at the east end of Giralda Plaza. They have an expansive interior, as well as plenty of outdoor seating options on the pedestrian walkway. Seeing as it was a cool evening (and by cool we mean below 80 degrees), we opted for a table on the Plaza.
From 4 to 7 p.m. on weekdays, Tapeo offers half-priced cocktails. Their drink menu includes lots of classics, like a margarita, a Moscow mule, an old fashioned (called a Rum Fashion here) and a cosmopolitan. However, after sampling quite a few happy hour menus in this city, it was refreshing to see some different concoctions.
Inspired by the people next to us (who were tossing back dirty martinis) we ordered the lychee martini. Instead of just mixing lychee juice with Tito’s, it seemed as though the fruit was blended or pureed, giving it almost the consistency of a frozen drink. A+ for texture and flavor. We’ve sampled lychee martinis at a handful of Gables establishments and would argue that Tapeo has the best in the city.
Like any good Spanish restaurant, Tapeo offers both red and white sangria. The white sangria, made with cava, rum and topped with fruit, is served in a tall, narrow glass. The sweet, tropical-looking drink will transport you from the mainland of Spain to the Canary Islands. While lychee martinis and Aperol spritzes may be relatively standard drinks you can order at any bar or restaurant, we hardly ever see them on a cocktail menu, meaning they rarely enjoy happy hour discounts.
Unfortunately, their tapas aren’t part of happy hour. But we still wanted to sample a couple of plates. Fortunately, most of the small plates only cost around $10. The menu is divided into three sections: The Soil (vegetarian), The Deep (seafood) and The Ranch (meat). From The Soil, the rustic baby potatoes ($8) – known as patatas bravas to the rest of us – are covered in a spicy brava sauce made with paprika. The potatoes are cooked to crispy perfection and the brava adds a nice side of heat. From The Ranch, the croquetas de vaca frita ($10) are a delicious spin on the classic ham croquetas (which are on the menu, too). They also have codfish croquetas in The Deep portion of the menu for those who prefer theirs in seafood form. If we were staying for dinner, we definitely would have tried the Andalucia chops – grilled lamb chops with saffron risotto – or the seafood paella for two.
Tapeo Eatery & Bar
112 Giralda Ave.