Midday in a Spanish Courtyard

La Taberna Giralda is Known More for its Flamenco Shows and Tapas, but Lunch Here is Special

For Karen Pino, La Taberna Giralda has been a quest to connect to her Spanish roots. Her family is from Galicia, the extreme northwestern province of Spain known for its seafood dishes (it has over 1,000 miles of ocean coastline, after all). And, like other regions of Spain, its towns and cities are filled with places that serve tapas.

“I always had this idea of starting a Spanish tapas bar,” says Pino, who was (and still is) a licensed clinical social worker when she opened La Taberna Giralda in 2012. “At the time, small bites type of places weren’t popular.” Though Pino was raised in Hialeah, she visited her family in Spain in the summers, where she experienced the tapas concept of small plates. “I thought to myself, man, there’s no tapas place over here like what they have over there. Here, even the ones that do it serve dishes a little too large. It’s the concept of sharing little dishes, with the idea of getting lots of different flavors.”

So, along with flamenco shows on Thursday and Saturday nights – which will be returning as restaurants reopen inside – Pino has been faithfully serving tapas that range from the traditional, like shrimp in garlic olive oil or potatoes brava, to more regional ones like blood sausage on toast or whole fried anchovies. She also serves three kinds of paella for two, including one made with squid ink.

Midday in a Spanish Courtyard - La Taberna Giralda
Karen Pino, owner of La Taberna Giralda, welcomes you to her Spanish courtyard.
Photo by Jon Braeley

But we are getting off track. In the search for outdoor places to eat, we belatedly discovered the charming, shady courtyard in the back of La Taberna, and its special lunch menu. For $13, you get two very Spanish dishes, with two different picks each day for first and second courses. “We used to charge more with a dessert,” says Pino. “But now…” Say no more, in the days of quarantine weight gain.

What you do get are amazing selections. One Friday we chose the Caldo Gallego, a hearty Galician soup with ham shoulder and potatoes, for our first course. Wonderful. For the second course: Trucha al ajillo, a trout filet in garlic and olive oil sauce (apparently there are a lot of mountain streams in Galicia). On a Thursday we had fried sardines followed by grilled salmon in a light lemon sauce. Every day is different and interesting.

If you do insist on demanding tapas beyond the lunch specials, or you are coming in at night, make sure to ask for the faena de croquetas, a mixed platter of croquetas made with serrano ham, blue cheese or cod. Or come in on Tuesday for lunch and have blue cheese croquetas followed by marinated pork tenderloin with boiled potatoes. Viva España.

Midday in a Spanish Courtyard

La Taberna Giralda
254 Giralda Ave.
$$ 786.362.5677