If you’re someone who likes to try a lot of different foods when you visit a restaurant, a tapas menu is a good option. You can get small portions of a variety of menu items, whether you’re dining alone or in a group. If you’re looking for a little dinner adventure – especially one you want to share with others, try these places for great tapas.
695 Town Center Drive, Suite 170
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
When you look at the tapas section of the menu at Vaca, you will find some interesting items like erizos con huevo, which is scrambled eggs with sea urchin. It’s definitely not something you’ll find just anywhere. Some of the other interesting items are the tender and delicious oxtail and the octopus with fingerling potatoes (pictured). The great thing about this place is that you can’t go wrong, no matter what you choose. Bring a couple friends so you can each order something different and get a good sample of the tapas here. Then bring friends the next time, because one visit to this place will not be sufficient.
1287 S Coast Highway
Laguna Beach, CA 92651
K’ya is a charming little place where you can find some great tapas-style dishes. The tough part might be trying to decide which of the dishes you should order. After all, so many things on the menu have a lot of appeal. Some of the seafood dishes in particular are very appealing – such as the smoked salmon carpaccio (pictured) and the ahi poke. If you’re looking for a great meat dish, try the filet mignon tips. You’ll even find some great meatless options here like the roasted Brussels sprouts and the polenta with mushrooms.
3321 Hyland Ave., Suite D
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Pueblo specializes in modern Spanish tapas, and you’ll definitely find some good options like the queso fundido and the mezcladita salad (pictured) with kale, apple, butternut squash, radishes and almonds. It’s a very healthy and light salad that will satisfy you. The tapas menu is limited at lunch, but shifts to all tapas for dinner. If you go for dinner, some of the items available are scallops with pork belly and pork ribs with candied chile, green beans and almonds. No matter when you go, you’ll find great tapas here.
Ways and Means Oyster House
20122 Pacific Coast Highway, Suite B140
Huntington Beach, CA 92648
It’s tough to beat Ways and Means when it comes to location. From the patio, you need only look across Pacific Coast Highway to see the ocean. The food is just as desirable as the view. This place has some pretty unusual but delicious tapas items. The salmon rilletes are topped with crispy garlic and garlic sauce, and served on crispy naan. You might want to order a couple plates of this dish because they’ll go so quickly. Other interesting small plates are the eggplant fries, and the fried plantains topped with black beans and guacamole.
26762 Verdugo St.
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
Downtown San Juan Capistrano is a pretty charming area, and Guapas Tapas is one of the more charming and cozy places in the area. You’ll find a wide array of tapas here, ranging from roasted cauliflower to a small plate of paella. A variety of empanadas are available, both with and without meat. One you might really want to try is the empanada with figs, Manchego, bacon and spinach. The dates stuffed with prosciutto, blue cheese and almonds are pretty irresistible, too. You’ll also find a good selection of beers and wines to enjoy with your tapas.
Related: Ask an OC Chef: Best tapas recipes