The Boston Area’s Best Tapas

June 13, 2012 6:00 AM

Photo Credit: Tres Gatos

Inventive flavors, funky designs and incredible food – tapas are what’s on the menu. Small portions of fresh tastes will surprise you and keep you wondering how many plates your wallet and stomach can afford to try. Perfect for groups or diners tired of eating the same pasta and meat dishes, these are Boston’s best tapas.

dali The Boston Areas Best Tapas

Photo Credit: Dali

Dali Restaurant & Tapas Bar
415 Washington St
Somerville, MA 02143
(617) 661-3254

Authentic Spanish style meets a homey feel in this off-the-beaten-track restaurant. Situated between Union and Porter Squares, Dali delights with a friendly, helpful staff dressed in red, and a scintillating menu featuring crispy, creamy cauliflower and broccoli puffs; lamb meatballs in a tomato mint sauce; and buttery garlic shrimp, plus monthly specials. And don’t skip dessert: fabulous flan and seasonal fresones (fried strawberries in a sherry batter) await. For an extra dose of fun, try the Porron, a communal drinking vessel with a spout to pour directly into your mouth or a friend’s.

tres gatos The Boston Areas Best Tapas

Photo Credit: Tres Gatos

Tres Gatos
470 Centre St
Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
(617) 477-4851

Unique barely scrapes the surface description of this tapas location. Tres Gatos is an unexpected find because it comes in conjunction with book and music sections to browse and purchase from as well. But don’t be fooled, the food itself is no second fiddle here. The variety in flavor is showcased in the spicy lamb meatballs, the crispy potatoes with salsa and house-made pickles. Be sure to ask for the daily wine menu, which may differ from what you can view on the website.

Related: Boston’s City Wine Tours

toro via facebook The Boston Areas Best Tapas

Photo Credit: Toro via Facebook

1704 Washington St
Boston, MA 02118
(617) 536-4300

Bold tastes and an eclectic atmosphere make Toro a great location to enjoy great food and smooth drinks with friends and family. Whether you’re inside at the bar or outside on the patio, this palatable pleasure, with an ever-changing menu and celebrity chef, is sure to please. Try the tuna tartare with lime, mint and cilantro or the crispy duck drumsticks in a quince glaze with sesame seeds, all of which go well with the specialty Madeira wine selection or spicy-pepper cocktail.

tasca The Boston Areas Best Tapas

Photo Credit: Tasca

Tasca Tapas Restaurant
1612 Commonwealth Ave
Brighton, MA 02135
(617) 730-8002

A cozy spot that stands out for its subtle flair and easygoing staff, with a full-range menu plus tapas options, Tasca makes it worth visiting Brighton. If you like queso, try the herb goat cheese fritters served up on large tomatoes or the leek quiche with two types of cheese. If you like red meat, sample the beef tartare with mushrooms and shallots or the petit filet mignon in a red wine sauce.

estragon tapas The Boston Areas Best Tapas

Estragon Tapas Bar
700 Harrison Ave
Boston, MA 02118
(617) 266-0443

South End, upscale style meets old-world cuisine in this fine dining tapas location. The menu changes with the season and the dozens of wine options can be overwhelming, but don’t be afraid to ask for assistance from the polite and knowledgeable staff. When in doubt, try the simple dishes. You won’t go wrong with the fried chickpeas, the beef meatballs in a brandy cream sauce or the lamb chops. Also sample the “something different” section of the beverage menu for unexpected flavors like the French Hen, a Rosemary, Sage and Thyme-infused Lillet Blanc.

Related: Best Places In Boston to Buy Wine Sampler Packs

Kat Webber is a graduate of Bentley University. Her random interests include reading, writing short stories, traveling, mythology, beers (especially microbrews), poetry, shoes, dessert, fuzzy socks and scrapbooking. Kat currently resides in Somerville, MA. Her work can be found at