Tapas are similar to appetizers or snacks and are fun small plates of food served hot or cold from Spanish/Latin American restaurants. Chefs get to express their creativity by combining different flavors you might not normally try as a full dish. Tapas are also designed to keep the conversation going. The city has numerous restaurants that serve them and last year, we featured a list of the best places to enjoy tapas. Here are our new picks for this year's top five tapas spots in Philly.
217 Chestnut St.
Philadelphia, PA 19106
Amada has some of the best Latin flavors in the entire city and tops the list for many foodies. Chef Garces, deserving of the title of Iron Chef, cooks up so many different types of tapas that you will want to order up several plates of them to share so you can try several. One of the most popular dishes is the manchego plate, which has finely aged cheese on a baguette with apple slices served with lavender honey. There are also three different types of sangria to suit different tapas. You can pair up heavier tapas with the light blanco sangria, or if you want to keep it spicy, order the temporado. If sweet and sour is your thing, then you may want the tartness of the tinto sangria.
1030 N. 2nd st.
Philadelphia, PA. 19123
Bar Ferdinand is consistently in the top three places to get Spanish cuisine in Philly. There are about 15 types of delicious tapas here. Seafood lovers will swoon over the scallop and crab topped with saffron and blood orange. Date and bacon or pork belly tapas are beloved amongst carnivores. Many of the tapas pair nicely with Bar Ferdinand's homemade sangria. The atmosphere and décor also give you the feeling that you are somewhere other than Philadelphia -- a nice escape.
121 S. 13th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
El Vez is where you go for delicious and (slightly more) affordable tapas. It's known for its fish tacos, which are made from mahi mahi or sea bass. There are lots of options for vegetarians and because of this, Elvez is one of the top picks for vegetarians in Philly. El Vez also makes a delicious sangria blanca to pair with your tapas. The sangria is mixed with white wine, orange liqueur, seasonal fruit and is sweetened with agave nectar. Outdoor seating is available.
114 S. 20th St.
Philadelphia, PA 19103
Tinto wins when it comes to presentation. All of the creations are beautiful art at this Jose Garces restaurant. Some fan favorites are the figs and ham, pork belly and duck confit. Other winners are the duck canapés and the short ribs that melt in your mouth. Tinto works with many experimental flavors. Like many upscale restaurants, Tinto is on the pricey side, but if you want to try it out when it's more affordable, stop by for Tinto Tapas Tuesdays. You can get discounted tapas on Tuesdays when it's happy hour from 5 to 7 p.m. A tapas menu is available for $2 per serving, and there are also $2 drafts and $4 wine and sangria.
Related: Top Brazilian Food In Philadelphia
1229 Spruce St.
Philadelphia, PA. 19107
Located in the Washington Square section of Philly, Valanni offers lovely décor, great atmosphere and some of the best desserts. Oreo beignets are one of the restaurant's top desserts (a beignet is a fancy word for doughnuts), but at Valanni, it's as if the chefs took a light and delicious funnel cake and simply wrapped it around some Oreos served with a side of ice cream. For savory food, there are lamb lollipops, mussels, pork belly sliders and lobster mac-n-cheese. Black truffle arancini is one of the signature tapas with lots of flavor dipped into a rich creamy sauce that will come together in your mouth.
Christina Dagnelli is a freelance writer in Philadelphia and the author of Little Squares with Colors: A Different way to look at autism. Her work on examiner can be found here Examiner.com.
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