TAIWAN FUN MAGAZINE, May 2002 (2007/06update)

Tapas Bar

50, HoPing West Rd., section 1
Tel: (02) 2362-8777
Hours: 17:30-12:30 , 17:30 - 2:00(Fridays, Satdays)
(Closed Mondays)
Wine tasting event is held every month (consult date details with staff)


Tapas Bar: Taipei's home of great Spanish food
By Cat Thomas. Translated by Cara Steenstra.

Tapas Bar, situated on Heping West Road Section 1, lives up to its name beautifully. For those who have never sited this friendly establishment it does exactly what it says on the tin, and those who may have gone awhile since visiting now is a good time to give it another look in. Recently Tapas underwent pleasing refurbishments, which whilst retaining the previous qualities of a dual eating establishment and favourite watering hole, have brightened up the surroundings with a Mediterranean blues and yellows theme, and more comfortable seating on the lower floor.

The upper floor offers opportunity for larger groups or more intimate dining, whilst the lower floor harbours a sociable vibe and the conversation frequently seems to spill over from table to table to the bar.
The Gorgonzola Cheese Bread NT$120, is simply divine; three slices of baguette topped with rich, creamy Gorgonzola cheese sit perfectly with a glass of Red wine. Whilst the Catalonian Tomato Bread, made with fresh tomatoes seasoned with black pepper with a crunchy crust and a deliciously moist centre is fresh tasting, NT$100.

I tried a selection of tapas, all were good, but by far my favourite was the Spicy Prawns In Garlic Oil, NT$180, the prawns were plump and juicy and the oil, seasoned with garlic, coriander, and chilli peppers, fantastically tangy; the dish was served ‘sizzlingly’ hot. The Squid Salsa Verde, with garlic, spring onion and black pepper, was also excellent. The Spanish Beef Balls served in a chunky tomato sauce were also very good.

I also sampled one of their main courses, Mediterranean Lamb Chops (NT$ 490), which were frankly fantastic. The chef had managed to capture the roasting tin taste even though they are pan-fried. They were cooked to perfection in my opinion, slightly pink on the inside, although I’m sure that the accommodating staff could arrange for them to be cooked to taste. The price includes Soup or Salad.

They also serve a selection of Pastas (NT$ 180-260), Salads (NT$ 130-260) and Sandwiches (NT$130-200). Their Crepes are fantastic and include Chocolate and Banana (NT$ 130) and Crepe Benere (Béarnaise or Béchamel) Sauce (NT$80).

Tapas’ Wine list is professionally presented, and informative, for those wondering about the finer details their wine bible is also available- a scrapbook of growers’ notes and supplier’s advice/commentary goes into depth on the methods employed during the harvesting, fermentation, soil etc. Wines range hail from Chile, Spain, Argentina, France, Australia, Germany, America, New Zealand, California and Italy…… you’re sure to find one to your taste. Prices range from NT$730/bottle to NT$1940. . For those on a budget House wines are also available by the litre (NT$1,000) or half litre carafe (NT550) or glass (NT$150) A few wines are also available by the glass. Tapas also provides a take out service.

Their beers are also reasonably priced with Corona at NT$130 and Duval at NT$140. They have a reasonable selection of bottled beers and their cocktails are fairly priced.

All in all Tapas is a good venue for socialising, whether you intend to have a meal with friends, a few drinks, sample fine wine (wine tasting nights are also held- contact the Venue for details) or of course enjoy a couple of tapas dishes perhaps with a glass of sangria. You are sure to be able to find a combination to suit your appetite and your budget. The staff are always warm and welcoming and this is certainly one of those rare venues where a solo diner won’t feel uncomfortable or out of place.