American restaurants with good, authentic Spanish food
(Tapas are a wide variety of appetizers, canapés, or snacks. In Spain they are often provided free with the drinks purchased, but not here in the United States.)
El Rincon Asturiano, 225 SW 17th Ave - Miami, FL 33135
This is simply the best, most authentic Spanish food I have had in the United States, and I have tried quite a few Spanish restaurants from coast to coast. They have a good selection of both cold and hot tapas.
But the best value is what they call their executive lunch, which consists of a choice of one of four appetizers and one of four main dishes, with different choices for each week day. And at $14, this is not only good authentic Spanish food, it is a great value.
Be sure to try the sidra (cider), typical in Austurias, one of the autonomous communities in Spain, in the central North. A bottle of the natural cider comes with a battery powered pump to dispense and aerate small portions of the cider.
As you can suppose from the name of the restaurant, it is oriented to Austurian food. Another typical product from Austurias is the cabreles cheese, a strong blue cheese.
This restaurant was so good, I made a couple trips to Miami from my work site in West Palm Beach to enjoy their food. See my resources page for a link to their web site.
Cúrate, 11 biltmore ave, asheville, nc 28801
This restaurant has excellent, authentic tapas exclusively. Your meal is made up of several tapas, of course shared in typical Spanish style. Again, comparing the tapas here with others sampled throughout the United States, these were simply the best. Sitting at the bar provides a good view of the preparation of the tapas.
The name of the restaurant, Cúrate, can mean to cure or preserve food. But it can also be translated as cure or heal yourself, which is sometimes used to say that you need to get up early and go to work, after a late night of good food and wine.
The food is authentic Spanish, with even the bread dough imported from Spain, then cooked on the premises. One of the owners has even published a cook book of Spanish tapas. See my resources page for a link to the restaurant web site.
Especially good were the croquetas (fritters). And at the same time, they are a little unusual in the sense that croquetas in Spain are usually with ham, or with cheese, and these at Cúrate are with chicken. Umm – Umm good!
I also recommend the espinacas a la catalane (sautéed spinach) and the setas al jerez (mushrooms with sherry). Both are a good way to start a meal of tapas.
Next, the pincho moruno (lamb skewers) and pescado con tomate (seared fish in a tomato broth) are both good choices. And again, the pincho moruno is an improvement on many of the pinchos served in Spain, which are normally pork rather than lamb.
For desert, the crema catalana con frutas del bosque (catalán creme with berries) was not only excellent, but again a pleasant variation on the usual Spanish dessert. Think of creme Brulee. Here at Cúrate the creme is a mousse rather than thicker custard. The important hard caramel top was included, which is often missing here in the United States.
Reservations are recommended, unless you want to sit at the bar.
The Spanish Table, 1426 Western Ave, Seattle, WA 98101
While this is not a restaurant, but a store with a wide variety of Spanish foods, wines, cookware, and books, it is well worth mentioning. Their slogan is “a slice of Spain,” and that is indeed a good description. This location in Seattle is the original, near Pike Place Market in Seattle. But there are also three locations in California. See my resources page for links to their web sites.
They have excellent Spanish wines, from less than $15 to over $1000! All kinds of groceries are available, from cheeses to sausages and hams. Ingredients and pans for paella are available, as are many cookware items and cook books. If you want authentic Spanish wine and food for enjoying at home, this store is an outstanding source.
The Iberian Pig, 121 Sycamore St, Decatur, GA, 30030
This restaurant serves not only tapas, but full course meal plates. There is a wide variety of cheeses, from Manchego to the Cabrales of Asturias. The cured meats vary from Jamon Serrano (cured Spanish ham) to Chorizo (cured Spanish pork sausage – distinct from Mexican chorizo). In addition, they have my favorite cured meat, Lomo (cured pork loin).
There are quite a few tasty tapas, including sea food such as Vieiras (scallops) and Red
Snapper, as well as the typical pulpo (octopus). My favorite are the lamb chops, much more poplar in Spain than here in the United States.
While not cheap, the food is excellent and authentic. Reservations are recommended. See my resources page for links to their web site.