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Foodies are no doubt aware that Mountain View just got a highly anticipated tapas restaurant, Vida. But it’s not the only place to get your patatas bravas, cider and Iberico ham plates. Here’s a sampling of some of the best Spanish and tapas restaurants around the Bay Area.
1 Teleferic Barcelona (Walnut Creek, Palo Alto, Los Gatos)
The family behind Teleferic has carved out a small empire of pintxos and paella, with locations in the Bay Area and Europe – and, as of this weekend, Los Angeles. There’s a reason for its popularity: The flavors are bold, bright and inventive, and matched with a stellar list of Spanish wines. Luxury diners can try a paella with a whole tomahawk steak and Galician octopus with truffle oil; for the rest of us, there are cheesy “chorizo pops,” jamón ibérico and calamari with squid-ink aioli. Open daily at 1500 Mt. Diablo Blvd. on the second floor in Walnut Creek, 50 University Ave. in Los Gatos and in the Town & Country Village in Palo Alto; telefericbarcelona.com.
2 Vida Tapas y Cocteles, Mountain View
It’s a little funny that the owners of this new, buzzy Spanish restaurant are known for making pizza at Doppio Zero (voted the 15th best in the U.S. in 2022). But hey, why not try to conquer the entire Mediterranean? At Vida, there are fresh takes on classics like gambas al ajillo with black garlic and vegetarian paella with artichokes and mushrooms – and be sure to save some room for the Basque cheesecake. Open daily at 110 Castro St., Mountain View; vidatapasmv.com.
3 La Marcha Tapas Bar, Berkeley
This bustling neighborhood spot serves an elevated version of tapas – think scallops marinated in fino sherry, roasted bone marrow and paella with duck confit and snails. But it’s also home to one of the best happy hours in the East Bay. Show up early during the week to get yourself to a horde of $6 appetizers, from shiitake croquetas to tortilla de patatas, with $6 wine and house sangria to match. Open daily at 2026 San Pablo Ave. (happy hour Monday-Friday from 4 p.m.-6 p.m.), Berkeley; lamarchaberkeley.com.
4 Barceloneta, Santa Cruz
The chiringuitos (beach bars) of Spain’s Costa Brava are well-represented at Barceloneta. When they’re on the menu, always order the clams – served in a briny-rich broth spiked with sherry and serrano ham, they’ll have you ordering backup bread for dunking. Other standouts include the smoked-salmon montaditos (open-faced sandwiches) with trout-roe yogurt and black-truffle honey and churros with locally made dipping chocolate. Open Tuesday-Saturday at 1541 B Pacific Ave., Santa Cruz; eatbarceloneta.com.
5 Destapas, San Francisco
Is it possible that Spain – the country that prizes delicacies like pigs fed on all-acorn diets – can produce decent vegan tapas? Destapas certainly thinks so, with dishes like wild mushrooms with thyme and white wine and escalivada (grilled eggplant and artichokes with romesco). But that’s only a portion of a broader menu that includes tasty hits like boquerones with potato chips, a rainbow of Iberico ham cuts, imported tinned seafood and red-wine braised oxtail. Open Tuesday-Saturday at 2708 24th St., San Francisco; destapas.com.
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