Sharing is caring: Tapas places in Vancouver

The Spanish tradition of hopping from bar to bar drinking small glasses of beer or rioja and sampling local delicacies in the form of bite-sized snacks has taken North America by storm. While we have yet to implement the bar-hopping element, restaurants are happy to offer share plates you’ll want to settle into.

Espana Restaurant

1
1118 Denman St, Vancouver, BC V6G 2M8

A British chef trained in Italian cooking is behind this welcome Spanish restaurant adjacent to English Bay. Classic and less traditional tapas are full of Spanish flavour. Patates bravas come stewed in a spicy tomato sauce and the cured meats selection is precise and appropriate. Salty olives, anchovies and capers find their way into rich, fruity olive-oil soaked fish and meat dishes. No reservations and there’s always a line-up but the wait is worth it and service is excellent. Easily your new neighbourhood go-to.

The Sardine Can

2
26 Powell St, Vancouver, BC V6A 1E7

This wee eatery the size of, well, a sardine can, specializes in equally small plates. But size doesn’t matter when the flavours are as intense and delicious as what’s on offer here. With a Mediterranean, mostly Spanish influence, the short but varied menu offers dishes like tuna tartare with orange and chili, smoked sardines on toast and piquillo peppers stuffed with paella, alongside more substantial share plates of steamed mussels, chorizo in sherry and beef stew. A great neighbourhood joint for after-work snacks.

Ten Ten Tapas

3
3-1010 Beach Ave, Vancouver, BC V6E 1T7

The constant turnover at this north False Creek seawall location seems to have been quelled by the winning formula of small, shared plates eaten in front of a killer view. This casual restaurant is more west coast than Spanish with crowd-pleasing favourites like calamari, crab cakes, fish tacos and salmon sliders. Round out your choices with one of their hearty salads or sides like hummus and breads or risotto fritters. Catch live music every weekend, including at Sunday’s brunch.

Bin 941 Tapas Parlour

4
941 Davie St, Vancouver, BC V6Z 1B9

One of Vancouver’s original restaurants to introduce small-plate menus, Bin 941 is never not packed. The small space is conducive to lively date nights and their chef’s table at the back gives you a front-row seat to all the kitchen action. Well dressed salads, mussels and shoestring fries, gnocchi, braised short ribs — their menu is extensive and most everything is a winner. Don’t forego their addictive Navajo bread: fried, puffy and seasoned to perfection, it’s the ideal accompaniment to the other delicious dishes.

Tapas 23

5
3941 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5V 3P3

Another newer addition to the Spanish-style tapas phenomenon eagerly adopted by Vancouverites, south Main Street’s Tapas 23 is a fun, casual place with limited seating but lots of charm. Offering a few of the classics — albóndigas (meatballs), paella — their menu mostly tweaks tradition, adding interesting flair to traditional Spanish tapas. Hit it up on a sunny weekend when their hidden back patio is open and welcoming and glasses of Sangria are only $5.

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