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What are the best tapas dishes in Pittsburgh?

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What are the best tapas dishes in Pittsburgh?

Panini Guy | Apr 4, 2008 07:56 AM

We've now got a fairly decent variety of tapas places here - half dozen at least - and wanted to ask which specific dishes at which tapas restos you thought were best.

Maybe we even get together for a moving tapas feast sometme this year?

Before moving here I was spoiled by a great place in Norwalk, CT called Barcelona. It remains my favorite tapas place to this day (although San Jose's Thirsty Bear has my all time favorite plate - fish cheeks in garlic). The tapas scene here is getting better, but in reading online reviews of the different restos, it seems very hit and miss (or maybe that's just Pittsburgh trying to get used to small plates?) So we're thinking that if we local CHs compiled a list of favorite plates for each tapas bar we could do some kind of crawl and try them all instead of being locked down to one.

As an aside, we went out to Tusca for 1st time this week. It does lean to Italian or at least a more broader Mediterranean concept than simply Spanish. I was a bit surprised to see a lack of mushroom-focused plates, which to me is a staple of tapas - used to seeing two or three shroom treatments at tapas places in other cities. Only appearances at Tusca were in a risotto (didn't order) and a small dot of them atop polenta (wife enjoyed, I thought it was OK).

We started with the tapenade. Was surprised at the presentation - three crostini piled high with 3 different tapenades. Was expecting something more like three separate ramekins with more pieces of crostini. The tapenade was fine, but was piled so high you couldn't avoid spilling some. Also had the pear/blue cheese salad, mostly to counterbalance the other flavors we were trying. Baby greens were fresh and crisp, pears had a good texture. Also had the beans and greens (I loved it, wife doesn't care for chorizo) and the spicy seafood (the shellfish was good, sauce was almost cloying - think a sweeter shrimp cocktail sauce), The garlic bread was unremarkable. For the sake of simplicity we went with the red sangria which was fruity and refreshing. Normally we'd go for a wine flight, but the wine list seemed to concentrate on one importer/vintner that with whom we were not familiar.

For me, the beans and greens was the winner that night.

All in all, not perfect, but enjoyable and I'd say, worth the price. Service was attentive and knowledgeable. We've seen reviews to the contrary, but our experience was pretty good.

But.... they have to lose the music. There was a guitar duo playing covers ranging from Beatles to Led Zep to Bon Jovi. No rock during dinner, please. Now, if they put in a Flamenco act on their little stage, they'd have something!

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