The Hit List -- Best Tapas Bars in Singapore
We round up the best far Spanish tapas bars in Singapore
Savouring tiny plates of tapas over generous pitchers of ice-cold red and white sangria and congregating over bar tops as boisterous conversations flow seem more suited for the summer-drenched streets of Barcelona, and yet, this sight has become more and more commonplace in Singapore thanks to the flourishing tapas bars craze. And it's not just the Spaniards opening up these restaurants; just ask Australian chef Luke Mangan, Brit Jason Atherton and Frenchman Olivier Bendel.
Whether it's a traditional hearty paella and a glass of Spanish wine, or a more modernized fusion mix you're after, we round up the five best tapas bars in Singapore.
Don Quijote Spanish Restaurant
One of the more popular names amongst those who enjoy their Spanish fare, Don Quijote Spanish Restaurant presents a bountiful array -- much more variety so than the typical tapas bar -- of hot and cold tapas for your pickings.
This Dempsey outlet might be the second of the original successful restaurant at Bukit Timah (which has since closed), it's no less serious about serving up the Spanish classics. House favourites include the seafood paella which comes served in a pan, garlic fried shrimp rolled in eggplant, and its deliciously hot chocolate cake.
Celebrity chef Jason Atherton's new venture Esquina is already so popular that arriving more than five minutes after its opening time at dinnertime (they don't take reservations) meant not being able to find a seat indoors -- or so we've heard. But it doesn't hurt to be too careful with this snazzy hotspot, which serves a decidedly less traditional form of Spanish tapas.
Signatures include a tangy scallop ceviche, the savoury Iberico pork and foie gras burger and our favourite, the salt and pepper baby squid. Service is brisk and efficient, and if you're lucky enough to snag a seat at the bar counter where all the action is, you'll be able to catch a glimpse of all the magic happening in the kitchen.
Sabio Tapas Bar and Restaurant
One of the earlier ventures of veteran restaurateur Olivier Bendel -- who now has L'Entrecote, 83, Forlino and more to come in his stable of restaurants -- Sabio Tapas Bar and Restaurant has flourished under the man's Midas touch.
And despite Bendel's non-Spanish roots, Sabio presents the very same convivial and boisterous atmosphere as you would expect from any tapas bar in cobbled streets of Madrid, alongside a reasonably generous array of hot and cold tapas; we especially loved the salmon cooked in cider. Food is a little on the pricey side, but it's worth it for the ambience you'd be hard pressed to find elsewhere in Singapore.
Serenity Spanish Bar and Restaurant
One of our favourite things about Serenity Spanish Bar and Restaurant is its strategic location facing the seaside boardwalk -- it affords waterfront views that's especially relaxing at dusk when accompanied by strains of Spanish tunes by the in-house live band.
Loyal fans come back faithfully for its solidly-executed menu of perennial favourites like patatas bravas, grilled Spanish octopus and the paella, as well as new items that grace the menu ever so often. There's a distinct laidback and unpretentious vibe about the place, so feel free to let your hair down and relax over copious amounts of sangria.
Zsofi Tapas Bar
Zsofi's less than conventional location squirrelled away in the second floor of a shophouse in Little India is part of its charm, rather than a deterrent, to its loyal fans, many of whom are backpacking tourists looking for a low-key spot away from the usual suspects.
Zsofi's main draw: a free order of tapas (choose from items like gazpacho and tortillas) with every drink. But for something a little more substantial, the hefty Mega Platter, a selection of Zsofi's top ten hot tapas, or the generous Paella Valecia will do just the trick.
Like what you’re reading? Head over to LifestyleAsia.com and check out the wine and dine section. Related articles: Check out our picks of Dempsey Hill restaurants that best capture the area's charm.
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The Hit List -- Best Tapas Bars in Singapore