Small Plates: The Top 5 Tapas Restaurants in Philadelphia

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The worst thing about dining out, if you ask me, is selecting what to order. When every option on the menu sounds divine, choosing what dishes you get to taste and which ones you, sadly, don’t can be heart breaking. But, alas, there is the tapas restaurant, where ordering 10 plates isn’t overindulgent.  A place where variety and sharing are in order, these top five Philadelphia spots deliver interaction and ultimate satisfaction.

1 Amada

Amada was one of Philadelphia's favorite restaurants before we even knew what "tapas" were. Jose Garces' first spot and still a tough reservation, this traditional Spanish restaurant goes authentic with a massive menu of tapas such as potent gambas a ajillo (garlic shrimp) and costillas de ternera -- a shortrib, horseradish and bacon flatbread that will be gone in two seconds. Match any food with their amazing house sangrias.

217 Chestnut St.

Philadelphia, PA 19106


2 Bar Ferdinand

Northern Liberties is the winner of this Spanish spot, themed loosely after a bullfight. The finger foods here are fun and flirty. Try the pinchos (skewers), empanadas and croquettes -- the Breton version of which is packed with creamy goat cheese, thyme and kale, paired with romesco sauce and amazingly delicious.

1030 North Second St.

Philadelphia, PA 19123


3 Tinto

Amada's cousin is moodier and sexier, the perfect backdrop for its Basque-inspired plates. Grab one of the pillow-packed banquettes in the downstairs dining room and indulge in rich morsels. Do as the restaurant's name implies and order yourself a nice glass of Spanish red, then dine on cider-spiked diver scallops and pork belly and honey canapes.

114 South 20th St.

Philadelphia, PA 19103


4 Valanni

Chic happy hour spot Valanni has much more to offer than a great deal on a martini. Grab a table by and recoup from the drinks with a spread of Mediterranean tapas. Polenta blended with shrimp, feta and shitakes wows, as do the many veggie-friendly options like chickpea frites or the Greek-inspired trio of pita spreads.

1229 Spruce St.

Philadelphia, PA 19107


5 The Continental Mid-Town

Fun and bubbly, this funky spot blends 70s decor, unique seating options and colorful cocktails with ease. The dinner menu is a menagerie of options from Asian pad thai, lettuce wraps and skewers to their popular lobster mac and cheese. Ask about the mini dessert menu, too.

1801 Chestnut St.

Philadelphia, PA 19103


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