What’s not to love about a dining experience that encourages conversation while eating? That’s the whole point of tapas, the delicious Spanish cuisine served hot or cold on small plates. Order a bunch and let the conversation ensue. Grab a group of friends and order up a bunch of tasty tapas at one of these great Las Vegas restaurants.
Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, 1.877.893-2001
Jose Andres’ Jaleo was one of the country's first successful tapas restaurants, setting the standard for Spanish cuisine in the United States for almost two decades. And finally he’s in Vegas. He serves up jamón ibérico de bellota, an acorn-fed pork is a signature item of José Andrés and Jaleo, the first restaurant in the U.S. to offer it.
Aria at CityCenter, 1.877.230.2742
Do you argue with a restaurant that made John Mariani’s list of best new restaurants in the country? No, you don’t. This is the type of place where you can go overboard on the tapas. Chef Julian Serrano returns to his Spanish roots at his eponymous restaurant at Aria. You can find a salmon roulade with rocoto mayo and tartar sauce, ahi tuna tempura with avocado and mango ensaladilla, avocado cannelloni with Scottish salmon and rocoto mayo or the infamous tuna-raspberry skewer with ahi tuna, “molecular” raspberry, wasabi and sesame seed. We love the pintxo de chorizos with garlic mashed potatoes and the stuffed piquillo peppers with goat cheese and mushrooms. See how you can go overboard?
3900 Paradise Road, 702.369.3971; 9560 W. Sahara Ave., 702.834.3814; and 11261 S. Eastern Ave. Ste 200, Henderson, 702.778.1400
Firefly Tapas Kitchen & Bar
This Vegas favorite has become so popular that it has opened two new locations in the past year. Dine on these easy-to-share dishes such as tomato bread with manchego cheese and Serrano ham, boquerones with Spanish white anchovies on toasts with roasted red pepper, shrimp ceviche or the stuffed dates wrapped in bacon with smoked almond, red wine reduction and blue cheese (Note: These are dangerous). Add some empanadas, albondigas (meatballs in a sherry tomato sauce) and ham and cheese croquetas and you have a meal. Be sure to order a pitcher of the sangria as well.
4180 S. Rainbow Blvd.; 702.220.3876
Forte European Tapas Bar & Bistro
Look for Eastern European-style tapas on the menu of this foodie favorite. Marcona almond-stuffed dates, chorizo con vino and beef and lamb confit are just some of the dishes that make the menu here.
107 E. Charleston Blvd., 702.202.6060
Bar + Bistro
We love the idea of an artsy bistro in the middle of the Arts District. While tapas don’t make the menu every night, you can find them on First Friday when an assortment turn up on the menu. Look for calamari and shrimp with aurora whisky sauce, sausage and polenta and antipasto cold cuts mixed with grilled marinated vegetables, among others. Go on Saturdays, when you can get pitchers of sangria for $10.