The first restaurant of its kind in this Western District neighborhood, Tapaella Grill may not possess the trendy flashiness or the hipster vibe of the other newish tapas places in town (we don’t like to name names, but, you know, 22 Ships and Boqueria...). Inside, you’ll find a handful of tables, lots of red-colored décor and a picture of a flamenco dancer hanging on the wall.
Despite its name and menu, the place doesn’t scream Spanish, and feels more like a western-style mom-and-pop. The dinner menu consists of hot and cold tapas, paellas and grilled goods, but we dropped by for lunch one day and ordered off the set menu, which includes full-on not-too-Spanish mains such as steak and pan-fried sole, as well as tapas combos that come with tea, coffee or dessert.
We ordered a sautéed mushroom, grilled veggie antipasti, Serrano ham and fried calamari tapas set for $88 and also a New Zealand rib-eye with roasted potatoes and seasonal veggies in port wine gravy for $98. The tapas platter with fresh, crunchy veggies and meaty, crispy-battered calamari was delectable. OK, so the color of the thinly sliced Serrano wasn’t as healthy-looking as we’d have liked, but that was more a visual thing and didn’t affect the taste of the cured meat, which was savory and smooth as you’d expect. And while the rib-eye was no showstopper, it was a solid, well-garnished medium-cooked piece of protein for under $100.
Another plus: service was attentive and our water glasses were refilled consistently during our meal—no small feat in this city. We’ll be back to try dinner.