Oakland >Barlata Tapas Bar
Not so bad for tapas....
I must admit, I wasn't completely impressed with Barlata. It was small and cozy, and the dimly-lit atmosphere was nice and romantic, but the waitstaff seemed a bit quirky:
They kept trying to take away plates we weren't done with. They kept asking us if we wanted to order when we weren't ready. We had to ask for the check after we'd been done with our meal over 20 minutes, and repeatedly had to ask for water. The waitress seemed rather irked that we didn't order coffee with dessert. It really didn't seem like the waitstaff had done this before...
On to the food: squid ink pasta was okay, but somehow reminiscent of rice-a-roni, and the shrimp on top was fishy. Ceviche was quite good. Clams with chorizo were good, but needed more chorizo, and the sauce was a bit bitter. Lamb skewers were spicy and delicious.
The dessert was good; we ordered the churros with caramel sauce.
Barlata is probably a more authenitc tapas place than most of the ones cropping up in the East Bay, but I'm not sure that's enough to make it a regular place on my rounds...
Barcelona in Oakland !. The tapas are authentic looking and tasting. The wait staff is helpful, friendly and very knowledgeable about the wine list. Three of us had delicious roasted tomato soup, and several tapas including: wild mushrooms, paquilla peppers filled with shrimp and white asparagus, shrimp in garlic olive oil, heirloom tomatoes with goat cheese, house-cured olives and wonderful bread. Dessert was an espresso custard to die for. What a terrific find. A delightful smallish, uncrowded, not-too-noisy, clean and contemporary neighborhood place with lovely atmosphere, servers and cooks!
Temescal tapas joint serves traditional small plates.. For diners looking for a taste of Spain without the plane ticket, this Oakland neighborhood spot has already carved its niche in the local dining scene. The corner restaurant is open and airy (save for a secluded alcove-like table to the left of the bar) with ample seating in the form of rustic wood two- and four-tops, plus a Euro-style communal table. Because the tables are close, the noise level can escalate quickly, even in a half-full dining room. Dozens of mini dishes (many of them served in "latas," Spanish for "tins," which is actually how many of the best tapas spots in Spain serve their fare) are available--from standards like patatas bravas to fairly unusual finds like fideua negre, a noodle-based paella dish made with black squid ink; order a couple per person to fill up, as the portions are meager, even for small plates. Drink-wise, wine is the ticket here, and can be ordered by the glass or, for a larger selection, by the bottle. After a lively dinner, a few glasses of Rioja and a belly full of chorizo, you'll have at least temporarily satisfied your Barcelona-jones without even having had to leave the Bahia Este (East Bay).
New place in town. I tried this tapas bar, I think they are new, since everything looks new. I like their service, and I found their location convenient, although it is near the shadier part of town. Overall, I like the experience.
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