The goods: The mainland gets a taste of South Beach as Tapas y Tintos opens in Midtown. Reviving the former Kafa/Cane a Sucre space, this convivial saloon is equal parts Barcelona dive and SoBe lounge. Tall hedges buffer the outdoor patio from traffic, and a small stage hosts live Latin bands on Fridays and Saturdays. A daily $10 lunch special draws area professionals, while the 4-8 p.m. happy hour satisfies sangria-swilling crowds.
Ambience: The space is larger than it appears from the outside, with a polished cement bar and a dining room outfitted with narrow black tables flanked by red-cushioned chairs. The music is at a conversation-friendly level, and ample outdoor seating lends itself to casual business meetings and laid-back dates.
The grub: Traditional Spanish tapas. There are about 45 small plates to choose from, priced at $6-$13. Mains like seafood stew and paella ring in under $24. Sangria is $6 a glass or $20 a carafe. Start off with a few cold tapas – plump boquerones (anchovies) in olive oil, chickpeas bathed in garlic and olive oil and a platter of Manchego cheese. There are plenty of cured meats to choose from, including prized Jamon Iberico (from free-range, acorn-fed pigs), $45 a platter.
Baskets of crusty baguettes accompany clay pots of hot tapas like baked goat cheese in tomato sauce and sautéed mushrooms. If you love bacalao – Spanish dried codfish – go for the stuffed piquillo peppers made with a bacalao-spiked potato cream.
The house croquetas come six to an order and include a mix of spinach, fish and potato. Six types of paella are available, including black squid ink and pasta versions; all require a two-person minimum and a 30-minute wait. Other mains include filet mignon in red wine sauce and swordfish steak. Dessert — dry chocolate cake and soupy crema Catalan (like crème brulee) — is skippable.
Verdict: This outpost is less raucous than the SoBe original but the sangria and tapas are still potent.