Restaurants

12 Top Spots For Tapas Across Melbourne In 2021

By Rick Stephens

A TABLE FULL OF TAPAS.

Tapas first started when the King of Spain made it law for bars to serve food alongside drinks. It was an effort to curb public drunkenness and was usually just a piece of bread with a simple topping which was served on the rim of your wine glass—hence the word ‘tapa’ which means ‘to cover’ in Spanish. Fast forward a few centuries and tapas is now a cuisine in its own right, celebrating small plates which can be mixed and matched. Eat as much or as little as you want with our guide to the best tapas in Melbourne for 2021. 

Bomba

CBD

Seriously some of the best tapas Melbourne has to offer, Bomba fulfills all your spanish cravings both on the ground floor and up in the rooftop bar. Their mixed grain salad is one of the best we’ve ever had and it goes perfectly with the juicy pork belly. Don’t pass up the patatas bravas, those spuds are worth every cent. 

La Pinta

Reservoir

Up in Reservoir, this local tapas bar and eatery is bringing a taste of the Mediterranean to Melbourne’s northside. La Pinta’s roasted eggplant with brown butter, hazelnuts and mint is a winner for all the vegetarians out there, and their Albondigas meatballs are a must for any meat-eaters. 

Lulo

Hawthorn

Taking inspiration from the flavours of South America, Lulo is a cocktail and tapas bar in the heart of the Glenferrie Road precinct. They do a mean 8-hour slow-roasted lamb shoulder and lots of sharing plates. Try the mushroom croquettes with Manchego cheese and panca aioli then finish the night with their Venezuelan chocolate ganache, you’ll be saying “gracias” for days. 

MoVida

CBD

We couldn’t make a best tapas Melbourne list without MoVida. With three venues in the CBD, MoVida is a staple in Melbourne’s Spanish food map. Since starting in 2003, these folks have been using Australian ingredients to produce authentic Spanish flavours, from cult classics like their anchovies with smoked tomato sorbet to their famous sourdough used for mopping up all those flavour-filled sauces. Try your luck walking in at this laneway institution. 

Keen to visit MoVida soon? Purchase a restaurant gift voucher here

El Rincón

CBD

A huge portrait of the charismatic Salvador Dalí greets you as you enter this traditional tapas bar. From the floor and wall tiles to the charcuterie bar, El Rincón is legit. They’re the only venue in Melbourne where you can find Running Bull Sangria on tap and their menu uses fresh ingredients from the Queen Victoria Market every day. Short of travelling to Spain, this is as authentic as it gets. 

Simply Spanish

South Melbourne

Another market find, Simply Spanish can be found at South Melbourne market churning out huge serves of paella and loads of tapas plates to loyal customers. Open since 2007, the market bar emanates the bustling food halls of Madrid. Their paella is the best outside of Spain—seriously, they’ve won awards for it. As for their tapas, their traditional tortilla de patatas, which you see everywhere in Spain, is definitely worth a try.

Añada

Fitzroy

If fine dining is what you’re looking for, we’d recommend Añada bar and restaurant in Fitzroy. They offer a flight of tapas with matched sherry, as well as a chef’s selection four-course meal. Their vino list is worthy of any wannabe sommelier, featuring wines from around the world categorised by flavour profile. It’s the perfect spot for a bit of romance.

Kanela

Fitzroy

Take a trip to Kanela for an immersive dining experience. Watch the Flamenco dancers and live musicians while you taste your way through their tasty tapas. Kanela is reminiscent of all the little tapas bars you’d find in Seville and Madrid, bringing Spanish culture to Melbourne’s inner north. 

Nómada

Fitzroy

This sophisticated food and wine bar is an intimate venue serving damn good tapas. Nómada has both a set menu and an a la carte menu, both providing an exceptional sample of Spanish flavours. From bar snacks and cheese boards through to honey-glazed duck breast and pistachio-crusted lamb rump, they’ve got something for all occasions and appetites. Choose your own adventure—pro tip: there are no wrong choices. 

Las Tapas

St Kilda

With daily menu updates on Twitter, Las Tapas bar in the heart of St Kilda serves market fresh food which changes depending on what’s available each day. They do BYO Tuesdays, Paella Sundays and a $100 grill for two deal on Wednesdays and Thursdays which includes a jug of sangria. You’re guaranteed a fresh, seasonal meal here.

Tinto

Hawthorn

Opened by two sisters with Spanish roots, Tinto is a favourite with locals and one of the best-kept secrets for the best tapas in Melbourne—until now. With a third sister still living over in Spain and running her own restaurant, food and wine is in these ladies’ genes. A real hero on their menu is their Coca dish: a crisp pastry with caramelised onions, roasted pumpkin, goat’s cheese and dukkah. It’s a recipe made in heaven. 

Cariño

Ascot Vale

For fans of tacos and chargrills, then look no further than Ascot Vale’s resident tapas bar, Cariño. Treat your taste buds to their set menu or set your own menu with their generous range of plates on offer. Their signature croquettes change daily with chef specials, and their spiced roasted cauliflower is an absolute dream served with almonds and honey labneh. 

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Image credit: supplied

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