If there was a softer restaurant opening than that of Tapas Lantana (210 E Ocean Blvd., 561-533-5580), a lovely Spanish eatery-tapas bar in the old Apicius location, it would be a pashmina scarf.
Even so, judging from the crowd when my wife and I stopped in last Saturday night, word has certainly got around. The place was jumpin’, and for good reason: first-rate Spanish fare, exceptionally warm and friendly service, and one of the prettiest dining rooms this side of the Mississippi.
I’ll go into it in more detail in a coming issue of the magazine, but just to tweak your appetite. . . There’s a fine selection of Spanish and Italian wines, along with several worthy choices by the glass, plus a menu of classic tapas ranging from such classics as zarzuela and four different kinds of paella to more contemporary Latin dishes like pan-fried snapper with yucca fries and tomato escabeche.
We stuck with the tapas and were rewarded with a quartet of plump, fresh-tasting shrimp in garlic and chili-infused olive oil, a bowl of lusty Galician white bean and ham stew, terrific albondigas topped with shaved mancheo and a couple of tasty little spring rolls stuffed with mojo-marinated pork.
The folks on East Ocean Boulevard are in for a tough 18 months or so until the new bridge is built and opens, so make it a point to check this place out. Trust me, you’ll want it to stay in business.