If you can’t get to Spain this summer, Patio Tapas & Beer will transport you to the Iberian Peninsula with its variety of tapas. You might have strolled by its red awning on your way to a Royal Palm Place restaurant, shop or bar, but its expansive terrace is worthy of a visit, and here’s why. Chef Bryant Fajardo, who trained under celebrated chef José Andrés, specializes in one of Spain’s most traditional and iconic cuisines, the tapas. Patio delivers classic selections like Manchego cheese and anchovies alongside premium nibbles like seared duck and foie gras.
You can find tapas all around Spain; eat them as a snack before dinner or as a full meal of small, shareable plates. One style of tapas is the montadito. It consists of a petite piece of bread (usually similar to a baguette) with some sort of topping. Its name is thought to come from the word montar, or to mount, in allusion to its “mounted” toppings.
What is for certain is that at Patio Tapas & Beer, montaditos take center stage. How many you order really depends on your appetite and number of guests. You should know that an order of any montadito only includes one portion. So if you’re with friends you should order multiples. Our table of four ordered five montaditos that we halved so that we could try them all without getting too full on bread. That’s the tricky part: balancing my love for toasty-on-the-outside and warm-and-fluffy-on-the-inside bread with my urge to try everything on the menu.
Solid, straightforward choices include the pork belly ($4.90), tender with a crispy exterior, and the jamón ibérico y Manchego ($4.90), a thin slice of sheep’s milk cheese topped with a thinner slice of ham. The standout montaditos were the cordero estofado ($4.90), shredded lamb braised in tomato and red wine that was both savory and saucy, the duck breast ($4.90), thinly sliced, seared and nestled onto sweet fig jam and topped with truffle oil, and the piquillo relleno ($4.90), a red pepper (sans heat) stuffed with creamy goat cheese and a Pedro Ximénez sweet sherry reduction.
Another category on the menu are bocadillos, which are small sandwiches made from similar montadito bread. We opted for other breadless tapas like the tortilla ($7.90), an upgraded moist omelet of egg and potato with a slight onion crunch; zanahorias al jerez ($7.90), multicolored carrots topped with goat cheese and almonds in a Pedro Ximénez glaze that accentuated their sweetness; the typical Galician pulpo a la gallega ($17.90), tender morsels of octopus sprinkled with olive oil and paprika; and gambas al ajillo ($17.90), shrimp usually drenched in garlicky olive oil that, in this case, fell a little short on the garlic.
A true tapas experience is about sharing food in a friendly, comfortable setting, and this restaurant delivers. Whether you meet friends for a Wine Down Wednesday happy hour (bottles are half off) and pair a Spanish rioja with a few montaditos or invest in the entire menu with a smorgasbord of plates, Patio Tapas & Beer is here.
IF YOU GO
205 S.E. First Ave., Boca Raton; 561/419-7239; patiotapasandbeer.com
PARKING: Street and garage parking
HOURS: Mon.-Thurs., noon-9 p.m.; Fri.-Sat., noon-10:30 p.m.; Sun., noon-8 p.m