These restaurants are at the ‘tapas’ of their game

Going to a tapas restaurant can make for an interesting dining experience. These small dishes – mostly of Spanish origin – are fun if you like to share and if you like to sample a lot of different foods rather than eating one boring, basic meal.

There plenty of tapas and tapas-like options to choose from in Las Vegas, so get ready to get a group together and share the delicious eats:

Firefly*

Firefly* has a cool ambiance with subtle Mediterranean details and is perfect if you like Spanish food in a subdued, hip atmosphere. Be sure to try the Firefly*fries, ham and cheese croquetas and stuffed dates.

While tapas make up most of the menu, you can also order a big paella to share and some delicious deserts at the end of your meal the caramel flan and chocolate tres leches cake are a delight. The sangria is a big draw too – it comes in red, white and sparkling varieties.

Firefly* has three locations around Vegas: on Paradise Road, Downtown (at The Plaza) and on the west side of town. The downtown location is temporarily closed while The Plaza renovates.

Johnny Smalls

Johnny Smalls at the Hard Rock Hotel isn’t strictly a “true” tapas place, but you will find a lot of unique tapas-like creations and unexpected miniature versions of other dishes like the Grilled PB&J, Chicken and Waffles (wings, waffle fries and maple syrup) or my favorite, Jack & Coke: kobe beef skewers with special marinade made with – you guessed it – Jack Daniels and Coca Cola. Be sure to try the tater fries, Hummus Among Us and the Smalls Balls.

Chef Hubert Keller's maple glazed pork ribs at Fleur.

Chef Hubert Keller's maple glazed pork ribs at Fleur.

Fleur

A tapas restaurant with a French name? What’s going on?

Like Johnny Smalls, this small-dish eatery at Mandalay Bay shares the tapas spirit without fitting the strict definition of a Spanish tapas restaurant. Fleur takes from Spanish, African, South American and Asian cuisines, with small dishes featuring skirt steak with chimmichurri sauce, croque monsieur, maple glazed pork ribs and a well-sized vegetarian menu with hummus and flatbread, risotto and onion soup. If you have a palate for a variety of tastes, Fleur is where to be.

Jaleo

Jaleo is as charming and fascinating as the rest of The Cosmopolitan, with its menu offering quirky commentary on certain categories (like “‘Frying is overrated… Yeah right!”) and some of the seating located outside the restaurant, on picnic-style benches on The Cosmopolitan’s third floor. In addition to your usual tapas fare, Jaleo serves up four varieties of paella, a few soups and seven delicious varieties of cheese.

Oh, and some of the fried foods come served in a shoe: don’t worry; they put your tapas in a cone of wax paper before it goes into the shoe.

Julian Serrano

Delicious Raspberry Tuna Skewers at Julian Serrano

Delicious Raspberry Tuna Skewers at Julian Serrano

This restaurant really walks the line between tradition and innovation. Chef Julian Serrano’s creative streak shines at his tapas restaurant in Aria with dishes like lobster gazpacho, a great take on chilled Spanish soup, and raspberry tuna skewers, which are two great tastes that taste great together.

The pan manchego is simple but a great starter and the Spanish Tortilla is a satisfying traditional dish done right (note: a Spanish Tortilla is actually an omelet with potatoes and onions – so don’t expect a quesadilla or burrito!)

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