Las Tapas

Spanish, Tapas
$$$$ ($15-$24)
This bright, tiled restaurant on King Street's main strip serves more than 70 varieties of tapas, excellent Spanish wines and grilled meats.
Mon-Tue 4-10 pm
Wed 11:30 am-10 pm
Thu 11:30 am-11 pm
Fri 11:30 am-1 am
Sat 10 am-1 am
Sun 10 am-10 pm
(Old Town Alexandria)
King Street (Blue and Yellow lines)
703-836-4000
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Editorial Review

Outside Old Town's Las Tapas, a mini glassed-in billboard advertises flamenco dancing. Inside, the restaurant is divided into two -- an airy tiled bar that would provide cool on the hottest of Spanish summer days; and next to it, a kind of indoor patio that holds the bulk of tables.

Even though there are main dishes to be had, tapas rule and the menu features more than 70 varieties. Ideal for meat-lovers and vegetarians alike, these tasty little plates are made for a lazy lunch, a bottle of wine and plenty of the restaurant's truly excellent homemade bread.

The only difficulty here is in cobbling together a balanced selection from so many choices. Try for a good mix of vegetable, seafood and meat tapa; a good cross of saucy and dry, hot and cold. Calamari can come grilled and deliciously tender in a pungent lemony oil, or braised in tomato and garlic; shrimp are juicy and fat in their garlic and parsley butter; sardines are charred to perfection.

A nice lunch can be made, too, of baked artichoke hearts and roasted potatoes with aioli dip. But remember that these portions are by nature small and two people might be inclined to share six or seven dishes between them.

-- Alexa Beattie