Big Taste, Mini Meals! Tapas Restaurants in Metro Detroit

By: Toni Cunningham | November 20, 2012

I can’t speak for everyone, but every once in a blue moon, I have one of those days where I’m so unbelievably hungry, I can’t decide what I want to eat. I sit there and agonize about whether I want pizza, Chinese, Italian, or a cheeseburger. And after carefully considering each, I want them all. The delectable answer to this problem, you ask? Tapas.

Tapas originated in Spanish cuisine, and consist of a variety of cold and warm appetizers, small plates or snacks. Essentially, it allows you to go to a restaurant with your friends and order a tiny bit of everything. It’s a plus because you can sample several cuisines without dishing out your entire paycheck for one meal.

The best part is you don’t need to book a ticket to Spain to try these tasty morsels of food. There are several local tapas restaurants right here in Metro Detroit.

The Sardine Room, located at 340 S. Main in Plymouth, specializes in small plates, cocktails and a raw food bar. Small plates include items such as a cheese board, house made gnocchi, fried calamari and fish tacos. The restaurant’s raw bar features everything from oysters to peel and eat shrimp to Chilean sea bass ceviche.

After you’ve polished off your pint-sized plates, try a Detroit Cooler for dessert (Vernors with Guernsey vanilla ice cream) or a cup of Michigan roasted Great Lakes Coffee.

Pair your tapas with one of The Sardine Room’s signature cocktails, like the Kentucky Mule or Rosemary’s Baby, or pick from their extensive beer and wine list. Whatever you choose, it’s the perfect place to get your tapas fix.

If you’re in Downtown Detroit, Small Plates, located at 1521 Broadway, has tapas to suit every palate. With dishes ranging from Mac & Four Cheese Gratin to Pretzel Sliders to Blackened Lamb Chops, there is no doubt you’ll find exactly what you’re craving.

Small Plates hosts Sunday Brunch every week, featuring a specialized brunch menu with items like Shrimp Frittata, Huevos Ranchero, Stuffed French Toast, Blueberry Pancakes and more. The special brunch features live music, a Bloody Mary bar and mimosas. Brunch lasts from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. every Sunday, and you can even make reservations online to ensure yourself a spot.

Have no fear bringing little ones with a picky appetite to Small Plates. The kid’s menu includes items like Chicken Tenders, Two Little Hot Dogs, Simple Pasta and Brick Oven Pizzas.

If you’re not stuffed after consuming several tiny dishes, Small Plates has a widespread dessert list including tried and true favorites like Crème Brulee, Bumpy Cake and Key Lime Pie.

Perhaps after all this talk about tapas and its origination, you’re looking for an authentic taste of Spain. If that’s the case, head to Sangria Tapas Café in Royal Oak, located at 401 S. Lafayette. The lunch and dinner tapas menu features cold and warm items, including Bolas de Queso y Patata (potato and cheese croquetas served with sour cream), Esparragos Fritos (fresh asparagus sautéed in olive oil and garlic) and Costillas con Piña Colada (pork ribs served with a piña colada barbeque sauce).

The dessert menu includes a Dessert Sampler, which consists of Tiramisu, Chocolate Torte, Cheesecake and crème caramel, served with whipped cream and berry sauce. Pardon me, waiter? I’ll take two.

The best part about Sangria Tapas Café, aside from the authentic flavors, is that the restaurant’s outdoor patio is now heated, so you can still enjoy your delectable tapas outdoors, even as the weather cools.

Great food, great variety and great prices—what more could you ask for? Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m heading out for some tapas.