Zaragoza Spanish Tapas restaurant is on South William Street: it's big, modern and serves very good tapas in a busy and buzzy room. They are open over a year, and we have been a bit remiss in reviewing it before now, but better late than never.
Since 1992 we spend a good bit of time each year in Barcelona, and our food scientist daughter spend her Erasmus in Valencia, staying with one of the best chefs in the city, and eating in the best places, so we know our way around Spanish food quite well at this stage. There is an idea that tapas need to be served in small underground spaces, with port barrels and secret handshakes to gain admittance, but that's not always the case.
While the best tapas in Valencia can be found in the one hundred year old Casa Montaigne, Alicante’s La Taberna del Gourmet is the polar opposite, with lots of bright lights, almost Nordic decor, and a polish that could blind. This brings us to Zaragoza. This is no shrinking violet; it’s big and bright and loud, and the service is fast and the food is accessible, well described on the menu, and very well made if our recent visits are anything to go by.
The room is large and broken up into smaller areas by swirling rails, split level floors and the addition of a glassed in area which would be perfect for a party or some private dining. In the middle there is a large circular bar, with seating around, while the rest is made up of well spaced tables in light wood, with sparkling glasses and shiny cutlery.
The menu is long, and you can just click through to see it all, but we had quite a few dishes, so let me give you a flavour of what to expect.
Crispy duck in filo pastry with almonds and cherry chutney were little filo parcels and the worked well. The grilled tuna with shallots, capers, tomato and olive oil was only briefly acquainted with the pan, as requested and was light and delicious. Gambas con chorizo were big tiger prawns, with very spicy chorizo and the sauce made a great dip for our bread. The mini pig burger, minced pork cheek, bacon and a special sauce wasn’t so mini, and would make a good small meal in itself with some patatas bravas. The star of the show for Abi was the Tortilla con queso de cabra – that’s goat’s cheese omelette - roast pepper, onion and goat’s cheese was beautifully presented, with the disc of cheese on top, and with a fabulous flavour. Bravas finished us off in more ways than one.
Cremated Catalan is the real deal, and tasted of cinnamon and cream and with a crunchy burnt sugar top. A fine example that stands with the best that Spain has to offer.
Still and sparkling water came in their own bottles and costs nothing, and some good coffees sent us on our way
Zaragoza is very good, the food is great, service fast, efficient and friendly and the prices are reasonable. Give this grown up tapas cathedral a try, it doesn’t disappoint.