When Teresa and I moved to Tallahassee back in 2018, We had expected that the dining choices would be limited and, to be honest, that we would not see the sophistication and quality of the meals we had enjoyed in Miami. We were pleasantly surprised to discover the breadth and depth of the local restaurant scene. Over the past couple of years, we have found favorite places to enjoy almost all of the kinds of food we like. One of the “gaps” was a great place to enjoy Spanish-style tapas. We visited a new restaurant here in Tallahassee last night, Casa Tapas and Cantina, that more than fills this gap.
Casa Tapas and Cantina is located at 2705 Apalachee Pkwy in the building that was the Marie Livingston’s Steakhouse. This is on the eastbound side of Apalachee just before you get to Capital Circle. Because we were going on a Saturday night, we called ahead for reservations. There was ample parking when we arrived. They have completely redone the inside of the restaurant. There is a main dining room, a very large bar with black leather booths, and a second dining room. There is also an outside dining area in the front of the building. The “redo” of this historic Tallahassee location is sophisticated and polished.
We were welcomed as soon as we arrived and shown to a very nice table in the second dining room. We noticed that one of the booths in the bar was open and asked if we could switch. We like sitting together in booths especially for tapas. They moved us right away. Our server, Alexa, came over just after we settled in. She asked if it was our first visit and if we were familiar with tapas. We said it was our first visit and we were familiar with tapas. We had seen the menu online and knew they served five different flavors of sangria. These are blackberry, peach, citrus, white, and mango. We ordered the Sangria Flight so we could sample multiple flavors. We really liked the white and the blackberry flavors. We order a glass of the white sangria to go with our meal.
We ordered two tapas and a main. We asked Alexa to bring them one at a time so we could enjoy each one. We started with the Sashimi Tostadas. This dish is made with ahi tuna and avocado spread served on top of two large round tortillas. The fish was high quality and very fresh. Each tostada has a very healthy serving. The avocado spread and house sauce that is served on the dish are both very flavorful. Teresa and I both enjoyed this dish very much.
Next we had the Scallops Gallega. This dish came with four large scallops served on a bed of Yukon potato cubes (same cut as the patatas bravas). The scallops were seared and the dish was finished with paprika, olive oil, and other seasonings. The scallops were very well prepared. The juice from the scallops and the seasoning soaked the potatoes and made them very flavorful.
The portions for each of the tapas were almost the same size as the main we ordered except for the additional included sides. For our main dish we ordered the Pinchos de Res. This dish came with two grilled skewers with marinated top sirloin beef chunks, bell peppers and onions. It was also served with patatas bravas and a house salad. The beef was tender and well prepared. We thought the patatas bravas could have used a bit more “kick,” but did enjoy them.
We finished our meal by ordering two desserts because we couldn’t choose between two of our favorite Spanish desserts. We ordered the Crema Catalana which is a custard made from egg yolks, milk, sugar and cornflour infused with orange and lemon peels finished with torched sugar on top. We also ordered the Churros which is the Spanish version of a donut. The dish included four pieces of crispy fried dough rolled in cinnamon sugar that are served with chocolate sauce and dulce leche. We liked them so much they were gone before Teresa got the chance to take a picture.
The service was attentive and responsive all evening. Alexa and the rest of the staff did a great job. The manager stopped by to see how we liked our meal. We gave him our feedback and made some suggestions for things we would like to see on the menu for future visits. He had the chef stop by a bit later to say hello and ask us for some more feedback. They had had some feedback from other customers when they first opened to make dishes that were more familiar and with a milder flavor profile. We were “pushing” (just a bit) for them to try and expand the other way. It was really great that they were so open to feedback.
Casa Tapas and Cantina is definitely on our “try it again” list to explore more of the menu. It is great to finally have someplace here in Tallahassee serving this unique cuisine in a great setting and with solid service. If tapas are a favorite of yours, we definitely recommend a visit.