Does Tapella hit the Spot?

Sans live music and mojito-drinkers at the bar, Tapella brings the tapas experience to a delicious, laid-back level.

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Tapella, a play on the words 'tapas' and 'paella,' is Greenbelt 5's newest tenant. A cozy tapas go-to place in the making, Tapella is Gaudi's baby, casual and unpretentious with creams and muted interiors, and a bar stationed outside to service the alfresco dining area. Comfy couches inspire a long afternoon (or night) of dawdling and group get-togethers, embodying the spirit of leisurely Spanish rituals. No evident Spanish décor here, but the menu is filled with modern takes on Latin-American inspired cuisine.

Tapella opened in late May of this year and they don't have a bar list yet so ask the servers for the beverage options. Choose from their wine selection or bring your own bottle if you like; Tapella only charges P300 per bottle for corkage. The servers are brisk and eager, without hovering over patrons enjoying their vino and croquetas.


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What we ordered:

The serving of Camembert with caramelized onions on fluted bread (P180), was tasty, the Camembert's saltiness going well with caramelized onions that weren't overwhelmingly sweet.

You can't go wrong with ordering a plateful of croquettes in any tapas bar: Tapella's Cocido Meat Croquettes (P95 for six pieces) were just right, soft on the inside with a hint of crisp on the outside.

An interesting item on the menu was the seafood dish, Octopus with paprika, salt and virgin olive oil (P280). For first-time octopus eaters, this does not disappoint. The sliced octopus is presented on a bed of sliced potatoes drizzled with olive oil, and the serving is quite generous, with the paprika complementing the subtle flavor of the seafood and not a hint of the rubbery texture you might expect.

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The Fried Eggs Scramble with Duck Foie Gras (P490) is a small serving of decadence, with the duck foie gras lain on top of fluffy scrambled eggs held together by fried shoestring potatoes. This dish is meant to be savored and delicately melts in your mouth at first bite.

According to Gaudi fans, the Chuleton at Tapella should be ordered too, along with the selection of paella on the menu.

When to go: Make reservations when you head to Tapella for dinner. The place was packed with curious diners and Greenbelt habitués on a Thursday night.

What we think: Tapella has the makings of a great cocktail place, where the rich and bold flavors of the small portions satisfy Spanish cravings at prices that won't make you feel like you'll need to skip dinner.

Tapella is located at the Ground Floor, Greenbelt 5, Ayala Center, Makati City with telephone number 757-2710.




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