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The Manzanilla olives at Corrida are breaded and fried, topped with cheese and served over romesco
Lucy Beaugard/Eater Denver

14 Places to Find Tapas in Denver and Boulder

Small plates are the go-to dishes at these restaurants

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The Manzanilla olives at Corrida are breaded and fried, topped with cheese and served over romesco
| Lucy Beaugard/Eater Denver

Once forgotten in this region, going out for tapas is becoming the way to eat again, when meeting friends for happy hour or simply ordering a spread to share for dinner.

Small portions make it possible to try several different dishes without committing to one big main, and there’s the conviviality of sharing a multi-plate dinner.

Denver and Boulder have seen a rush of Spanish-influenced eateries in the last year (Ultreia, Barcelona, Corrida, Acreage) that range from traditional to ultra hip and even a little irreverent. Here, 14 tapas options — including places that aren’t Spanish at all but do strongly embrace the idea of the shared small plate.

Don’t see your favorite? Leave it in the comments.

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
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Dagabi Cucina

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Dagabi Cucina has been around for decades, but it’s still an under-the-radar Boulder gem, serving shareable dishes like steamed mussels in tomato broth, wrapped and stuffed dates, and chorizo skewers. Notable is the nightly happy hour, featuring more than 30 items and spanning through the entire evening.

Empanadillas at Dagabi Cucina
Dagabi Cucina/Facebook

Izakaya Amu

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Japanese izakaya, or pubs that serve small plates, follow the same dining philosophy of trying several different things as tapas bars. At Amu, guests are treated to an ever-changing menu of Japanese country-style food and shabu shabu, including sashimi.

Oysters at Amu
Amu/Facebook

Corrida

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Looking to the distinctive cuisine of Spain’s Basque region, Corrida serves up classics like espinacas y garbanzos and croquetas de jamon, alongside wines, vermouths, and gin tonics. Boulder’s newest tapas bar, it also has a rooftop patio with stellar views.

Setas at Corrida
Corrida/Facebook

The Med

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Downtown Boulder’s the Med offers a pan-Mediterranean menu spanning Greece, Italy, and Spain. The affordable happy hour menu has a wide selection of tapas, from lamb skewers to roasted garlic and warm olives. Happy hour is daily and runs twice — in the afternoon and later at night.

Cafe Aion

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Boulder’s Cafe Aion has been serving the hill since 2010 with weekly specials like Paella Wednesday from an airy, exposed brick enclave. Based on the flavors of Spain and Morocco, there’s Serrano ham, Manchego cheese, and olive, pepper, and anchovy skewers, accompanied by glasses of sangria made in house.

Paella at Cafe Aion
Cafe Aion/Facebook

Acreage by Stem Ciders

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Slightly out of the way but worth the detour, this Lafayette cider house pays homage to Basque Country cideries with tins of conserved seafood, ham slices, and lamb Merguez among the shareable food offerings.

A leg of jamón imported from Spain
Jimena Peck/Eater

Barcelona Wine Bar RiNo

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Barcelona Wine Bar has more than 30 tapas on the menu, ranging from traditional treats like pulpo Gallego (Galician-style octopus) and jamon and Manchego croquetas to broccolini and duck breast. It also offers more than 40 Spanish and South American wines by the glass.

Tapas at Barcelona Wine Bar
Barcelona/Facebook

El Five

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Justin Cucci’s fifth restaurant was an instant Denver staple — the fifth-floor, ultra-hip tapas bar offers sweeping views of the Denver skyline on one side and panoramic mountain views on the other. Inspired by Spain’s Strait of Gibraltar, it has a Moorish vibe with vintage carpets and enlarged pulp comics from the region. Seafood arancini, paella, and Morrocan lamb sausage go well a porrón of vermouth and tonic.

Ash Roasted Carrots at El Five
A Notte Denver/Facebook

SuperMegaBien

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James Beard-nominated chef Dana Rodriguez is behind Super Mega Bien, located in RiNo’s chic new hotel, the Ramble. The concept is “pan-Latin” dim sum, drawing on both Rodriguez’ heritage and travels. Three roaming carts offers dim sum-style eats with Latin flair, like croquetas, ceviche, and sausage.

South American Dim Sum at Super Mega Bien
Super Mega Bien/Facebook

Ultreia

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James Beard Award-winning chef Jennifer Jasinski is behind this pintxos bar, inspired by the foods of the Iberian peninsula, including Spain and Portugal. Located in Union Station, it brings to mind the tapas bars of Spain with its colorful tiles and wrought iron. Menu items include staples like pan con tomate, patatas bravas, and of course, gin tonics.

Truchas Curadas at Ultreia
Ultreia/Facebook

The 9th Door Capitol Hill

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Denver’s original tapas bar, 9th Door Capitol Hill draws its inspiration from the many cultures that influence Spanish cuisine. Sample several bite-sized plates like gambas al ajillo (garlic shrimp), tortilla Española (potato omelette) or albóndigas (meatballs) washed down with a glass of Spanish wine.

Charcuterie Board at 9th Door Capitol Hill
9th Door

South Broadway’s LeÑa is really pan-Latin American in nature, but the small plates theme lends itself to the Spanish style of eating — a little of this, a little of that. Look for dishes like camarones y chorizo and short ribs, plus an extensive wine list featuring wines from South America, California, and Europe.

Octopus at LEÑA
LEÑA/Facebook

The Empress Seafood Restaurant

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Following the concept of sampling many different dishes, Empress offers Denver one of the best dim sum options around. An army of carts parade through the dining room offering (very affordable) bites of typical pork dumplings, sesame balls, and spare ribs in black bean sauce.

Dumplings at The Empress
The Empress/Facebook

AMBLI Denver

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Ambli has two locations — in DTC and on Holly — so getting a tapas fix has never been easier. Basing the menu on global flavors, options range from Portuguese garlic shrimp to a pasilla ribeye, but almost everything is designed to be shared. Note: Ambli Holly is closing temporarily and will relaunch in the new year with a full Mexican menu.

Croquettas at AMBLI
AMBLI/Facebook

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Dagabi Cucina

Empanadillas at Dagabi Cucina
Dagabi Cucina/Facebook

Dagabi Cucina has been around for decades, but it’s still an under-the-radar Boulder gem, serving shareable dishes like steamed mussels in tomato broth, wrapped and stuffed dates, and chorizo skewers. Notable is the nightly happy hour, featuring more than 30 items and spanning through the entire evening.

Empanadillas at Dagabi Cucina
Dagabi Cucina/Facebook

Izakaya Amu

Oysters at Amu
Amu/Facebook

Japanese izakaya, or pubs that serve small plates, follow the same dining philosophy of trying several different things as tapas bars. At Amu, guests are treated to an ever-changing menu of Japanese country-style food and shabu shabu, including sashimi.

Oysters at Amu
Amu/Facebook

Corrida

Setas at Corrida
Corrida/Facebook

Looking to the distinctive cuisine of Spain’s Basque region, Corrida serves up classics like espinacas y garbanzos and croquetas de jamon, alongside wines, vermouths, and gin tonics. Boulder’s newest tapas bar, it also has a rooftop patio with stellar views.

Setas at Corrida
Corrida/Facebook

The Med

Downtown Boulder’s the Med offers a pan-Mediterranean menu spanning Greece, Italy, and Spain. The affordable happy hour menu has a wide selection of tapas, from lamb skewers to roasted garlic and warm olives. Happy hour is daily and runs twice — in the afternoon and later at night.

Cafe Aion

Paella at Cafe Aion
Cafe Aion/Facebook

Boulder’s Cafe Aion has been serving the hill since 2010 with weekly specials like Paella Wednesday from an airy, exposed brick enclave. Based on the flavors of Spain and Morocco, there’s Serrano ham, Manchego cheese, and olive, pepper, and anchovy skewers, accompanied by glasses of sangria made in house.

Paella at Cafe Aion
Cafe Aion/Facebook

Acreage by Stem Ciders

A leg of jamón imported from Spain
Jimena Peck/Eater

Slightly out of the way but worth the detour, this Lafayette cider house pays homage to Basque Country cideries with tins of conserved seafood, ham slices, and lamb Merguez among the shareable food offerings.

A leg of jamón imported from Spain
Jimena Peck/Eater

Barcelona Wine Bar RiNo

Tapas at Barcelona Wine Bar
Barcelona/Facebook

Barcelona Wine Bar has more than 30 tapas on the menu, ranging from traditional treats like pulpo Gallego (Galician-style octopus) and jamon and Manchego croquetas to broccolini and duck breast. It also offers more than 40 Spanish and South American wines by the glass.

Tapas at Barcelona Wine Bar
Barcelona/Facebook

El Five

Ash Roasted Carrots at El Five
A Notte Denver/Facebook

Justin Cucci’s fifth restaurant was an instant Denver staple — the fifth-floor, ultra-hip tapas bar offers sweeping views of the Denver skyline on one side and panoramic mountain views on the other. Inspired by Spain’s Strait of Gibraltar, it has a Moorish vibe with vintage carpets and enlarged pulp comics from the region. Seafood arancini, paella, and Morrocan lamb sausage go well a porrón of vermouth and tonic.

Ash Roasted Carrots at El Five
A Notte Denver/Facebook

SuperMegaBien

South American Dim Sum at Super Mega Bien
Super Mega Bien/Facebook

James Beard-nominated chef Dana Rodriguez is behind Super Mega Bien, located in RiNo’s chic new hotel, the Ramble. The concept is “pan-Latin” dim sum, drawing on both Rodriguez’ heritage and travels. Three roaming carts offers dim sum-style eats with Latin flair, like croquetas, ceviche, and sausage.

South American Dim Sum at Super Mega Bien
Super Mega Bien/Facebook

Ultreia

Truchas Curadas at Ultreia
Ultreia/Facebook

James Beard Award-winning chef Jennifer Jasinski is behind this pintxos bar, inspired by the foods of the Iberian peninsula, including Spain and Portugal. Located in Union Station, it brings to mind the tapas bars of Spain with its colorful tiles and wrought iron. Menu items include staples like pan con tomate, patatas bravas, and of course, gin tonics.

Truchas Curadas at Ultreia
Ultreia/Facebook

The 9th Door Capitol Hill

Charcuterie Board at 9th Door Capitol Hill
9th Door

Denver’s original tapas bar, 9th Door Capitol Hill draws its inspiration from the many cultures that influence Spanish cuisine. Sample several bite-sized plates like gambas al ajillo (garlic shrimp), tortilla Española (potato omelette) or albóndigas (meatballs) washed down with a glass of Spanish wine.

Charcuterie Board at 9th Door Capitol Hill
9th Door

LEÑA

Octopus at LEÑA
LEÑA/Facebook

South Broadway’s LeÑa is really pan-Latin American in nature, but the small plates theme lends itself to the Spanish style of eating — a little of this, a little of that. Look for dishes like camarones y chorizo and short ribs, plus an extensive wine list featuring wines from South America, California, and Europe.