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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.

1. Dagabi Cucina

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3970 Broadway #101
Boulder, CO 80304
(303) 786-9004
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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

2. Izakaya Amu

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1221 Spruce St
Boulder, CO 80302
(303) 440-0807
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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

3. Corrida

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1023 Walnut St #400
Boulder, CO 80302
(303) 444-1333
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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

4. The Med

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1002 Walnut St
Boulder, CO 80302
(303) 444-5335
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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.

5. Cafe Aion

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1235 Pennsylvania Ave
Boulder, CO 80302
(303) 993-8131
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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

6. Acreage by Stem Ciders

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1380 Horizon Ave
Lafayette, CO 80026
(303) 227-3243
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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

7. Barcelona Wine Bar RiNo

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2900 Larimer St
Denver, CO 80205
(303) 816-3300
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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

8. El Five

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2930 Umatilla Fifth Floor
Denver, CO 80211
(303) 524-9193
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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

9. SuperMegaBien

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1260 25th St
Denver, CO 80205
(720) 269-4695
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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

10. Ultreia

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1701 Wynkoop St #125
Denver, CO 80202
(303) 534-1970
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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

11. The 9th Door Capitol Hill

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925 Lincoln St
Denver, CO 80203
(303) 832-7027
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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

12. LEÑA

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24 Broadway #104
Denver, CO 80203
(720) 550-7267
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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

13. The Empress Seafood Restaurant

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2901, 2825 W Alameda Ave
Denver, CO 80219
(303) 922-2822
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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

14. AMBLI Denver

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600 S Holly St
Denver, CO 80246
(303) 355-9463
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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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1. Dagabi Cucina

3970 Broadway #101, Boulder, CO 80304
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.

3970 Broadway #101
Boulder, CO 80304

2. Izakaya Amu

1221 Spruce St, Boulder, CO 80302
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.

1221 Spruce St
Boulder, CO 80302

3. Corrida

1023 Walnut St #400, Boulder, CO 80302
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.

1023 Walnut St #400
Boulder, CO 80302

4. The Med

1002 Walnut St, Boulder, CO 80302

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.

1002 Walnut St
Boulder, CO 80302

5. Cafe Aion

1235 Pennsylvania Ave, Boulder, CO 80302
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.

1235 Pennsylvania Ave
Boulder, CO 80302

6. Acreage by Stem Ciders

1380 Horizon Ave, Lafayette, CO 80026
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.

1380 Horizon Ave
Lafayette, CO 80026

7. Barcelona Wine Bar RiNo

2900 Larimer St, Denver, CO 80205
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.

2900 Larimer St
Denver, CO 80205

8. El Five

2930 Umatilla Fifth Floor, Denver, CO 80211
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.

2930 Umatilla Fifth Floor
Denver, CO 80211

9. SuperMegaBien

1260 25th St, Denver, CO 80205
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.

1260 25th St
Denver, CO 80205

10. Ultreia

1701 Wynkoop St #125, Denver, CO 80202
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.

1701 Wynkoop St #125
Denver, CO 80202

11. The 9th Door Capitol Hill

925 Lincoln St, Denver, CO 80203
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.

925 Lincoln St
Denver, CO 80203

12. LEÑA

24 Broadway #104, Denver, CO 80203
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.

24 Broadway #104
Denver, CO 80203

13. The Empress Seafood Restaurant

2901, 2825 W Alameda Ave, Denver, CO 80219
Dumplings at The Empress
The Empress/Facebook

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.

2901, 2825 W Alameda Ave
Denver, CO 80219

14. AMBLI Denver

600 S Holly St, Denver, CO 80246
Croquettas at AMBLI
AMBLI/Facebook

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.

600 S Holly St
Denver, CO 80246

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