Bursting with exotic flavors, Motif’s Asian Salmon, nestled on the bed of goma-shabu spinach with a sauce of sesame seeds, mirin, sake and white miso, is truly a feast for the senses.
These small plates –originally slices of bread and meat–were used in Spanish taverns as covers to protect glasses of sherry from marauding fruit flies.
Today, tapas have evolved to an art form, and the Springs is a mecca for these delectable small bites. So pour a glass of sherry as we take you on a tapas tour of the city.
Cucuru Gallery Café
In a century-old house with a profusion of geraniums and twinkling lights, Cucuru exudes the warmth and passion of its owner, Guillermo Alvarado.
“We’re all about flavor and deliciousness,” Alvarado says as he describes his authentic Spanish tapas.
From the Gambas Aquate, a sliced avocado half filled with a Madrid salad, tossed in aoli sauce and served with grilled shrimp to the Tri Tip Steak slivers with roasted peppers and sundried tomatoes, served on toasted crostinis and topped with chimichurri sauce, each of his tapas represents a specialty of the Americas and the Mediterranean.
Their signature Cuban sandwich, moist slices of marinated pork roast, brushed with Mojo Sauce, oozing with Swiss cheese, and grilled to perfection, is nothing short of addictive.
But Cucuru offers so much more: an art gallery with paintings from both local and Cuban artists, tango lessons from a pro on Tuesday nights, and a patio where you can feast on Argentinean–style roasts and calabacitas straight from the grill while listening to live jazz and blues.
MacKenzie’s Chop House
Intimate and cozy, with dark wood and high-backed booths, MacKenzie’s, located in the historic Alamo Building, is best known for high quality steaks and seafood, classic cocktails, and fine wine.
But wait. There’s more.
Executive Chef Pete Moreno has created some traditional Spanish-style tapas, the kind you’d get in San Sebastián, and given them a twist.
Two standouts are the Seared Ahi Tuna with Smoked Eggplant Aoli and the Spanish Marcona Almonds with a sprig of rosemary and some Espelette powder.
And to drink with that?
Try one of their signature martinis. If you’re looking for a kick, The Bill, For Short, will wake up your taste buds. It’s made with vodka, basil, fresh strawberries, lime and jalapeño simple syrup.
Every Tuesday is “Tapas Tuesday.” Order two tapas and you’ll get one free. Pair them with one of MacKenzie’s happy hour cocktails while lounging on the patio, and you’ll be in tapas heaven.
Motif Jazz Bistro
Hot jazz and multi-colored strobes lure you to Motif, a sophisticated jazz club hidden deep in the heart of Old Colorado City.
With its sleek interior and top rate bands, Motif offers a New York City vibe with a warm and welcoming ambience that’s purely Colorado.
And the small plates, created by classically trained chef/owner, Andrew T. Darrigan, Jr., have the artistry of individually wrapped gifts—each one a treasure.
“I like to travel the world with my small plates,” Darrigan says.
Like the Asian-inspired Grilled Sea Scallops with a wasabi-edamame puree, topped with a red yuzu kosho vinaigrette.
Their number one selling Kobe Brioche Sliders with whipped Port-Salut and prosciutto bacon are served with a foie jus that’s so decadent Darrigan likens it to “wrapping your tongue like a present you put under the tree.”
Through the glass garage doors, the music flows into the backyard patio that’s filled with wicker chairs and couches perfect for relaxing with one of Motif’s signature martinis.
Rico’s Café and Wine Bar
Rico’s is as warm and comfortable as a hug.
From early morning coffee and croissants to tapas and jazz in the evenings, Rico’s welcomes guests and entices them to linger.
Café Chef Garrison’s tapas, served after four p.m., have an international flair, from the Mediterranean Plate, with marinated feta and cannellini hummus, to the Beef and Onion Kebabs.
The ever popular Antipasti Platter is perfect for sharing with hunks of Barbari bread and your choice of one of their signature spreads, including Olive Tapenade, Artichoke Mousse, and Smoked Salmon dip.
The beauty of Rico’s is that you can take a beverage, like one of their fresh organic juices or a glass of wine, and wander from Poor Richard’s bookstore and restaurant to Little Richard’s toy store without leaving the building.
Chief Operating Officer Laszlo Palos delights in sharing that, “we’re the only toy store in the United States with a liquor license.”
And on warm summer nights, nothing’s more relaxing than Rico’s back patio with its lush vines, white lights, Mediterranean mural, and bubbling rock fountain.
With its cozy brick walls and antique ceiling fans, TAPAteria is the place to go for Old World and Colorado tapas and wines.
Each recipe was hand-picked or created by owners, Dave and Laura Brackett–many from their travels to Spain–to offer guests an authentic Barcelona and Catalan tapas experience.
Always 100% gluten-free, their tapas are also 50% vegetarian, 25% vegan and 100% delicious. Regardless of your dietary preferences, you’ll love the fresh taste of the Wild Salmon Tartare, the melt-in-your-mouth goodness of the Bison Carpaccio, and the smoky, sweet and sour flavor of the Chorizo and Figs.
“We have the largest Spanish deli in Colorado,” Brackett says, “with four types of imported Spanish ham, five types of chorizo, eight to ten imported Spanish cheeses, and more.”
Executive Chef Jason Gust raves about the Cabrales. “It’s the craziest, strongest blue cheese I’ve ever tasted.”
The grill is up and running on the patio. So slip outside on a warm night, order a glass of their blood orange Sangria, and enjoy some of Chef Jason’s hand-made lamb sausage under the stars.