One of my favorite experiences when traveling in Spain was enjoying tapas—small bites shared at family tables. You don't have to go to Spain to enjoy those great flavors. In Scottsdale, stop by Prado at Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia for a taste of Spain. Here's how to create your own Prado tapas journey in Arizona.
What are Tapas?
Dinner is traditionally served late in Spain, perhaps close to midnight, so it became a tradition to go from bar to bar, eating small bites at each place after work to socialize and fill in the appetite before dinner and after the lunch meal that is served sometime between 1 and 4 pm.
The word “tapas” comes from the Spanish word tapar for “to cover”. As guests would experience the dishes, the restaurants would offer a sampling of dishes with a pot cover or tapa.
Today, throughout Spain, as you go to a bar and order a drink, you might get a tapa free with a drink in some places. In Northern Spain, tapas are called pinchos because they are served on a pick to keep them together—and help keep track of how many bites each customer eats. In other places, tapas are served on slices of bread. Most of all, tapas are a way for people to come together to interact and celebrate a sense of community as they enjoy great food.
Begin Your Prado Tapas Journey with Gin Tonic at MBar
You can have a similar experience in Scottsdale by taking a journey through Prado. I recently did this by starting with drinks at MBar. The cozy, comfortable bar might serve as the hotel's bar, but it's also a neighborhood hangout. There's outdoor seating around the fire pits for cooler months, Happy Hour Sunday through Thursday and live music Sunday through Thursday evenings as well as Sunday mornings.
MBar has outstanding wines, beers and cocktails. I also discovered some great cocktail facts. In Spain, you would never ask for a “gin and tonic” but a “gin tonic”. I discovered that the tonic water can make all the difference and for this non-gin lover, the Fever-Tree Tonic Water had me enjoying a few of MBar's signature gin tonic cocktails.
While you're sampling the drinks—if you prefer a good wine instead of a cocktail, I'd suggest one of the Spanish wines because MBar has a nice variety that's hard to find in Arizona—now is your chance start your food journey. Ask for the tapas menu and begin by going to the bottom of the menu first and look at the “Build a Board” section.
Build a Board—Start your Prado Tapas Journey
Now that you have drink in hand, you're ready to begin the food journey at Prado. I recommend starting with the charcuterie board. This is not your average meat and cheese board. You're in for a real treat here. Remember, you're on a journey and you have more food to come, so order a couple of items to share.
The Lomo, filet mignon carpaccio, is divine. I also really enjoyed the sopressata, or dry cured salami for the meat portions.
As for cheese, you really must try the manchego. This is a beautiful, aged sheep's milk cheese that is as close to heave as you can get. I'm not a blue cheese fan, but my husband really enjoyed the Valdeon, a goat and cow's milk blue.
Each board is also served with marcona almonds, olives, grapes, and preserves.
Next Stop on the Prado Tapas Journey: Tapas at the Display Kitchen
After finishing your drinks at MBar, move on to a spot at the tapas bar in Prado. The open fire kitchen at Prado is such a welcoming atmosphere and they feel like distinctly different spaces. There is such a fun vibe sitting in the bar and then here in front of the wood-fired oven at Prado you often have a chance to interact with Executive Chef Marcos Seville or his staff.
The interaction with the chefs is fun and you can pick and choose what you want to try from the tapas menu. One of my unexpected pleasures was the berenjena, or herbed eggplant.
Be sure to try the bread at Prado. It's homemade and really takes the tapas experience over the top.
Other must-try tapas bites include my favorite, the filet pinchos with an amazing romesco verde and my husband's favorite, the lollipop lamb chop with a mint pesto. The chorizo sausage and albondigas are also incredibly tasty.
But, your journey is not complete. To get the full effect, you have to move on to dinner at Prado.
Completing Your Journey Through Prado with Dinner
Your journey has been filled with flavorful food, but it's not over yet. You have to sample the Prado dinner menu. You will notice the atmosphere changes again when you move to the dining room. If weather permits, I recommend dining on the patio with amazing views of Camelback Mountain.
Start your exploration of the dinner menu with the kale salad. This is no ordinary kale salad. It has toasted almonds, black grapes, that lovely manchego cheese, broccolini, avocado, and a green goddess dressing.
The other small plate that you must try is the crab timbale. I dream about this dish. Crab with avocado, micro salad and a gazpacho vinaigrette is simply what I crave.
I love the restaurant's entrées—rioja braised short rib, paella and Casablanca lamb tangine are my personal favorites—but after a Prado tapas journey like this, these small bites are ideal. It's a way to experience a bit of Spain in Arizona.
Of course, you can also book a room at Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia if you want to extend your visit and try Prado for breakfast. Be sure to click here for all the great articles about Omni, one of our favorite Scottsdale resorts.
Note: This is a sponsored post but I only work with brands I believe in and will gladly pass on to my readers. I recommend Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia for my readers and enjoy stays there myself.