There is nothing that brings people together like a shared meal.
Como Taperia, located in the hip Mount Pleasant neighbourhood, does just that - bringing people together over delicious Spanish tapas perfect for sharing. Award-winning bartender Shaun Layton and Meat & Bread Co-Founder Frankie Harrington went on a trip to Spain, caught a few soccer games, and discovered a gap in the Vancouver restaurant market through their travels - nobody does Spanish tapas like they really do it in Spain. Cue more trips to Spain for inspiration, where their other partner Justin Witcher (Executive Chef) and interior designer Craig Stanghetta also joined them to understand the energy, style, vibe and taste of the food in the local tapas restaurants, so they could bring the energy of Barcelona and Madrid and the authentic Spanish experience back to Vancouver.
The vibe is cozy, funky, vibrant with pops of colour and yet still grounded with an earthy colour palette. Shaun shares that the dining rooms are usually small in Spain, so locals create a more efficient space with lots of shelving; the shelves are usually well-stocked with tasteful, Spanish branded products like tinned fish. These tinned fish are sold to customers as well and double as a decorative element - two birds with one stone! Como Taperia has mirrored this setup, with colourful products stock piled in shelving atop of the bar and tables.
The benches are painted a solid blue and the shelving above a handsome green. The light fixtures provide both a practical use and a statement decorative element. The modern yet welcoming interiors will make you smile - definitely a good sign to experience before you even get to the food.
The team’s thorough research of the authentic Spanish culinary experience has guests thanking them often for bringing them a taste of home. Replicating every detail, customers can choose their tapas from a tapas case from behind the bar, and the bartender will serve their drink along with their tapas selections; this is how tapas are usually served in Spain. If the customer fancies a drink with a feeling of home, Como Taperia has exclusive rights to Spanish Vermouth in Canada and also serves Sherry on tap.
While you can snack on the delicious tapas while sitting at the bar with a tasty cocktail for the real deal, we recommend trying some share plates from their menu as well. Some of the must-try items would be their Pork Belly and White Bean Stew; while the pork belly skin is unbelievably crispy, a think slice of fat connects the crispy skin to the juicy meat, which is so soft and tender it can be cut gently with a fork. The white bean stew pairs well with the juices from the pork belly, adding texture to the flavourful dish.
The Clams in Vermouth are sautéed with olive oil and finished with vermouth, vegetable stock and parsley; cooked simply to retain all the fresh flavours. It’s a dish where everyone digs in - forget the forks, pick up the clams to enjoy all the delicious juices and the vermouth!
Another notable dish would be the Galician Octopus served with omesco sauce (made with roasted red peppers, bread, hazelnut, almonds and tomatoes), charred lemon and salsa verde, a refreshing dish perfect for those who love the slightly chewy texture.
Of course drinks are a must-have accompaniment to Spanish tapas, and the team has crafted a few tasty drinks to go with their menu. We loved the refreshing Hugo, made with Botanist, espelette pepper, cucumber, and fever tree light tonic. Just the sight of the large ice cubes and pouring the fizzing tonic into the drink makes you relax.
Another option would be the Chicharito for those who favour tequila; it’s made with tequila, mezcal, fresh lime, agave, pimenton and a salted rim.
From the meticulously designed interiors to deliver an authentic Spanish tapas environment, to the flavourful tapas that encourage you to share the delectable eats, Como Taperia has all the ingredients of a great weekend gathering. Now all you need is to bring your group of friends!
201 East 7th Avenue, Vancouver
Photos by Florence Leung