There are many options for tapas in Bangkok. La Tasca (Facebook page) advertises itself as a “Spanish Tapas Restaurant” but it is very different from the other tapas restaurants in the city. It is also so much more. You’ll notice this difference immediately once you see the menu. There’s no “Spanish Omelet”, an item that seems mandatory at most tapas restaurant menus.
Instead you find dishes you may have never heard of. Dishes like “Special Pork in Canary Island Adobo“, “Spanish Fusion Masala with La Vera Smoked Paprika“, and “Chickpeas with Spareribs and Pork Belly“. In addition to these offerings the chalkboards posted throughout the restaurant offer a bevy of tantalizing specials as well.
But the types of dishes are not the only difference between La Tasca and other tapas restaurants. You’ll quickly realize how different they are when your dishes arrive to the table…
Super sized “tapas”!
La Tasca calls itself a tapas restaurant. Don’t be fooled from previous experiences at other tapas restaurants and start thinking you are going to receive “tiny” sample sized platters of food. Each dish that we ordered was suitable for sharing between 2-3 people (4 if you get a few dishes).
My gal and I got 4 dishes and completely stuffed ourselves and still had food leftover for 2 lunch boxes the next day. The portion sizes are very generous, and based on the prices (which are net with no service charge), a fantastic value!
But let me show you what we ordered…
Garlic Prawns that will WOW you!
We first received our order of Garlic Prawns (210 baht) and were blown away by this still sizzling offering brought to our table. First surprised by the portion size, and secondly the amazing mix of flavors of this dish. These were good sized prawns cooked perfectly sweet and crunchy, with loads of tender garlic confit chunks, and intense red chilies. It was accompanied with slices of thick crusty bread which we purposed with the task of sopping up the fragrant garlicky/spicy butter.
Some more amazing seafood…
When we first arrived we noticed one dining couple enjoying some delicious clams. We wanted the same but were told that they didn’t have enough to make a dish but that they could make a seafood pot instead. I learned then that La Tasca doesn’t have a freezer (or want one), that all the ingredients are bought that day–when it’s out that’s it, and that if the chef makes a recommendation you simply can’t go wrong accepting it.
This Seafood Pot (295 baht) consisted of calamari, prawns, baby octopus, and blue lipped mussels with white wine and spices. It was amazing and in all honesty the absolute best calamari experience I’ve had to date. It’s as rich and delicious as it looks in this picture.
Something from the islands…
Of course I just HAD to order the Special Pork in Canary Island Adobo (295 baht). The pork is so tender it just pulls apart with a fork and butter knife. The meat is very savory and accompanied with large cuts of fresh crisp veggies (onion, red, and green bell peppers). It’s a bit hard for me to describe the seasoning–it’s unlike anything else I’ve had. It’s very herbal, fresh, and not at all greasy. This is a rather large dish (and I can vouch that it makes excellent leftovers, too).
From the specials board…
Finally we had something from the daily specials board. This Beef in Oxtail Sauce (240 baht) was served with roasted potatoes. The beef patties were incredibly tender and large. This dish is meant to be shared. Mix the beef, roasted potatoes, and oxtail sauce together and you’ll feel like you’ve found a new home.
Of course, Sangria!
La Tasca only serves authentic Sangria. For two, this 1 Liter Sangria (490 baht) was perfect for us to enjoy with our meal. But for larger tables there’s a 2 liter (790 baht) and 5 liter (1,790 baht) option as well. They load it up with apples, oranges, and a cinnamon stick. It’s a delicious way to drink your fruit!
A chat with the La Tasca owner…
I had the opportunity to speak with the La Tasca owner and chef, Daniel Betancor. Originally from the Canary Islands of Spain, Daniel was co-owner and operator of two large restaurants (seats for 240), Trattoria Famara and El Modisquito. After 25 years in the restaurant business he sold his share of the companies and decided to hang his hat in Thailand.
After a year off in total retirement, he began to miss cooking for others. He decided to open a new restaurant, but this time on a smaller scale so that he could focus on the food and service, without the stress that comes with running much larger operations. In fact, the location was chosen because he felt it would be a “sleepier” place to operate from.
La Tasca is a family…
In July, 2014 La Tasca opened it’s doors and quickly gained a family of loyal customers. I say “family” because if you look at their old unofficial Facebook page (you’d have to send a friend request to be able to see their posts) you’ll find a streaming log of photos and praises of customers who feel at home at La Tasca and dine there “family style” with their friends. Their warm hospitality and traditional home cooking will impress you like that. It’s a place that if you go there it won’t take long for you to feel like family, too.
La Tasca’s motto is simple: “Passion for food, passion for service“. Chef Daniel explained to me that he strives to make traditional Spanish dishes (he sometimes adds a fusion flare to) using only the freshest ingredients found daily, with homemade sauces, and nothing frozen ever. Chef Daniel wants diners to identify La Tasca with freshness. He is happy to tailor the food to customers requirements (vegetarians, vegans, etc.), but also wants customers to rest assured that quality and consistency in dishes can be expected.
Quality and consistency is key.
He learned to be consistent with his approach to cooking from his mentor, a very famous Spanish chef. From his experience he learned the importance of exact measurements in recipes. He doesn’t use a “pinch” of this, or a “heaping” spoon of anything. It’s all grams and milliliters. This attention to quality and consistency is why La Tasca has had the opportunity to cater for the events of the Spanish Embassy and other embassies in Bangkok and why he has such a loyal following of customers.
OK. I’m hungry, how do I get there?
La Tasca is located a short walking distance from the Udom Suk BTS station (E12) on Soi Sukhumvit Soi 101/1. You’ll find it tucked behind a small shopping complex with several other restaurants around a grassy courtyard.
They are open from 6:00 to midnight, and closed on Tuesdays. It would be wise if you are a large group to make reservations (especially on Friday and Saturdays). If you’re looking for amazing and affordable tapas and Sangria in an unpretentious environment I highly recommend you visit La Tasca.