Tip Top Tapas

dining_TortillaFlatsTortilla Flats has been preparing gourmet Mexican cuisine for more than 30 years. The unique dinner menu at this small restaurant in the heart of Soquel Village is augmented by Tapas selections on Mondays and Tuesdays, fusing Spanish and Mexican flavors in small plates.

I was surprised by the size of the Original Margarita. It was served in a husky, multicolored, translucent glass, and flavored with orange liqueur and freshly-squeezed lime juice.

The dishes were served in succession beginning with a pair of hot house-made corn tortillas. Albóndigas ($6), or meatballs, are popular Spanish Tapas fare. Seven dense balls of velvety ground beef and veal were topped with crumbled queso fresco and a salty and spicy dark sauce seasoned with paprika.

Viera con Azafan ($10) featured four jumbo Cape Cod Scallops. The tender white medallions were bathed in a light saffron-lobster cream sauce and sprinkled with bits of strongly-flavored red bell peppers.

Coca ($6.50), a Catalonian specialty, is Spain’s answer to pizza. The Tortilla Flats version employs a griddle-browned flatbread slightly thicker than a six-inch flour tortilla, but just as pliable. It was spread with tomato sauce and Mexican chorizo, then topped with mushrooms, mozzarella and pecorino cheeses and sliced black olives.

The daily happy hour is called 3 at $5 from 3 to 5 p.m. Choose from a Coca, nachos with mole sauce and coconut prawns for $5 each. Owner Cheryl Marquez also hosts special recipe events, including a celebration with a dozen mole sauces to choose from, the unique cuisine of Yucatan, cacti and ancient tamales. Visit the website to sign up for announcements of upcoming events.

Tortilla Flats, 4616 Soquel Dr., Soquel Village, 476-1754. Full bar. Open daily for lunch and dinner.  Visit tortillaflatsdining.com

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