When traveling to Barcelona, Bilbao, and elsewhere in Spain, the only way to eat is at tapas bars where you point to the octopus, sardines, anchovies, mussels, squid, patatas bravas, cured meats, and other tasty treats that pass by to create your own meal. The server counts your toothpicks at the end of the meal to tally up your bill. It's a communal experience where you crane to see what your neighbor to the left just ordered and then do the same. When seeking out tapas in the East Bay, the place that will most remind you of Spain and that delicious small-plate experience is Barlata. The instant Temescal hit serves much of its fare in "latas," or cans, reminiscent of old-timey fish tins. The extensive menu is heavy with seafood, chorizo, and fish with ox tail, pigs feet, and rabbit thrown in for good authentic measure. The three cold gazpachos — each one dramatically different from the other — is a party in your mouth. The atmosphere at Barlata is lively yet charming and warm, and the food, from small plates to later plates, is fabulously good. What's more Spanish that that?
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