In Barbados, Tapas is Tops for South Coast Dining

In Barbados, Tapas is Tops for South Coast Dining

If the Three Tenors had collaborated on a restaurant instead of  “Nessun Dorma,”  they might have founded the popular new Tapas in Barbados.

Instead, three Italians well-known in the Barbados restaurant scene collaborated to make beautiful food together.

Tapas restaurant Barbados

Barbados' Tapas serves tapas, of course, as well as full meals.

Located on the new boardwalk on the south coast, Tapas occupies the two-level space Aqua once had. It’s one of the most stunning sea-front locations on the island.

Generously portioned tapas run about $14Bds apiece ($7US).

Generously portioned tapas run about $14Bds apiece ($7US). I've had everything listed here and many other tapas … there's always a party in my mouth at Tapas restaurant.

Aqua offered diners an elegant, quite posh space … that remains so for Tapas as well.  But Tapas isn’t really pricey. Four of us will order every tapas plate that strikes our fancy (and then hoard our favorites when the waiter brings them) and still have spent less than $100US for the table. Paired with a good bottle of white wine, dinner is a true Barbados bargain. (And believe me, paradise doesn’t come cheap.)

Tapas Owners

The trio of Italians behind Tapas is comprised of Alfredo Giovine, from the wonderful Mama Mia; Franco Parisi, formerly executive chef at Lone Star; and, from Dolce Gelato, Franco Diamanti, who makes the best gelato in the Caribbean – at least that’s what my finely tuned sweet tooth tells me.

I caught up with Alfredo one night and asked why, without any advertising, Tapas has been doing so well since its mid-August opening.  As Norah Jones music mixed with the soft music of the waves in the background, Alfredo told me he thinks that Barbadians and tourists alike were hungry for something new and affordable and that word of mouth keeps the place full ‘most every night.

I’m pretty sure Franco and Franco and Alfredo were all born with the restaurant gene. The food is effortlessly good, rare for a restaurant that just opened. The place also feels good; if you’re a local it’s a place “where everyone knows your name” and if you’re a guest to our island, you’re quickly made to feel at home.

In his heavy Italian accent, Alfredo told me, “The restaurant is my home. I feel like people come to my home. At 17, I work receiving tourists at the port (in his home town in southern Italy). I end up taking everyone home for a meal with my mother and father.”

The Food

If you’re at Tapas for tapas, you will start your evening eating tapas and finish eating tapas, not stopping until you’re full.

But you can also order off the full dinner menu for a more traditional dining experience. Starters run from a light and satisfying Beef Carpaccio on rocket salad ($11.50US) to the adventuresome Pan-Fried Goat Cheese in a Panko Crust (with pumpkin, delish!) ($11US) to a hearty Parmigiana (layers of baked eggplant, tomato, and Parmesan cheese) ($9.50US).

I’ve not had the New Zealand Rack of Lamp (with warm pepper and olive salad and spicy potato wedges) but friends who have rave about it ($28US). I have had the Fish of the Day – local fish such as king fish, flying fish, snapper, mahi mahi (which we call dolphin here) – pulled out of the sea just a couple of hours before being blackened or grilled, as you wish, and paired with mango salsa. Now is that a tropical-paradise meal to remember?

I don’t know about you, but it’s enough to make me break out in song.

Tapas, along Barbados' new boardwalk on the south coast.

Tapas, along Barbados' new boardwalk on the south coast.

Tapas: Hastings Main Road, Highway 7. Telephone: 246-228-0704.  Call well ahead to reserve a seaside table. Otherwise, walk-ins are more than welcome. All major credit cards accepted.

31 Responses to “In Barbados, Tapas is Tops for South Coast Dining”

  1. Stephen says:

    I hope you’re getting your 10% or at least free food for a year.

    I find Quayside Grill just as good and the staff are always friendly with the food afordable and they don’t pay me 10% but if you buy ten meals (over any time period) you do get one free, so that’s like 10%!

  2. Kyle says:

    Beautiful review, I have never been but after a review like this i must. Barbados definitely needed something new and affordable. The menu looks great

  3. Kyle says:

    I agree, Just Grillin at Quayside is great. I ate there many times and the quality is consistent. Another place is Pat’s Place in Oistins, i was hooked after the first time i had grilled blue marlin from there.

  4. Alfredo says:

    Ciao Stephen! no 10%!!! and no free meal!!! Jane is a good friend, and she was impressed with the big success that Tapas suddenly had.
    i’ll agree with you, Just Grilling is a great place, honestly I’ve been there every time I deserved a steak!!! now fortunately I have steak on the menu’!!! Tapas anyhow, is a little bit different: it is in front of the boardwalk, has a great sea-view (trust me, even the bajans like to see the sea!!!), a proper table (nothing to say about Just Grilling but… are you going to Just Grilling to celebrate your first anniversary?!?!?!? eehehehehhe), and the people say Tapas has very good food for a reasonable price.
    that’s all….. then come and try….and ask for alfredo!!!

  5. A B C Car Hire Barbados………dined at the new restaurant Tapas, Hastings yesterday evening and a wonderful night was had by all. Set right next to the South Coast boardwalk overlooking the Caribbean sea, the ambience was peaceful and serene, the food was lovely and well presented, and as previously mentioned affordable. My 6 year old niece was well catered for, considering she is a big fan of Aldredo’s and Mama Mia’s, she equally enjoyed Alfredo’s new restaurant.

    The concept of having a light meal of Tapas or ordering something more substantial of the varied menu gives the restaurant a diverse attraction for both Barbadians and tourists, it is this which makes Tapas unique on the island. I dine out quite a bit and have to say I always find it encouraging when I look around at my fellow diners and there is a mix of cultures to be had. 10 years ago, I was struck by the lack of the aforementioned.

    Alfredo and his team have achieved a restaurant which clearly has the potential to continue the success it has already experienced in the short 2 months it has been open. I can imagine Tapas being one of the IN places to go once the Winter season kicks in (fingers crossed we get a Winter season listening to the head of Central Bank this morning on BBC Caribbean news!). Anyhow, I digress.

    With the closure of many restaurants all over the island, including one of my favourites ‘The Restaurant at Southsea’ I am very excited about Tapas because there has been a gap on the South Coast for another good, well run restaurant. Alfredo of course brings a balanced mix of charm, warmth, professionalism and knowledge of his product to each and every diner making you want to repeat the Tapas experience.

    The boardwalk provides a lovely after dinner walk with some seats overlooking the sea. My family and I were treated to some night fishermen on the boardwalk during our walk.

    Whilst it is something I normally refrain from doing, I have no hesitation in recommending Aldredo and the Tapas experience!!!

  6. Alfredo please forgive my typo in the above!

  7. Franco Parisi says:

    With all respect to Just Grilling the only similarity between the two restaurant is only the price.

  8. Ha, Stephen, nice to hear from you! No, no free food or discounts for this girl … I just tell it like I see it.

    Just Grillin’ at Quayside (for those of you who don’t know, it’s pronounced KEYside) is wonderful, too, but entirely different in ambiance and type of food. Just Grillin’ is ultra-casual, serves heaps of fantastic grilled chicken, fish, rice, and vegetables, and you eat at picnic-type tables. No view, no table service. Good food, though, and I appreciate your mentioning it.

  9. Grilled blue marlin? Oooh you’re making me hungry! I don’t know Pat’s in Oistins but I’ll definitely go now, Kyle. Thanks for the recommendation.

  10. Alfredo, hello! I’m surprised and delighted you wrote. Thanks. I believe your hard work, good food, and beautiful location will lead Tapas to much success.

    I think it’s going to be a splendid winter season for all, if my bookings for accommodations here at St Lawrence Beach Condominiums are any indication. Every vacation rental I represent is booked nearly every night from now through the end of March 2010! It’s so wonderful to see the Gap come alive again.

    Our success comes from our island visitors, so a big toast to all of our guests in Barbados. Eat, drink, and enjoy our beautiful sugar-white beaches and aqua blue sea!

  11. Beautifully said, Miss Moneypenny. Thank you for contributing.

    P.S. Your name, Miss Moneypenny, is one of the best names ever … It makes me think of a female superhero!

  12. Stephen says:

    Doas anyone know if there is an email address for Tapas.
    Thanks, Stephen.

  13. Melissa says:

    I love Tapas, I went for a business meeting one night over dinner, and have been back plenty nights every week with friends and we always take new ones, i’m sure that the staff must be tired of us by now, but hey! We all love the place, it’s the only spot in Barbados that we have ever felt the need to frequent like this, the food and staff are both incredible, and like everyone mentioned, it’s great food at excellent prices. The view is amazing, the ambience is great, there really is nothing not to like about the place, it’s kind of a secret still to many locals and I love it that way, it’s good going out and seeing new faces for a change. Tapas really is a well kept little secret.

  14. Thanks for writing, Melissa. I think Tapas is less of a secret every day, especially with fans like you and me. Your post makes me hungry …. !

  15. Stephen, hi. I don’t have an e-mail address for the restaurant itself, but here is Alfredo’s, one of the owners … I picked it up from a post on this blog that he responded to:

  16. Stephen says:

    Thanks Jane, I will try it.
    Cheers Stephen.

  17. Stephen says:

    Job Done!

  18. Stephen, good morning. Did you like Tapas? Your very short note tells me you were perhaps not impressed ….. am I reading that wrong? xx Jane

  19. Stephen says:

    Hello Jane, I have contacted Alfredo and booked a table in early January as a birthday treat. Thanks for your help.

  20. shaun collinge says:

    Hello Jane hope your ok..? Ive had a look at your site and am impressed… As a frequent visitor to Barbados its nice to see someone writing about things people want to read about keep it up. I read with interest your remarks regarding Tapas and I have to agree with you its simply fanatastic an affordable night out with a touch of class. Its not pretentious (unlike some venues on the west coast) but you still feel like its special…!!!! I do have a contact email for the restaurant its Regards Shaun (aka Shepherds Pie Man as im known in there ha ha) York – England

  21. alfredo says:

    Ciao Shaun!!!!
    i’m waiting for you!!!! franco is not preparing any Sheperd pie unless you are here!!!! and i’m trying to get one for me!!!!
    please come back and spend a good word for me!

  22. Stephen says:

    Interesting to see two Stephen’s on these comments; I hope someone isn’t impersonating me or maybe it’s just that two Stephen’s do in fact exist, in this world, let alone this island. Oh and I know another one, that’s at least three of us then. It wasn’t me that went there for a birthday meal. I do like the boardwalk, though. It’s a nice walk. Just needs a Coca Cola machine at either end with perhaps a water option for those who don’t need the sugar.

  23. What I’d like along the boardwalk is a little espresso-cappuccino bar. For instance: What about an espresso machine on the bar at Tapas’ entrance that’s open early morning? The restaurant itself wouldn’t be open and there’d be no seating … just the bar area would be open, for early-morning coffee and croissants. People would finish their morning walk along the boardwalk and stop in to get a cap and croissant, talk with other patrons, and enjoy the sunrise and early morning beauty. (They’d stock Cokes for you, Stephen!)

  24. Deidre Alexis says:

    I personally know franco from workin at lonestar and he suggested that i come and try out the restaurant and i did. i must say i was very inpressed. I ate off of the full menu and was surprised because with an appetizer, 2 main courses, a dessert and wine we only spent just under $300. I also was impressed because it was a friends b’day and along with the birthday plate franco and alfredo came singin happy bday in italian that was SOOOOOOOOO COOOl!!! and the atmosphere is friendly and warm like you know these ppl all your life… Anyhow guys you keep up the good work lookin foward 2 eating there again soon…probably off the tapas menu this time.

  25. Nicole Trent says:

    Can you please e-mail me your tapas bar menu and dinner menu.

  26. Nicole, I’m sorry … I don’t have the menus available. Does Tapas have a web site up? Google it and check. Or, if you’re on the island, just stop by and take a look-see. (On the Tapas menu, you have to try the spicy potato wedges — so, so good!)

  27. Guys, I am coming there for my birthday on Thursday with a posse. Looking forward to gobbling down those Thai fishcakes and the mussels. YUMMY! Make me feel loved!

  28. Christina says:

    Ciao Alfredo,

    I will be seeing you on saturday for a belated anniversay dinner with the Standfords and bancrofts,can’t wait i have heard so much.

  29. bobbie says:

    we decided to take a walk on the board walk,came upon this beautiful place,decided to dine there………..barefooted and all,thank you all so very much it was a pleasure to visit you………..the service was GREAT. KEEP UP THE BEAUTY OF THIS PLACE and i wish to visit u again…………thank you to our waiter i may have the name not quite right but i think it was dwayne,he was one of the best we ever met……..we were there on SUNDAY 27th SEP

  30. bobbie says:

    as one of yr visitors requested as well as i am can u please email me yr tapas menu

  31. Hi! Glad you like Tapas restaurant! Go to their site to learn more: Have fun droooling! 🙂 Jane

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