Best of Boston

1999 Best Tapas

Taberna de Haro and Tasca (Tie)

Even if the food at Taberna were lousy (and it most certainly isn’t), you’d be too relaxed to care. From the decor to the gracious service to the fruity sangria that arrives in a big ceramic pitcher, this little tapas place lowers your blood pressure, just as an authentic Spanish taberna would. Raise it again with the veal sausage, or try the spinach, sauteed with pine nuts and raisins, or hot dishes (like garlic shrimp) that arrive sizzling in clay pots. The dishes are designed for sharing, and it’s a good thing because the novel tastes are conversation starters. | Add candlelight playing off of whimsical wall frescoes and cozy tables spaced a healthy distance from one another and you’ve got Tasca, where that international language starts to spill from your lips (and we don’t mean Esperanto). Oh, and the food is fantastic—Spanish tapas like gambas al ajillo (sizzling shrimp in garlic), jamon Serrano (Spanish cured ham with extra virgin olive oil), and tortillas (traditional Spanish potato-and-onion omelets).

999 Beacon Street; 1612 Commonwealth Ave., Brookline; Boston, 617-277-8272;617-730-8002,