Valentine’s Day: No Reservations? ¡No Problema!

1203019008Just in case you haven’t heard, today is Valentine’s Day. But seriously, if you still haven’t made dinner reservations anywhere, here’s a suggestion: Go out for tapas. Many of the Boston area’s Spanish restaurants do not require reservations, and some don’t take them at all.

If you’re willing to drink a glass of fine Iberian tinto while you wait for your table, trying several small plates in a lively atmosphere is a surefire way to genuinely enjoy a night out with your special someone. And since in Spain, it’s most common to center your meal around the bottle of wine, my choice is Taberna de Haro in Brookline, which has perhaps the most extensive list of Spanish wines around.

If you don’t know much about Spanish wines, don’t be intimidated by the leather-bound encyclopedia that you’re handed at the door; the hostess will ask you for your budget and tastes and then pick accordingly. In our case, the Bierzo she recommended, the 2005 Pétalos, perfectly matched our desires for an oaky but not heavy red, for less than $50.

It went well with the variety of Taberna de Haro’s tapas, from the plump gambas al ajillo (shrimp in garlic oil, $13) to the creamy croquetas de jamón (ham croquettes, $8). For dessert, we shared the rich flan, and accompanied it with dry Amontillado and a red Monastrell dulce wine — rather a sultry way to end the meal after all.

But if you’re still determined to get a reservation somewhere anywhere, we’ve gone on to the reservation website Open Table to see who still had seatings available tonight between 6 p.m. and 10 p.m.

As of noon today, tables were still available at these establishments, among others: 33, Anthony’s Pier 4, Avila, Beacon Hill Bistro, blu, Bouchee, Brasserie Jo, La Voile, Mare, Om, the Palm, Pho Republique, Rocca, Sibling Rivalry, Sonsie, Tantric, Umbria, and UpStairs on the Square. (Subtle reminder: You can make reservations through our listings).

Act fast, good luck, and felíz Valentine’s Day!