NO MONTH FEELS BETTER suited to the heavily oiled lightness of Spanish tapas than September, with its warm Indian summer days and darkening chilly nights.
HARVEST VINE From the copper bar encircling the sizzling stoves to the cozy stone-clad basement, diners are transported to Basque Spain—particularly on the wings of garlicky sherried mushrooms, HV’s legendary fried pimentos with sea salt, and anything sausage. Last spring it launched a new weekend brunch, with baked eggs, grilled breads, and tortilla Española. Verdict: Top of its game…and top of the tapas. 2701 E Madison St, Madison Valley, 206-320-9771; harvestvine.com
MEZA This colorful new splash of Havana in the Pike/Pine district is making friends fast for its sure-handed nibbles from Cuba (the braised pork Havana sandwich gives Paseo a run for its pesos), Spain (jalapeno-feisty seared scallop tapas), and Venezuela (the crispy-chewy corncakes called arepitas, filled with braised pork or marinated chicken). Prices for the eats stay below $12. Verdict: Carefree service and buzzing flies complete the authenticity of this tasty pan-Latin haunt. 1515 14th Ave, Capitol Hill, 206-922-2399; mezaseattle.com
PINTXO Born Txori, the hottest little slot in Belltown got its new name when the original owners sold the place to adoring patrons. The place retains its worldly elan and backstreet appeal—love the sly bricklined alley—but has traded away Basque authenticity for a more watered-down happy-hour identity, complete with sliders (albeit with braised pork and chimichurri) and undermarinated meats. Verdict: Heavy on the European bar atmo, too light on Spanish substance. 2207 Second Ave, Belltown, 206-441-4042; pintxoseattle.com
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