Bacon-wrapped dates, portobello mushrooms baked with pears and brie, and chorizo with sweet and sour figs are some of the wonderful flavour medleys on the menu at the award-winning Tapas Restaurant in Canmore in Alberta's Rocky Mountains.
We chose to share between the two of us, five out of the 20 or so innovative hot and cold tapas dishes available, which have been created by the chef to reflect the 'modern fusion flavours of Spain'. Our waiter explained each dish to us as he served them and was very helpful with the choice of wine. This left room to spare for dessert – a delicious individual orange and pistachio mascarpone cheesecake and a vanilla bean crème brûlée. Prices range from CN$9 to CN$26 per dish.
The Platos menu of cheeses and/or meats for sharing includes Spanish Manchego, Blue Valdeon and Mahon cheese varieties, while there are some local specialities among the meats selection, such as elk salami and local Rocky Mountain game. These are served with baguettes and home-made fig and apple chutney or sundried tomato pesto. A mixed plate comprising portions of three different types of meat and of cheese costs about CN$36.
Gluten-free and vegetarian menu options are available.
Tapas has an extensive wine list mainly from Spain and the Pacific Northwest, starting at CN$36 per bottle and CN$9 per glass, as well as a wide selection of bottled beers, including ales, lagers and stouts, from about CN$7 a bottle. Sangria, of course, is also available by the jug.
Sombre murals of Spanish dancers and musicians combine with subtle furnishings to create a cosy, intimate atmosphere in the restaurant, which is further enhanced every Wednesday evening during the summer, when you can enjoy the romantic sounds of Latin guitar player, Andrew Ibanez. Tapas claims to have been voted the Rockies' most romantic restaurant and in 2014 won a local Best Alberta Restaurant award.
When the weather is warm enough, you can dine on the outside deck of this character house, which also has an attic dining room to accommodate small parties.
We were recommended Tapas Restaurant and I am so pleased we tried this little gem of an eatery, just off main(10th) street in the beautiful mountain town of Canmore. Reservations are advisable, although we called on a Thursday afternoon and secured a table for two the same night. Canmore is about an hour and ten minutes' drive west of Calgary on Highway 1.