Malagon Mercado y Taperia Staff Pick

Hours: Tues.-Sun. 11 a.m.-10 p.m.

Price: $$

Even experienced tapas lovers may find themselves a bit wide-eyed at Malagon — the eight-page menu isn’t fooling around. Rather, it gets right down to some sweet tapas tenderness, starting with familiar snacks like marcona almonds and dates wrapped in ham. The mojama (cured tuna belly) is a classic treat. Firm and salty, it’s often referred to as the jamón of the sea. Accompanied by roughly a dozen baby potatoes, tender chunks of octopus have a silky texture similar to that of a rare scallop. The mild flavors of the two soft ingredients are dominated by the sprinkling of smoked paprika on top. Despite being ‘small plates’ and probably owing in part to all the potatoes, your meal can be surprisingly filling and notably affordable. Malagon is not only doing something different, they’re doing it extremely well. —Vanessa Wolf (Dish, Winter 2020)

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