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Best Tapas Miami 2006 - Bahía at the Four Seasons

Bah?a, the outdoor tapas lounge on the Four Seasons Hotel's seventh-floor terrace, offers the European snack with a distinctively Latin American, oceangoing twist. Tapas developed from an old Spanish bar custom of placing a saucer on top of wine glasses. Someone put a few olives on the saucer, and from that evolved today's finger-food-as-a-meal. In Spain, tapas bars really get going around 3:00 a.m., and much of what is served is some variant of tinned meat. Bah?a, which takes its name from a region of Brazil, uses that country's marine bounty as its tapas template. Among a dozen choices are the staid aceitunas variedades (assorted olives, $3); pimientos del piquillo rellenos de bacalao ($9), which are pickled peppers served on baguette slices with cod; croquetas de marisco ($8), stuffed with lobster (but also available in ham and spinach); boquerones en vinagre ($8), a larger, paler, spicier type of the much-maligned anchovy; and patatas aioli ($5), forever unhumbling the potato. Specialty drinks at Bah?a -- takes on the mojito and margarita -- are tasty and market-priced around $12, but go for the "caipiroska" (vodka, fresh strawberries, and froths of sugar). Bah?a is in an awesome spot facing the water, but the space itself -- nearly an acre plain featuring a vast lap pool and a lighted waterfall -- is incredibly tranquil. Bah?a serves tapas and escapism 5:00 p.m. to midnight Tuesdays through Saturdays.
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