First Bites

Calle Ocho Patrol: Las Tapas de Rosa

If you are Latin and have a pulse, you are either going to the Calle Ocho Festival today or know someone who is. Well, at the end of what promises to be a crowded and loud day, stop at Las Tapas de Rosa.

This little gem in a strip mall at SW Fifth Avenue and Eighth Street, takes the edge off the day with really nice wine, good tapas and a relaxed atmosphere.

All is not perfect here. I had a $15 zarzuela de mariscos that included some of the most overcooked bay scallops i have eaten in my life. But the broth was beautifully light, properly salted and had a delightful taste. The squid, mussels, and other parts of the casserole were excellent.

The calamari, at $8 or $9 was plentiful, lightly fried and perfect. Indeed, i dipped it into the seafood broth, and got double return on my zarzuela investment. It was piping hot too.

The real standout here was the tortilla española with chorizo. I'm a fan of this eggy treat, having spent weeks on the Costa Brava living off cheap wine, tortilla, and flaky bread,. But this was flavorful, plentiful and spicy. The best ración I've ever had. The service was friendly and great, too.

I hope this place survives. But tucked into a strip mall next door to a beauty parlor and a Domino's pizza, it will continue to be a challenge. There's a bigger menu here with larger dishes and salads too. But that's not what Las tapas de Rosa is about. As Bill Clinton might have said before the 1990 election if he were a Spaniard: "It's las tapas, stupid."

Las Tapas de Rosa
449 SW Eighth St
305 856-9788

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Chuck Strouse is the former editor in chief of Miami New Times. He has shared two Pulitzer Prizes and won dozens of other awards. He is an honors graduate of Brown University and has worked at newspapers including the Miami Herald and Los Angeles Times.
Contact: Chuck Strouse