Special/Signature Issues » 2012 Bar Guide

Flavor from Afar

Bar food that takes you away.

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Beyond nachos: Try some bar food less ordinary, such as the homemade empanadas and patatas bravado at Emilio's Tapas Bar in the Fan. - ASH DANIEL
  • Ash Daniel
  • Beyond nachos: Try some bar food less ordinary, such as the homemade empanadas and patatas bravado at Emilio's Tapas Bar in the Fan.

Grabbing cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon and noshing on tater tots, slowly sipping Fernet and eating fried pork rinds or throwing back Bushmills with an overflowing plate of cheese fries aren't just Richmond actions. They do, however, feel oh-so-RVA. So how about a stay-cation with your drinks and bar food? For some worldlier options, these international delights pop up in the most local of places.

1. Paying homage to Brazil, chef Carlos surprises with small plates that go fast on Monday and Tuesday nights. Luscious chicken hearts ($5) in a deep and flavorful sauce stole hearts a couple of weeks ago. Brazilian cheese rolls (light, airy and gluten-free) are caloriously addicting. Whispers say beef tripe with peanut butter sauce is up next.

Bistro 27
27 W. Broad St., 780-0086
bistrotwentyseven.com

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2. Europa, European? It is, it is. Bacon wrapped dates, house selected olives and spice dusted baby potatoes, ($6), are perfect with a quick nip. Jammy music and little lighting add a certain je ne sais quoi to an already vibrating aesthetic.

Europa
1409 E. Cary St., 643-0911
europarichmond.com

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3. Live music bumping, hippy salsa dancers and dark corners give a leg up with a pointed toe to late-night tapas. Homemade empanadas ($4.95), ham and manchego croquetas (fried dumplings, $5.95) or patatas bravas (bite-size potatoes in a spicy tomato sauce, $4.95) are finger foods to dance with. Emilio's Spanish-style menu allows for munching while moving feet.

Emilio's Tapas Bar in the Fan
1847 W. Broad St., 359-1224
emiliosrestaurante.com

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4. Don't front. A hip, low-key environment is a right way to spend a Saturday night. Find an Italian wine to pair with lush burrata ($10). Beautiful bespoke mozzarella and cream is downright cosmopolitan next to a dish of splendid potato cavatelli ($9). Hide in the corner near the kitchen at Secco.

Secco Wine Bar
2933 W. Cary St., 353-0670
seccowinebar.com

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5. Pâté, artisanal sausage and hollandaise don't sound like typical bar eats. But elbow to elbow at the bar of Bistro Bobette, you get caught up in the Parisian vibe. A gourmet hot dog ($10) just sounds better with a French accent. And a glass of sauvignon blanc.

Bistro Bobette
1209 E. Cary St., 225-9116
bistrobobette.com

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