Good Things Come on Small Plates

Dining Tapas Style

I am quite possibly one of the world’s most indecisive people, so there are many occasions in which deciding on a meal is nothing short of painful. Luckily, the Spanish invented a solution for people like me ages ago: tapas! Spanish cuisine boasts a list of traditional tapas dishes but, for me, eating tapas style simply means that I get to try many small dishes instead of one big one.

Don’t get me wrong, digging into a big plate of food satisfies like nothing else. There are times, though, when I’d much rather nibble my way along a culinary adventure, trying a variety of tastes. As a bonus, splitting several smaller plates with friends is much easier on my wallet.

West Chester is a great place to dine tapas style. Originally, a tapa (from the verb tapar, to cover) was a slice of bread or cured ham placed over a wine glass. Today, Spanish tapas dishes are much more varied (and appealing), and represent more of a style of dining than anything else. The truth is, you don’t have to eat patatas bravas to really enjoy Spanish-style dining in West Chester. Long meals of small dishes shared with good friends — now that’s what I’m talking about!

Eating tapas style can be as simple as getting some wings with your friends, but I prefer to make it a little more interesting. Here are a few local venues that serve some appetizers worthy of the main dish spotlight:

Riverstone Café

143 W. Lincoln Highway
Exton, PA 19341

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The self-proclaimed place for tapas, Riverstone Café boasts a tantalizing array of unique shareable dishes, like Firecracker Shrimp Spring Rolls, Goat Cheese Bombe and Grilled Vegetable Tapas Pie. Be sure to order several, take your time and enjoy!


38 E. Gay Street
West Chester, PA 19380
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This beautiful “Euro-style café” recently added a round of amazing main dishes to its menu, but that doesn’t mean its smaller plates are worth abandoning. Get your Italian fix in small doses with bruschette, cured meats, cheeses, salads, sandwiches and other intriguing dishes. This place also has a great wine and beer list to accompany your choices.

High Street Caffe

150 W Gay St
West Chester, PA 19380

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This place serves appetizers with a kick! Try Cajun Popcorn (crawfish tails), New Orleans Stuffed Mushrooms, Pierogies or even Creole Escargot. It’s a little easier to enjoy all that heat with small bites, anyway.

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