Small Plates, Big Flavor
Wilmington’s only true tapas restaurant delivers delicious food and potential to spare.
(page 1 of 5)
Orillas Tapas Bar and Restaurant
413 N. Market St., Wilmington
Large Plates $12-$17
Shared Plates $4-28
Empanadas, ceviche, meats and cheeses, flatbread
From Tex-Mex to tapas, Latin-influenced cuisine is hot, hot, hot. For proof, head to Philly, where El Camino Real—a cowboy bar-taquería—recently joined such favorites as Amada, Distrito, Tinto, Lolita and Xochitl. Delaware diners last fall welcomed Olé Tapas Bar in Newark and, soon after, Orillas Tapas Bar and Restaurant on Market Street in Wilmington.
Not only is Orillas Wilmington’s only true tapas restaurant, but it also is among the businesses spearheading activity on lower Market Street. No small feat. To wit, Orillas is housed in space formerly occupied by The Maine Course, a lobster restaurant that came and went before the new courthouse opened. True, development has come a long way since then, but one thing has not changed: Orillas, owned by former Deep Blue chef Julio Lazzarini, must attract diners downtown and then excite them enough to return.
Tapas is a novel enough concept to tempt first-timers, especially if they’ve yet to sample the real deal. Orillas is doing just that. The 67-seat dining room was packed on a recent Friday night.
The question is, will diners go back? Yes, if they continue to crave the empanadas’ flaky crust or the amazingly tender octopus ceviche. And yes, if they appreciate a wonderful array of smoked meats and tasty cheeses. Served on a wood platter, our cheese selection included Cabrales, a blue cheese produced only in the village of Cabrales; a wedge of dry manchego, made from sheep’s milk; and murica, a goat cheese that, when infused with red wine, is known as drunken goat cheese. (Without the wine, it’s called naked goat cheese.) The wedges shared the board with Serrano ham, mild chorizo sausage and cantimpalo, a coarsely ground, dry-cured sausage with smoked paprika.
Page 2: Small Plates, Big Flavor, continues...