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Gambit's 2012 Winter Restaurant Guide: Tapas/Spanish 

BARCELONA TAPAS 720 Dublin St., 861-9696 The Avocado Tropical features a mixture of shrimp, capers and onions topped with tomato aioli vinaigrette and served in half an avocado. The chorizo casserole is topped with sherry sauce. No reservations. Dinner Tue.-Sun. Credit cards.  $$$

CAFE GRANADA 1506 S. Carrollton Ave., 865-1612; The sea scallop brochette features flame-grilled scallops, cherry tomatoes, onions and bell peppers on a rosemary skewer. Patatas bravas is a traditional dish of potatoes sauteed in spicy tomato sauce and topped with garlic aioli. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$$

GALVEZ RESTAURANT 914 N. Peters St., 595-3400, Galvez serves Spanish cuisine, including many vegetarian dishes. Paella Valenciana combines mussels, chorizo, chicken, Gulf shrimp, fish and vegetables in saffron-infused Arborio rice. Rack of lamb is marinated, grilled and served with red wine fig sauce, sauteed mushrooms and a pan-seared potato cake. Reservations accepted. Dinner Tue.-Sun., brunch Sun. Credit cards. $$$

GUSTO The Shops at Canal Place, 333 Canal St., third floor, 581-5400; This gourmet eatery has cafe seating and offers service inside the Theatres at Canal Place. The chef's platter comes with zucchini agrodolce, marinated olives, hummus, tzatziki and herbed feta. The Spanish muffuletta is made with serrano ham, chorizo and manchego cheese. No reservations. Lunch and dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

LOLA'S 3312 Esplanade Ave., 488-6946; Lola's lends Spanish flair to seafood in dishes like grilled yellowfin tuna and spicy mojo sauce with basmati rice and mixed vegetables. The seafood paella combines scallops, calamari, mussels and shrimp in saffron rice. No reservations. Dinner daily. Credit cards. $$

MIMI'S IN THE MARIGNY  2601 Royal St., 872-9868;  The tapas offerings at Mimi's include empanadas filled with a mixture of ground beef, golden raisins, olives, pepper and garlic and served with roasted red pepper aioli. Traditional gambas al ajillo are a trio of head-on shrimp sauteed with white wine and garlic. No reservations. Dinner and late-night daily. Credit cards. $

RAMBLA 217 Camp St., 587-7720; www.ramblanola.comBarcelona, Spain's Rambla district inspires this tapas restaurant. Bacon-wrapped dates are stuffed with blue cheese and almonds and topped with sherry gastrique. Beef tenderloin tartare is topped with a quail egg and served with toasted, truffled brioche. Reservations accepted. Breakfast daily, lunch Mon.-Fri., dinner Mon.-Sat., late-night Fri.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

SALU 3226 Magazine St., 371-5809; www.salurestaurant.comLobster macaroni features Gruyere cheese and tempura fried green onions. The pork Wellington is wrapped in phyllo dough and served with wilted spinach and Burgundy-peppercorn cream. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner daily, late-night Fri.-Sat. Credit cards. $

SANTA FE TAPAS 1327 St. Charles Ave., 304-9915; www.santafetapas.comA tapas option features caramelized diver scallops served with mango and green tomato pico de gallo. Tequila-cured salmon comes with sweet corn jalapeno pancakes, lime crema and caviar. Reservations accepted. Lunch and dinner daily, brunch Sat.-Sun. Credit cards and checks. $$

VEGA TAPAS CAFE 2051 Metairie Road, Metairie, 836-2007; www.vegatapascafe.comPaella de la Vega combines shrimp, mussels, chorizo, calamari, scallops, chicken and vegetables in saffron rice. Pollo en papel features chicken, mushrooms, leeks and feta in phyllo pastry. Reservations accepted. Dinner Mon.-Sat. Credit cards. $$

W.I.N.O. 610 Tchoupitoulas St., 324-8000; www.winoschool.comThe wine bar serves a menu of cheese plates and appetizers like dips, artisanal salami and olives. Hummus is served with a sliced baguette. Reservations accepted for large parties. Lunch Mon.-Fri., late night Fri.-Sat. Credit cards. $


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