Spanish tapas have a habit of going native once they hit U.S. shores: The flavorful little snacks, created by Spanish innkeepers to avert hunger while quaffing a glass of red wine or sherry, quickly get Americanized when added to a franchised cocktail menu.
At Patanegra (1818 NW 23rd Place, 503/227-7282, www.patanegra-restaurant.com , 11:30 a.m.–11 p.m. Tues.–Fri., 5–11 p.m. Sat., tapas $5–17), Spanish-born chef-owner Ricardo Segura keeps his tapas authentic and full-flavored with dishes such as grilled prawns with red cabbage, roasted piquillo peppers stuffed with crab, and octopus tossed in olive oil, garlic, and smoky Spanish paprika. If you’re looking for a larger dish to share, the house-specialty paella, thick with seafood and tender rabbit, is a sure hit.