A familiar downtown restaurant is debuting its new look this year as Alicante, a contemporary Spanish restaurant with a tasty tapas menu and impressive selection of wines.
Grilled octopus crostini — Photo courtesy of Marco Combs
Owner Mindy Reed, who also owns Zin American Bistro next door, decided to take the former Zini Cafe Med in a decidedly more Spanish direction when she introduced the new name in early 2013. Italian pastas from the previous menu were replaced by saffron-laced couscous and paella plates, while Mediterranean-inspired options like Greek chicken and spicy eggplant tabbouleh round out the Spanish and Mediterranean concept. Of course, you can still order a plate of penne alla vodka or a pesto chicken and sun-dried tomato pizza if you're in an Italian mood.
Sautéed spicy lime-drizzled shrimp — Photo courtesy of Marco Combs
One of the best experiences Alicante offers, though, is its tapas menu. From the selection of hot and cold plates, you can create your own meal to share with friends. The most popular options include the roasted beet salad with goat cheese and spiced walnuts, the grilled baby octopus and tomato hummus crostini and the sautéed spicy lime-drizzled shrimp. The grilled artichoke with asparagus, Serrano ham, Manchego cheese and fried egg is as tasty as it is visually appealing, and the grilled calamari stuffed with Spanish chorizo, parsley and capers is another must-try. You can also build your own meat and cheese plate from choices like sopressata salami, prosciutto and Drunken Goat cheese.
To wash it all down, Alicante offers an impressive wine list with selections from Spain, Italy, France, California and Argentina. The wine menu is broken down by price, and you can choose between wines at $6, $8 or $10 per glass ($20, $30 or $40 per bottle). Reds like the Gran Familia Rioja and the BenMarco Malbec are the perfect pairings at $8 a glass, but you might also want to try a signature cocktail like the Blood Orange Mojito.
Blood Orange Mojito — Photo courtesy of Marco Combs
Alicante also serves up a popular happy hour, both before and after dinner hours. Wine, well drinks, beer and sangria specials go well with the happy hour food menu, which showcases many of Alicante's fabulous tapas. Whether you sit in the intimate dining room or opt for a table on the patio to soak up the downtown vibe, you're sure to enjoy an evening of fine Spanish food and great wine at Alicante.