Dali Restaurant and Tapas Bar in Somerville

Fried potatoes with piquant tomato sauce and alioli

I know I’ve mentioned before that I love the small plate craze, but I’m especially a sucker for tapas–authentic, simplistic Spanish tapas. My dear food-partner-in-crime Erica had been trying to take to me to one of her favorite spots–Dali Restaurant & Tapas Bar in Somerville, Massachusetts–for a while, so we finally decided to try it during one of our evenings out.

To say that the decor at Dali is one-of-a-kind is an understatement. There are bright plastic beads draped from ceiling to floor, dried hams hanging from the walls, vibrant ceramics placed upon every mantel, more paintings covering the walls than I could ever imagine counting–just to name a few things to expect. Erica and I were seated at the “most romantic table” in the restaurant. It was a cozy table for two nestled next to one of the front windows … draped in red beads with a painting of a topless woman perched above our table, starring down at us as we consumed our meal.

Homemade grilled Spanish sausage with onions and sherry

Our waiter was spectacular. He was attentive, helpful, and his accent made us swoon. I now consider him my adopted Spanish grandfather. Since we were at a tapas restaurant, we decided to sample many dishes. We ordered the plato mixto (Spanish cheeses and cured meats, roasted red peppers, and olives); patatas bravas (deep-fried potatoes with piquant tomato sauce and alioli); chorizo a la plancha (grilled Spanish sausage made in-house with onions and sherry)lomo de buey a las frutas (beef tenderloin with dried fruits and cream-brandy sauce);and alcachofas rellenas (mushroom-filled artichokes).

Everything was amazing. Erica’s favorite were the fried potatoes (surprise, surprise). I loved the chorizo with sherry. The Spanish cheeses and cured meats were one delicious bite after another. The mushrooms with artichokes were a lighter choice, but still had a beautiful, rich flavor (Erica was hesitant to try it, but ended up loving it!). And when we first sampled the beef tenderloin, Erica taught me about the art of composing the perfect bite–in this case, a piece of beef, potato, and mushroom, covered in the cream-brandy sauce). All I can say: heaven.

I would return to Dali in a heartbeat. I feel like the expectation was set so high that I can now only return with Erica … and we’ll be sure to request our romantic table for two by the window with our topless dinner companion watching over us.

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