4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

La Gran Tapa: Great Spanish Omelet, but "No Tips Accepted"?

“NO TIPS ACCEPTED."

It's the first thing you notice when you get your check.

But what does it mean?

This is at the oldest of tapa joints in our fair city, the Café Bar Europa – La Gran Tapa (611 B Street, downtown, 619-234-8272).

Paul Dobson, the bullfighter and downtown restaurant pioneer (he still has Dobson's at 956 Broadway Circle), opened it in 1984.

It really does have an old world Spanish feel (not that I’ve been to Spain) with its black and yellow and woody color scheme.

None

Actually, I came in for the tortilla. That’s what the Spanish call the Spanish omelet.

First kinda eye-opener is that this “tortilla Española” is a sunset tapa dish. Guess I'm more used to the idea of eggs at desayuno. But given as how it's probably nice and salty, I think I might jes' take to it as a tapa.

Truth to tell: Only reason I’m actually having it is because I spotted it on the happy hour tapa list. (Happy hour’s from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. daily.) And Don the barkeep...

None

...is getting me a (also happy hour) beer from the wild shores of Nova Scotia, and I need a munchies to go with it.

The beer’s an Alexander Keith India Pale Ale. Never heard of it before. Three bucks.

I’m sitting at the bar (you need to, if you want happy hour prices) next to this clump of gals. Glenda, Wendy, Genail, Pamela, and their lone male buddy, Todd.

None

They’ve ordered a swag of HH tapas. Marinated beets ($3), caprese salad...

None

...the meats and cheese plate, and the tortilla Española ($4 each). So $15, plus drinks. Not bad.

Me, it’s the tortilla. They say it’s the single most popular tapa in Spain. That it’s been the poor man’s belly filler for centuries. It’s basically a thick omelet of eggs and spuds cooked in olive oil.

Mine comes with two wedges of omelet and a little mess of red peppers and onions in the middle.

None

It’s good and filling. I mean, no taste zingers in it to send you pirouetting to the ceiling and back, but solid country food.

The beer, too, good solid beer.

None

Okay, wimpy wimpy wimpy compared to the craft IPAs like Arrogant Bastard around San Diego, World Headquarters of Real IPA.

When you’ve been spoiled, you get picky.

But now I'm hearing how Alexander Keith could be the oldest brewery on the North American continent that has never closed its doors (thanks to it being in Canada, which never got whacked by Prohibition). Alexander Keith, turns out, was a Scot who survived the stormy seas to Nova Scotia and started his brewery there way back in 1820. Wow. Still going.

Except, uh, now it’s owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev. So that dents the image of Wild Canadian Beer for Trappers. And maybe explains the mild taste.

But who’s quibbling? The company’s good. This horseshoe bar practically guarantees that. And now we’ve got a live guitarista making you feel the suffering of the gypsies who created the flamenco music he's playing. Edward Fishwick.

None

Edward

He actually went to Spain and learned in the countryside in places where you sit in a circle and pass the guitar from hand to hand, and you’d better have a song ready to go.

And it better not be Kumbaya.

Man. Food, wine (okay beer, but the HH wines are $4 a glass), and free transportation to Andalusia.

The beer and tapa cost $8.87. That includes 64 cents’ tax and a 17.5 percent service charge. Oh yeah. That’s why the check says “NO TIPS ACCEPTED.” Because you've already tipped. They’re doing European-style mandatory tipping.

But the check also says “Expect excellent service! Please let us know immediately (or by email) if this was not the case. Manager will credit your check or issue a gift certificate.”

Can’t say fairer than that.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Einstein Come Through, David Cook at Ocean Way Studios

Events May 15-May 19, 2021
Next Article

The siren song of Sunset Cliffs, our beach gangs – O.B. Rats, Tuna Boys, P.B. Vermin

Ocean Beach hits a low, the summer girls of La Jolla, the last 79 vacant lots along the San Diego beachfront

“NO TIPS ACCEPTED."

It's the first thing you notice when you get your check.

But what does it mean?

This is at the oldest of tapa joints in our fair city, the Café Bar Europa – La Gran Tapa (611 B Street, downtown, 619-234-8272).

Paul Dobson, the bullfighter and downtown restaurant pioneer (he still has Dobson's at 956 Broadway Circle), opened it in 1984.

It really does have an old world Spanish feel (not that I’ve been to Spain) with its black and yellow and woody color scheme.

None

Actually, I came in for the tortilla. That’s what the Spanish call the Spanish omelet.

First kinda eye-opener is that this “tortilla Española” is a sunset tapa dish. Guess I'm more used to the idea of eggs at desayuno. But given as how it's probably nice and salty, I think I might jes' take to it as a tapa.

Truth to tell: Only reason I’m actually having it is because I spotted it on the happy hour tapa list. (Happy hour’s from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. daily.) And Don the barkeep...

None

...is getting me a (also happy hour) beer from the wild shores of Nova Scotia, and I need a munchies to go with it.

The beer’s an Alexander Keith India Pale Ale. Never heard of it before. Three bucks.

I’m sitting at the bar (you need to, if you want happy hour prices) next to this clump of gals. Glenda, Wendy, Genail, Pamela, and their lone male buddy, Todd.

None

They’ve ordered a swag of HH tapas. Marinated beets ($3), caprese salad...

None

...the meats and cheese plate, and the tortilla Española ($4 each). So $15, plus drinks. Not bad.

Me, it’s the tortilla. They say it’s the single most popular tapa in Spain. That it’s been the poor man’s belly filler for centuries. It’s basically a thick omelet of eggs and spuds cooked in olive oil.

Mine comes with two wedges of omelet and a little mess of red peppers and onions in the middle.

None

It’s good and filling. I mean, no taste zingers in it to send you pirouetting to the ceiling and back, but solid country food.

The beer, too, good solid beer.

None

Okay, wimpy wimpy wimpy compared to the craft IPAs like Arrogant Bastard around San Diego, World Headquarters of Real IPA.

When you’ve been spoiled, you get picky.

But now I'm hearing how Alexander Keith could be the oldest brewery on the North American continent that has never closed its doors (thanks to it being in Canada, which never got whacked by Prohibition). Alexander Keith, turns out, was a Scot who survived the stormy seas to Nova Scotia and started his brewery there way back in 1820. Wow. Still going.

Except, uh, now it’s owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev. So that dents the image of Wild Canadian Beer for Trappers. And maybe explains the mild taste.

But who’s quibbling? The company’s good. This horseshoe bar practically guarantees that. And now we’ve got a live guitarista making you feel the suffering of the gypsies who created the flamenco music he's playing. Edward Fishwick.

None

Edward

He actually went to Spain and learned in the countryside in places where you sit in a circle and pass the guitar from hand to hand, and you’d better have a song ready to go.

And it better not be Kumbaya.

Man. Food, wine (okay beer, but the HH wines are $4 a glass), and free transportation to Andalusia.

The beer and tapa cost $8.87. That includes 64 cents’ tax and a 17.5 percent service charge. Oh yeah. That’s why the check says “NO TIPS ACCEPTED.” Because you've already tipped. They’re doing European-style mandatory tipping.

But the check also says “Expect excellent service! Please let us know immediately (or by email) if this was not the case. Manager will credit your check or issue a gift certificate.”

Can’t say fairer than that.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Comments
1

I wonder how long they have been doing the mandatory service charge there? I remember people getting all up in arms about that happening at the Linkery. There were angry letters and editorials, even threats to sue! It would be amusing if La Gran Tapa had been doing it the whole time and nobody was throwing fits. Probably because they don't make a big deal out of it like the way it was at the Linkery for a while.

Sept. 12, 2012

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close