Openings: Spanish tapas restaurant comes to West Palm waterfront


A tapas-loving restaurant will open its doors on the eastern edge of Clematis Street Wednesday. And the team behind it knows its Spanish cuisine.

Tapeo (Spanish term for tapas crawl) will debut in the two-story, waterfront space where Tin Fish once stood. (Most recently, Rails Craft Brews occupied the space for two months before closing last November.) 

The restaurant’s partners and chef come to West Palm Beach from New Jersey but share a variety of Spanish roots and ties. 

Owners are New Jersey restauranteur Carlos Mendez and his family (wife Lynne Mendez and children Gabriella and Carlos) and entrepreneurs Giovanni Savinovich and Leila Savinovich. Mendez is a native of Galicia. 

The kitchen is in the hands of a fellow Spaniard, executive chef Javier Gutierrez, a Bilbao native with considerable experience in tapas and traditional Spanish cuisine. 

Tapeo aims for variety in menu and vibe, says partner Leila Savinovich, who led the restaurant redesign work and handles the marketing. The downstairs dining area and bar will offer a casual space for tapas-noshing and wine-sipping amid vibrant, Spanish-themed murals by veteran New York graffiti artist Raul Rubio

Upstairs, the ambiance is more white-tablecloth traditional with roomy tables and a handsome, green-stained bar. Large windows overlook the downtown Waterfront Commons area. 

So, what’s to eat? 

The lunch menu lists a large range of salads ($8.95 to $12.95), classic soups (lentil, gazpacho, seafood), simple Spanish-style baguette sandwiches ($12.95) and a selection of entrées that include traditional rice dishes, chops and steaks ($14.95 to $18.95). 

The tapas menu captures the heart of the place, with more than 30 small plates offered ($6.95 to $15.95). They include classics like gambas al ajillo (garlic shrimp), chistorras (Spanish sausage), meat and cheese tablas (boards) and Galician-style pulpo (octopus). 

A variety of Valencian-inspired paellas ($18.95 to $28.95), meats, plus plenty of fish and seafood dishes round out the dinner menu. 

At first, the Tapeo team had planned to open the spot in Jupiter, says the marketing director. “But when this spot became available, we felt it was a better fit,” said Leila Savinovich. 

Private previews were planned for Monday and Tuesday night before the public opening Wednesday.

Hours: Open daily for lunch and dinner starting Wednesday; reservations are available online at OpenTable.com

Tapeo: 118 S. Clematis St., West Palm Beach; 561-514-0811


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