Giving your elderly oven the evening off will ensure that your oven-shaped casket can be used to bury hazardous biomedical waste, like last month’s meatloaf. Walk your bare feet out of the kitchen with today’s Groupon: for $17, you get $35 worth of innovative tapas and wine at Europa Italian Cafe and Tapas Bar near the intersection of East Cary and South 14th Street. Voted as serving the best small plates/tapas by Richmond Magazine in 2010, Europa Italian Café and Tapas Bar features a menu of over 30 small plates and 50 wine selections. Sip a carafe of red sangria ($20) or a glass of Alomos malbec ($6) and nibble on fried dates ($7) wrapped in applewood bacon. Try a modern take on tapas with the slow braised pork ($9), snoozing on a bed of Spanish rice polenta with piquillo jam and natural demi. Ward off lactose-intolerant vampires with a selection of cheeses ($15), including sweet and tangy manchego, salty valdeon, and nutty sheep’s milk. The small plate haven features live music and ladies’ nights.
Richmond Magazine readers selected Europa Italian Café as the runner-up for the best restaurant in Shockoe Slip in 2008 and the winner for best small plates/tapas in 2010. Yelpers give the restaurant an average of 3.5 stars while TripAdvisors give a 3.5 owl eye average.
Europa Italian Cafe & Tapas Bar
Long before she became the owner and executive chef at Europa Italian Cafe & Tapas Bar, Michelle Williams cut her teeth in the restaurant industry as a hostess and a cocktail waitress. Ambitious from the start, Williams soon finished a rigorous chef apprenticeship program, became a sous chef, and learned to cut onions so expertly that everyone nearby would weep tears of joy. Today as a founding member of the Richmond Restaurant Group, she oversees a slew of unique local eateries.
At Europa Italian Cafe & Tapas Bar, Williams and her cooking staff blend dozens of Spanish tapas with classic Italian pastas and seafood. The restaurant's signature paella mixes scallops, shrimp, mussels, clams, and fish to harmonious ends, and the meat paella alters the classic recipe, replacing seafood with chicken, chorizo, and lamb sausage. More than 50 bottles of European and American wine—as well as housemade sangria—complement the dishes.