Giving an elderly oven the evening off will ensure that the oven-shaped casket can be used to bury hazardous biomedical waste such as last month’s meatloaf. Ditch kitchen drudgery and dangerous dumpery with today’s Groupon: for $17, you get $35 worth of innovative tapas and wine at Europa Italian Cafe & Tapas Bar on East Cary Street. Voted the city's best small plates and tapas by Richmond magazine, Europa Italian Cafe & Tapas Bar features a menu of more than 30 small plates and 50 wines. Sip a carafe of red sangria ($20) or a glass of Alomos malbec ($6), and nibble on fried dates wrapped in applewood bacon ($7). Try a modern take on tapas with the flatbread duck pizza snoozing in a bed of fig, parmesan, arugula, and roasted shallot-garlic oil ($9). Ward off lactose-intolerant vampires with a selection of cheeses, including sweet and tangy manchego, salty valdeon, and nutty sheep’s milk ($15).
Richmond magazine readers selected Europa Italian Cafe & Tapas Bar 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, and TripAdvisors give a 3.5-owl-eye average.
- The menu selections were very broad and the Tapas selections were very tasty. – eachday-newlife, TripAdvisor
- We didn't do the tapas, because I spotted something on the menu I NEEDED instead. It was the gorgonzola pasta, and it was SO yummy, I miss it. Good wine selection, too. And great dessert. – Natalie R., Yelp
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.