When ancient Egyptians built the original food pyramid, many felt its suggested serving of limestone was particularly disproportionate. Enjoy a modern food grouping with today's Groupon. For $20, you get $40 worth of small plates and drinks at La Casa Tapas and Wine Bar in Shadyside.
Keeping in line with literal translation, La Casa resides in an unsuspecting home along a neighborhood street, welcoming passersby with its patio seating and smooth, red-brick exterior. In the kitchen, chefs deliver flavors from abroad derived from ingredients grown locally. Drawing on Spanish and Moroccan flavors, La Casa's menu offers modest portions intended for pairing with selections from an extensive wine list. Taste fusion begins with starters like the sopa del mar, combining mussels, shrimp, scallops, and fish in a soul-warming saffron broth ($11) and the ensalata del matador, boasting an eclectic blend of manchego cheese, sliced apples, mandarin oranges, and cucumbers dancing through an orange vinaigrette ($7).
Tapas dishes, available hot, cold, or cryogenically frozen for future clones, range in price from $5 to $14. Sample bold flavors with a plato de quesos ($13), featuring three palette-pleasing Spanish cheeses, or an order of artichokes gently marinated in garlic and vinegar ($5). Warm options include lleno champinones con congrejo (crabmeat nestled inside mushrooms drizzled with an aioli wine sauce, $8) and pulpo a la plancha (sautéed octopus served beneath a garlic olive-oil paprika sauce, $12). With a warm, comfortable atmosphere, diners can take their time to nibble, savor, and talk until filled with food, wine, and intoxicating discourse about making stuffed animals out of common household items. Reservations are not required, but they are recommended to ensure a smooth dining experience. La Casa is open for dinner seven nights a week, with additional lunch hours served up Friday and Saturday.
This Groupon is not valid with La Casa's happy-hour specials.
The Pittsburgh City Paper raves about La Casa's tapas:
- You see, despite the burgeoning attention to tapas in these parts -- including numerous mainstream restaurants offering "small plates" as a nod to the concept -- we hadn't quite found the tapas place: the one that combines sophistication and comfort, authenticity and simplicity, and all of this with affordability so that we can feel free to go there whenever the mood strikes (and that's likely to be often). Well, now we think we've found it at last…Simple Spanish bar food it isn't. But addictive it is. In true tapas style, each small serving -- most quite reasonably priced -- delivered strong flavors and left us hungry for more. – Angelique Bamberg and Jason Roth, Pittsburgh City Paper
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says La Casa's ambience sets it apart:
- La Casa is indeed a casa, a tiny house on Ellsworth Avenue in the heart of Shadyside's antiques shopping district. Formerly Bellini Restaurant and later Pamplona, the little casa has been totally remodeled into a modern and colorful dining room and bar. Unfortunately, this room gets very noisy when filled; but with sunny colors on the wall and flamenco tunes on the stereo, it is easy to get into the Andalusian spirit of the menu and wine list, and enjoy the Spanish ambience. – Elizabeth Downer, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
- After a visit to Spain, we tried La Casa & loved its food, friendliness, & service ever since. It is a wonderful experience to try numerous dishes of tapas, one greater than the previous one. The server does everything to please the customer & treats you like a family member. Tapas is presented [sic] from every food group & in every price range. You are given plenty of time to sample each dish, advice on what to order, explanations of the dishes, & personal detail is given to every minute of your dining experience at Las Casa. – Cheryl, Urbanspoon
La Casa Tapas and Wine Bar
Owner and chef Omar Mediouni imbues La Casa Tapas and Wine Bar's menu of traditional Spanish and Moroccan small plates and entrees with local ingredients and an appetite for culinary fusion that, according to Pittsburgh City Paper, "combines sophistication and comfort, authenticity and simplicity." Flagpole-addicted tongues warm up with a choice of 16 hot tapas, including the chorizo catalan's spicy sautéed sausage and spinach in a red-wine reduction ($10), and tomatoes, sweet pepper, and eggplant form the base of a duo of Moroccan dips ($8 each). Larger entrees ($16–$28) sneak garbanzo beans, chicken, lamb, and eggplant into piles of couscous or saffron paella rice like parents tucking Easter eggs into an egg carton.
Nestled within a brick house along a neighborhood street in Shadyside, La Casa Tapas and Wine Bar greets springtime by opening its patio to warm breezes and showers of cupid arrows. Inside, a hanging Spanish guitar, lanterns lit by candles, and the wide grin of a bright red hearth contribute to a cozy, eclectic spirit.