If the winner is predictable because there are so few tapas joints in town -- what, like two-and-a-half? -- that does not diminish the excellence that is Modesto. Were there a dozen such establishments in the Lou, Modesto would likely reign supreme. Modesto serves up Spanish tapas in an atmosphere that is both celebratory and comfortable, with grand windows that overlook its neighborhood, the Hill. The menu's a bit overwhelming, but it's well worth a detailed exploration, from the coliflor refrita
(fried cauliflower with paprika, garlic and white truffle oil) to the patatas dos salsas
(fried potatoes in a piquant tomato sauce with aioli), bistec a la Cabrales
(hanger steak with Cabrales cheese and port wine sauce) and the plato de quesos
(Spanish cheeses with walnuts in honey and grapes). That's a start. It's up to you to finish.