BEST PLACE TO RUB ELBOWS WITH THE BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE - 2007
Phoenix would be a much more neighborly city if only there were more restaurants like Lola Tapas. Spending so much time in our cars, in a land where pedestrians are few and far between, we won't just stumble on a sense of community unless we frequent the same places over and over or unless we stop by Lola for an intimate meal with our best friends and a whole bunch of sociable strangers. Aside from a small wine bar in the back of this adorable, saffron-colored eatery owned and operated by Daniel and Felicia Ruiz Wayne, the former owners of Lux Coffeebar it's all table seating, thanks to a couple of dark, sleek communal tables that run the length of the room. Don't worry, your neighbors won't butt in on your conversation, although they just might inquire about that yummy-looking thing you're eating. From delectable jamon serrano with mahon and manchego cheeses, to garlicky garbanzo beans with sautéed spinach, to skewers of grilled marinated pork, the tapas here are certainly as appealing to the eye as to the taste buds. After a glass or two of thirst-quenching homemade sangria, filled with soft chunks of fresh fruit, you'll be schmoozing like an old pro.