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Best Tapas Phoenix 2008 - Lola Tapas

A little sangria, a few plates of goodies to share with friends, and a dark, cozy nook to enjoy it all — ah, those Spanish really know how to live, don't they? We stressed-out Americans could definitely learn a thing or two from our laid-back European friends. Who knows, maybe a little more wine and a little more olive oil would help us live longer. At least, we'd probably live better. Thankfully, there's a place in Phoenix where we can let our cares melt away and settle in at one of the most intimate dinner spots in town: Lola Tapas. When we say intimate, we mean it — two long, dark-wood communal tables line the compact, saffron-hued dining room, meaning you'll dine with your dearest and your nearest, whether they're strangers or not. It's a very friendly place and, fittingly, they serve dishes that are perfect for sharing, including marinated olives, jamón serrano, and Mahón cheese; garlicky sautéed shrimp; and mouthwatering grilled pork skewers. And, yes, the fruit-filled sangria is awesome, both the red and the white versions. It might be only a tiny taste of Spain, but it goes a long way when we're ready to relax.

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