Unless I am actually in Spain, I am always a bit dubious when I see a restaurant tout itself as a "tapas bar". After all, anyone can shrink the portion size of an entrée and call it a tapa (a small plate meant for sharing). However, when I saw the big ¡Parador! sign in downtown Egg Harbor, I was quite hopeful. After all, Parador is the Spanish name for a chain of state-run luxury hotels, often located in grand historical buildings. Within minutes of chatting with the owner and perusing the menu, my hopes were confirmed: I had found authentic Spanish tapas in Door County! Oddly enough, she and I had also attended the same university in Toledo, Spain, and had hung out in Toledo's own beautiful fortress of a Parador overlooking that breathtaking city. It was an instant kinship.

Now, onto the food. Since only my husband and I were eating, it was extremely difficult to narrow down our choices. However, we solved that by visiting Parador twice during our Door County vacation (yes, it is that good). Firstly, the sangria is done right (i.e. the Spanish way) and was loaded with delicious fruit; so refreshing on a hot summer day. As for the tapas, we both agreed that the bacon wrapped dates were like dream candy (and probably largely responsible for our vacation weight gain). Our second favorite was the Spanish mac and cheese with manchego, Serrano ham and peas. For a simple light snack you really can't go wrong with the olives or cheese plate. Even the organic hummus dazzled us, with its surprising drizzle of freshly-picked mint. Note to self: good quality olive oil makes a big difference!

So if you're tired of fish boils and Swedish meatballs, give ¡Parador! a try. Seating is available inside and out, so kick back with a glass of sangria and soak in all of the authentic Spanish flavor; you won't regret it.

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