Estragon Tapas Bar in the South End

Estragon had been on my list of my try restaurants for a long time. And I finally made it there last month with my sister and my dad. (check out this deal from Groupon)

I love the 1930’s decor, not traditional Spanish at all, but fun and gives the restaurant a more high class feel.You can sit at a table or on the couches in the back lounge, whatever kind of dinning mood you are in you can have it here.

What I love most about Estragon is the authenticity of the menu. The menu offers up traditional Spanish tapas as well as a few modern ”up-do’s” to some original dishes too. I was also very impressed with our serves knowledge of the menu. The menu specifies which items contain gluten, dairy, nuts, and which are vegan and vegetarian. Awesome right? Now why can’t every restaurant do this!? I hope this becomes a trend and I think it very well could, especially with the increase of allergies and food intolerance awareness.

VG: Vegan      V: Vegetarian      G: Contains Gluten      N: Contains Nuts      D: Contains Dairy

We started with the Pisto, Braised Eggplant, Tomato, and peppers topped with a Poached Egg ($10). Served in a piping hot cast-iron skillet, this dish was outrageously flavorful; rich and hearty, great for a cold winter night.

Vieiras con Albariño y Azafrán, Seared Scallops with Saffron-Albariño cream and fried leeks ($14.50). Just one word…YUM! 4 scallops topped with fried leeks and a delicious light cream sauce. I’m not going to lie, I licked the plate clean; I just loved the sauce.

Pez Espada a la Vasca, basque-style seared swordfish with French fries ($15). The swordfish was also delicious, it seemed so simple, yet had such great flavor. The punch from the peppers was great.

Paella Vegetariana,Vegetable Paella ($22). Paella originated in Valencia; a costal city on the Mediterranean Sea. While I was in college I studied and lived in Valencia for 4 months, and tried some of the world’s best paella, and even went to a paella festival (they cooked paella in HUGE 6 ft pans). Since returning (in ’07) I have yet to find a restaurant that serves authentic Spanish Paella. I’m not saying it’s all bad, it’s just not the same. Tasca comes the closest. Estragon misses the mark, by a long stretch. It was just ok; I was disappointed. My sister says I was being too snobby and we’re not in Spain. But even if I wasn’t comparing it to my Spanish standards, it was merely ok, too oily and the rice too crunchy and undercooked.

A big part of the menu consists of Pintxos (tapas on toast). The waiter told me I could have a few of these, without the bread. But what is the fun in that?! Next time I go (and when you go) bring gluten free bread. I wish I had thought of that before, I would have loved the tried the Salmon Ahumado, smoked salmon with white asparagus, alioli and roasted red pepper.

From 5-7PM on Monday’s you can get $1 – $5 tapas at the bar. This is a great way to sample the menu and save money.

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I've been on a gluten free diet since January 2009. It's been an adventure, and a challenge at times. I love to go to new restaurants and try new foods, and being gluten free can make eating out difficult at times. But I will not let my dietary restrictions get in my way of finding new restaurants and products. These are my stories of being a young women in a big city, eating out and trying new foods, all while NOT eating gluten. Like I said, it's an adventure and you are welcome to come along... Please note that as I try to eat gluten free 100% of the time, my intolerance is not as severe as others so please use caution when dining at restaurants that are not certified gluten free.