Ataula is one of Portland’s hottest tapas restaurant. It has been labeled as one of the best restaurants in the Portland, which is a bold statement.
Ataula sits in Slabtown. Slabtown is a little charming area filled with trendy restaurants, shops, and bars. It’s a couple of blocks from Portland’s famous ice cream parlor — Salt & Straw. The creative Spanish tapas restaurant is lined with artwork; in addition, it offers sidewalk seats to enjoy Portland’s crisp air.
After extensive research, I decided Ataula would be my snack before snack before my dinner at Beast. It was a lot of food to eat within 5 hours, but I was determined to check out as many restaurants in Portland as possible. I was three meals deep into the day and Ataula was going to be my fourth. People told me Portland has a blossoming food scene, so I wanted to confirm whether it was true or not.
When I arrived, I found the restaurant fairly occupied around 4:30 PM. There were a few opened tables and the sidewalk seats were full. I was getting hungry. My eating schedule allowed me enough time to digest Ataula before my next snack — Salt & Straw. I quickly opted for the bar and the bartender greeted me. She gave me a menu then the smiling waitress came by. She gave me a few recommendations.
After looking over the menu, I decided to trust her judgement. I went with some of her recommendations. Here are my thoughts:
- Cojonudo – It was labeled as their most popular tapas. The Cojonundo was a toast topped with chorizo, piquillo pepper, and a fried quail egg. It had a contrasting textures and flavors. The salty chorizo was met with the silky quail egg yolk then the slightly sharp piquillo pepper. It was a solid dish.
- Croquettes – Croquettes could be found on any Spanish tapas menu. The crispy outer shell filled with soft fillings makes them an easy pick. Ataula fills its croquettes with salt-cod fritters; it came with a smoked piquillo ali-oli dipping sauce. The piquillo brought some spice to the croquettes and its flavor was similar to sriracha. However, it wasn’t as sharp.
- Pato – The “salad” dish. The farm greens were filled with prune-goat cheese, viridian beans, quicos, a vinaigrette, and duck jamon. The duck jamon caught my attention as I usually pass on “salad” dishes. However, the Pato was the best dish of the four I tried. The chewy jamon complemented the dish and the vinaigrette brought life to it.
Overall, Ataula is a pretty solid restaurant. After a few days in Portland, I was starting to lose confidence in Portland’s food scene. Everything I had tried turned out to be mediocre at best. However, Ataula took me by surprised with its non-traditional tapas and it’s probably my favorite restaurant in the city.
- Service - 7.5/107.5/10
- Presentation - 7/107/10
- Flavors - 7.5/107.5/10
- Decor - 7/107/10
- Ambiance - 7/107/10
Ataula is a pretty solid restaurant. After a few days in Portland, I was starting to lose confidence in Portland’s food scene. Everything I had tried turned out to be mediocre at best. However, Ataula took me by surprised with its non-traditional tapas and it’s probably my favorite restaurant in the city.