[CLOSED] Tapas Old World – Just Really Not That Great

When we heard there was a new tapas restaurant opening up in Springfield we were really, really excited.  For folks who like to try lots of things when they go to dinner, tapas restaurants are like nirvana.  Open for just a couple of months, Tapas Old World is a little Spanish Restaurant offering up a variety of Latin American dishes.  We had high hopes for another Spanish restaurant in town where we could get beautiful Latin American cuisine full of passion and flavor.  Alas, it wasn’t meant to be…..

We actually tried to visit Tapas Old World a month ago, but as we walked through the front door we realized that apparently the air conditioner was not working.  The restaurant was sweltering.  It was too hot for us to handle so we went next door to have dinner at one of our favorites, Uptown Market.  This week we went back hoping that the air conditioning was fixed so we could get a chance to try these Spanish tapas we’ve been so excited about.  This time when we walked in, the place wasn’t quite sweltering but it was clear they don’t use the air conditioning much.  We found a table directly under a fan and asked the waitress if she could turn the fan on for us.  She told me she would but never ended up doing so and we never ended up pressing the issue.  It has become a habit of mine to ask servers to answer two questions.  What are the most popular dishes on the menu?  What are your favorite dishes on the menu?  This gives me an idea as to what most people seem to think is good and also often turns up some of the unsung heroes of the menu in the servers’ personal choices.  When I asked those questions the waitress told me that the cheese plate was popular and the shrimp and pork skewers were also popular.  She then told me that the only thing that she’d really had on the menu were the salads.  She had only been working there a couple of weeks.  Obviously, if you are a newer restaurant your servers should have tasted a few of the dishes to be able to give your customers some guidance on what they might enjoy.  Aside from this issue and the failure to turn on the fan, our waitress seem to really care and provided us fairly good service.

Tapas Old World - Fruit and Cheese (but no bread)

Tapas Old World – Fruit and Cheese (but no bread)

We decided to order the cheese plate ($12) to start.  After we ordered the waitress brought out some bread and olive oil with spices.  I’m fairly sure they bought this bread at Publix.  No chance they made it.  It wasn’t good but at least it was warm.  There were four little pieces of bread and if you wanted more they charged you $1.50 for 4 more little pieces.  How chintzy can you get?  So we ate our four little pieces of bread with oil and waited for our cheese plate.  When the cheese plate arrived it was brie, manchego, and a third cheese I can’t seem to recall that was fairly basic as well.  They easily could’ve gotten this cheese at Publix as well.  In addition to cheese, the plate also included grapes and green olives.  As we got ready to dig into our cheese plate we realized the waitress never brought crostinis, bread, crackers, or anything else to eat the cheese with.  We asked the waitress if she could bring us some bread or crostinis to use in order to eat the cheese.  She said none came with the cheese plate and it would be another order of bread (4 little pieces of French bread) and it would be another $1.50.  Huh?????!!!!  We felt like we were being pranked or something.  So I spend $12 on a cheese plate which comes with cheese I could easily get at Publix and then you want another $1.50 for something to eat it with?  Is this real life?  So we paid $1.50 for a little more mediocre (at best) bread and ate our terrible cheese plate.

Next to try was the Sopa de Mariscos ($12).  This dish was a hearty seafood stew that looked beautiful as it was delivered to the table.  We were really excited to try it until we took one bite and realized how horribly the shrimp in the stew had been overcooked.  They were nearly impossible to chew and the rest of the stew was virtually inedible as well.  Rarely do we send a dish back or ask for it to be removed from the bill, but in this case when the waitress asked if we enjoyed it, we had to tell her that is was awful.  She took it back and we could hear her apologetically telling the chef that we said we couldn’t eat it, like she was scared he’d be angry or something.

Tapas Old World - Sopa de Mariscos

Tapas Old World – Sopa de Mariscos

Next we ordered the mussels, which ended up being okay.  They were neither good nor bad, but clearly that’s a large improvement over what we’d been served so far.  Last we tried the Puerco Asada ($13).  This roast pork dish came with mushrooms and white rice.  The pork was very very good.  It was full of flavor and very tender.  Unfortunately the white rice it was served with was in both taste and texture identical to minute rice.  Gross!  Normally we never leave a place we’re reviewing without ordering dessert, but in this case the meal had been so miserable we just couldn’t bring ourselves to stick around any longer.

Tapas Old World - Mussels

Tapas Old World – Mussels

Tapas Old World is without question one of the worst restaurants we’ve visited in Jax.  From lack of air conditioning to no bread with the cheese plate to minute rice, this place is as chintzy as it gets.  If you live in Springfield and you’re dying for Spanish Tapas grab some French bread, cheese, and minute rice at Publix and make the meal yourself.  At least you’ll have air conditioning while you eat.

Tapas Old World - Puerto Asada and Horrible Rice

Tapas Old World – Puerco Asada and Horrible Rice

  1. I’ve been there with two large groups and had great food both times. Large portions and good service, even with large groups. Sorry it didn’t work out on your trips there.

  2. I am sorry your experience was the bad,I don’t think many restaurants make there on bread,and for me if the bread was from publix it will be great is better that the frozen that most restaurants have,and the cheeses me being a chef I can tell you restaurants put the most famous that people now ,is a lot of people with not to much of experience and willing to try different foods,the rice I can promise it was not minute rice,but how I now the rice and sure you now the flavor better that me,in Europe we don’t have that!!,I think tapas old world is a good restaurant,with fresh food ,and 2 chefs that have a lot of passion for food,one bad review is nothing when you have more people that love they food.

  3. Wow, who died and made this guy food critic of the year? I have eaten at this place many times and food was never bad. First of all how does anyone online know to trust your review.his do we know your not paid by bigger companies to go around and dog every small restaurant, I’ve read your reviews and they all suck. Go eat in ponte vedra, or marsh landing, I’m sure they are more your taste.

  4. I usually don’t reply to ” food critics” like yourself. In this case I feel like I have to, not only because I live in Springfield and have been at Tapas plenty of times but also because I am a from Spain and I know my food. Let me just start with your “We had high hopes for another Spanish restaurant in town where we could get beautiful Latin American cuisine ”
    Latin American cuisine has absolutely nothing in common with Spanish cuisine..that just let’s me know how little you know about tapas or Spanish dishes from Spain!
    I remember them having an issue with the ac, they had to close a couple of days while fixing, but the temperature issue could be caused by a body/ fat percentage issue…some people just tend to be hot all the time.
    I was a waitress while in college. A waitress should be able to recommend popular dishes and explain the menu, that does not mean that they have tried every plate on the menu.
    About the bread…most restaurants don’t make their own bread…com’on be real!
    About the cheese…as a “food critic” you should know how expensive imported cheeses are ( ie: Manchego, at $15 per pound)
    Assuming bread should be free let’s me know that you have sent a plate back and have asked to remove it from the bill plenty of times before.
    Taste is key. What you like I may not like…that does not necessarily mean it is bad food.
    By reading some of your reviews I come to believe you are a bit of a bully when it comes to “critiquing” small family restaurants.. (ie: you don’t seem to care about the $14 you paid for 2 pieces of cheese at candy apples?.. or it may be that Mr. Lemonis could sue your as# in a heartbeat??)
    In any case I hope ” food critics” like you take into account how destructive generalized comments like the ones you make can be for a small business.
    Hey can you fry an egg..??
    It was fun critiquing your article. Mr “un-named food critic”

  5. Had a wonderful dinner there today. Portions substantial and food is delicious. Staff was very attentive and we will be back! Happy to have them in my neighborhood!

  6. You are a food critic? This article should be taken down.

    Spanish food has nothing to do with latin american food. So don’t be expecting a Latin American flare at a Spanish restaurant…

  7. The food is Spanish. Not Latin American. You don’t eat cheese with crackers in Spain. Sorry you didn’t like it, but this is authentic Spanish, and I don’t get the impression that was what you were looking for. This is an excellent Spanish restaurant with authentic Spanish food. Having just returned from Spain, I can’t wait to go back to Tapas Old World.

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