I lived in Spain for one year so I know tapas. Solea tries to do Spanish tapas but fails most of the time. The good news is the simple stuff is good. The red sangria is nice and spicy, and the tortilla espanola is pretty solid but it’s hard to mess up an egg omelet w potatoes.
Now for the bad news. The white sangria is horribly flavorless. The quality of the shrimp in the gambas ajillo (garlic shrimp) is not very good, and has a metallic, not so fresh taste to them. The garlic and oil is hot and sizzling but extremely oily. If the shrimp were fresh then maybe the dish works but definitely not the quality gambas ajillo you’d find in Spain.
We had a sausage and fig dish that was poorly executed and pretty disgusting. The sauce that came with this dish was a thick fig mollasses consistency, along with heavy sausage, made one bad marriage of flavors.
The customer service at Solea is always bad. The bartender behind the bar is rude, and only talks to the locals and ignores you if you’re new. The hostesses are always looking at their phones and don’t have the passion for the job to serve the customer. Our last waiter was literally dripping with sweat when he came with our food. (apparently the restaurant is understaffed so they had the poor guy working too many tables).
Solea is yet another example of a gorgeous looking restaurant that does one or two things just right in this case the Sangria and the staple, Tortilla Espanola, but underwhelms big time in all of the other departments, and yet manages to take a lot of your money.
Couple this with bad service and Solea underwhelms, and doesn’t do Spain justice. Two stars. Dos Estrellas