Originating in Spain, the term tapa translates to a cuisine of small dishes traditionally consisting of olives, meats, and cheeses. This meal presentation has since been Americanized and, in our case, veganized.
Whether you’re heading out for a cocktail with friends or just some great conversation paired with a plant-based appetizer, we’ve compiled a list of the vegan shareables downtown Kalamazoo has to offer.
116 Portage Street
Known for its Latin-Caribbean small plates and impressive tequila selection, Casa Bolero offers unique culinary creations and flavorful margaritas. The menu is easy to navigate. Look for the (ve) indicator for vegan options. Vegan small plates include: Grilled Artichokes and Chickpeas, Grilled Vegetable Stack when ordered without cheese, Avocado Fritters, Tableside Guacamole, and various salsas served with chips.
125 S. Kalamazoo Mall
With Southern-inspired dishes, this jazz bar seems far from the traditional tapas definition. That being said, we couldn’t go without mentioning the impressive Spinach and Black-Eyed Pea Cakes. The Union also offers easily-tweaked salads such as the Watermelon Salad (ordered without feta), as well as hearty vegan entrees. Check out our previous post to learn about other vegan goodies offered by Millennium restaurants.
Kalamazoo Beer Exchange
211 E Water St.
This stock-exchange-style bar offers a rotating selection of worldly beers and a food menu with many plant-based bar plates. Try the Roasted Garlic Hummus served with veggies or order the Rolls and Wraps, but ditch the rolls and double up on the wraps (wonton rolls contain egg). Feeling something a bit hardier? Give the Harvest Burger a try, or play around with the Green Things section as KBE offers tofu as a salad add-on.
Fandango Tapas Bistro
247 S Kalamazoo Mall
With Spanish emphasis, Fandango serves up tapas true to their origin. With vegan options including Mixed Olives, Roasted Vegetable Mix, and Grilled Asparagus with Roasted Pepper, these dishes are sure to provide a trip to the Mediterranean coast for your taste buds. With small tweaks, salads and other offerings can be made vegan, just ask your server.
Bell’s Eccentric Café
355 E Kalamazoo Ave.
This brewery-café combo offers an eclectic menu with inspired dishes including the Red Pepper Hummus appetizer served with pita and vegetables. This tapa pairs perfectly with good conversation and a vegan brew.
Fuze Kitchen and Bar
214 E Michigan Ave.
Described as “fresh modern”, this new-to-Kalamazoo restaurant, offers a few easily-tweaked small plates to share. Try the Fried Cauliflower without the sesame tuile and/or the Pan Fried Brussels without tonnato for a vegan appetizer worth sharing.
Tapas can be ordered individually, or in conjunction with others to create a full meal. These small plates encourage sharing and conversation. Be sure to let us know what your favorite vegan tapas are!