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Food

Cocktail Quickies: Next Door Tapas Lounge

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Photo of Next Door Tapas interior by Zach Behrens for LAist
Next Door Tapas is a swanky and intimate little lounge in Studio City, perfect for a weekend or late evening bite -- just don't plan on being there before 6pm. Despite the 5pm opening that's advertised on most review websites, we showed up at 5:30 only to find half-dressed tables and an unready staff. The wine menu was quick to arrive once we were seated, however, and we found the lounge to be a relaxing environment for a romantic rendezvous (well, up until the large party of cougars showed up, but whatevs).

Located "next door" to La Loggia on Ventura Boulevard, Next Door purports to offer a laid-back space for pre- or post-dinner cocktails and small bites, with a sorta-Spanish tapas menu that includes cheese platters, charcuterie, salad cups, various croquettes and ham-and-cheese pockets, and sundry other pricey munchies. There's also an extensive wine list, and our waiter was more than happy to sit down and explain some of the subtler differences of various Spanish wines. Our service was sluggish to start -- blame the early hour, I guess? -- but we did enjoy a leisurely meal with prompt delivery of each dish.

Our wine was fantastic -- a tasty Grenache, at a reasonable price, that went down very smoothly. The tapas, while delicious, were not so reasonably priced for the portion size. $8 for two button-sized beef sliders? How about $11 for two frittura di langoustines -- each piece of shellfish literally a single bite? The jamon paquetitos, little triangles of deeply flavored ham and cheese, were a more satisfying dish for a mere $7, but the food was overall far too pricey.

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The final verdict? Next Door Tapas is a nice place to pop in for a few nibbles and a great glass of wine on your way to somewhere else in the neighborhood, but for an early evening meal, it's probably not the biggest bang for your buck.