On my recent trip to Berlin and Potsdam, my family took me out for Spanish tapas. Having had many great tapas in Spain, I was a bit skeptical how a German restaurant would keep up to my high standards. Many restaurants try to offer varieties of these small Spanish plates, but all too often they are just boring, not especially tasteful sundries of unexciting dishes.
Good tapas to me require two things, the first being highest qualities of the ingredients. Authentic tapas can be as simple as a plate of Manchego cheese or Serrano ham – if these are of outstanding quality nothing else is needed to satisfy even spoiled tastebuds. Especially warm plates should top that with surprising flavor combinations – ideally balancing the often heavy ingredients with lighter flavors – for example chorizo cooked in Calvados.
Mea culpa, located in the beautiful old town of Potsdam (Dortustrasse 1), definitely knows about good tapas. They offer a variety of cold and hot plates. Their cheeses and hams were tasteful, raising my expectations for the tapas to follow. Having my whole family with me I was fortunate enough to be able to try most of their dishes on the menu. Among my favorites were the lamb chops with a rosemary crust, the mushrooms “au gratin” filled with spinach, the chickpeas in a delicious tomato sauce, and their gambas.
We combined our great meal with a 2004 Can Blau, a heavy red wine from Catalonia that turned out to be a true jewel and the perfect combination with the tapas.
Even though I still prefer to have tapas in their homeland Spain and never get tired of the great tapas places in Barcelona, this restaurant in my home town certainly deserves to be added to the list of great tapas places.