Food + Dining Main

Dining Review: Time to Eat

A new eatery in Cape Coral treats diners to some very tasty Spanish-style tapas.

BY September 30, 2015


Tapas can be tricky. they’re ideally suited to the Spanish lifestyle—a late lunch followed by a siesta and then a few light bites in the evening—but here in the United States, it can be hard to know how to order the small plates. Time to Eat in Cape Coral is an excellent place to get the hang of it. The restaurant offers a variety of tapas, along with other Spanish and Mediterranean-inspired dishes. During a recent dinner there, my dining companion and I arrived famished and immediately turned to the tapas menu.

“Ceviche is my favorite,” my friend said of the refreshing dish, a nouveau pick with Peruvian roots.

I told the waiter, “We’ll have the ceviche.”

Octopus with potato and paprika

“I love octopus, too,” my friend said.

The waiter wrote this down.

“How about la Rioja Spanish sausage in red wine with French fries?” I asked.

My friend nodded enthusiastically. “And the Serrano ham?”

“For just a little bit more, you might as well get the meat and cheese plate,” the waiter said, pointing to the menu. “It comes with Serrano ham, beef ham, Spanish chorizo, brie and manchego.”

I looked at my friend. She raised her eyebrows. The more meat the better in our book—and what better place to try beef cured like ham?

When the food arrived, it made for a startling spread.

“You must be a food reviewer,” the waiter said. “Only a food reviewer would order like that.”

I gave him my best Who, me? expression of denial before he shuffled off to another table. “Hungry people order like that, too!” I wanted to add.

The ceviche ($9) combined fish, mussels and clams in olive oil with capers and red and green peppers. The octopus ($13) arrived steaming, cut into thin rounds and served with sliced boiled potatoes sprinkled with paprika. The sausage in red wine ($6) had a satisfying richness. Still, the star of the tapas was the meat and cheese plate ($18). The chorizo and beef ham were both full of complex flavors, and the thinly sliced Serrano had a melting delicacy that made me think of salted butter.

Serrano and beef hams, Spanish chorizo, and brie and manchego cheeses

Speaking of salt, several of the dishes had a touch too much for my taste. But just as I was sharing this thought with my companion, the table next to us asked the waiter for a saltshaker.

Time to Eat’s wine menu focuses mostly on Spain, Portugal and South America and offers a range of price points. With all that salted meat, though, a carafe of chilled sangria ($12) turned out to be just the thing.

A Spanish patron would have known when to call it quits, but my friend and I are American, and I find it impossible not to order a main course. So we split the evening’s special, skirt steak over risotto ($28). The meat was cooked to a perfect medium, and the risotto was simmered with porcini mushrooms and chorizo. To quote the waiter’s accurate assessment: “A lot of flavor going on there.” The dish was delicious, and we were glad we ordered it.

Time to Eat interior

Time to Eat’s décor has an upscale urban vibe with chrome detailing. The one drawback is the acoustics: The floor is tiled and voices echo against the high ceiling. At one point in the meal, I laughed at something my friend said, and the sound ricocheted off the walls. People at other tables turned to stare.

By the time we’d finished the steak, dessert felt like a challenge. “We’ll order one with two forks and one in a to-go box,” my friend said.

It was the right decision. The dessert with two forks—crepes filled with whipped cream and sugared coconut ($5)—was a cloudlike dream. We stole a bite from the dessert in the box, a cheesecake with a blueberry drizzle ($5). It was not too heavy, not too sweet, and the blueberries offered a nice zing.

If you’re looking to try your hand at the Spanish lifestyle, or at least its many small plates, Time to Eat is just the spot.


Time to Eat   

1311 Del Prado Blvd. S., Cape Coral, (239) 573-6360, Open Tuesday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday 4-10 p.m. Closed Monday. Wheelchair-accessible. Reservations encouraged. 


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