Ataula is the place for those seeking adventure in their own backyard—one that will carry you away to Barcelona—along with a friend or three who might want to come along. On any given night, you'll see raucous groups spanning all ages stopping in for Spanish and Pacific Northwest-inspired small plates created by a third-generation Spanish chef with experience in Michelin-starred restaurants.

We made quick work of the pa amb tomaquet ($6), a crispy house coca bread with shredded tomato and extra virgin olive oil, and the xupa-xup ($3), a cantimpalo chorizo-stuffed goat cheese and membrillo morsel served on a wooden stick.

Up next was the xeese ($12), a perfectly formed sphere of sheep's cheese served with a cornmeal cracker dusted in porcini powder, fig mostarda and pine nuts. Eating it requires some instruction—pop the entire sphere into your mouth and snack on the sides as it melts, filling your palate with the mild nuttiness of the cheese. Delicate, lacy breading on the croquetas ($9) surrounded steaming hot cod best dipped in a house-smoked piquillo aioli.

Pro tip: Don't be shy or intimidated by all the plates and order the paella Ataula ($39). It's flavorful and substantial and you'll most definitely find room by the time it gets to your table.

GO: 1818 NW 23rd Place, 503-894-8904,, 4:30-10 pm Tuesday-Sunday