Restaurants Head-to-Head in Mississauga: Tapas
Spice Lounge Vs. 229
Welcome to Restaurants Head-to-Head, a new column where we compare two restaurants in Mississauga with similar cuisines and rank them based on taste, menu, service, atmosphere and uniqueness.
Today, we're comparing two hot nightlife hotspots in Port Credit, tapas restaurants 229 and Spice Lounge. Let us break the dining experience down so you can decide which app-style establishment is perfect for your next night out.
Spice Lounge, located in the heart of Port Credit at Lakeshore and Stavebank, has some truly memorable gems. The truffle mushroom croquettes (fried balls of mushroom risotto), the meat and cheese board and the Patatas Bravas (potato wedges garnished with smoked paprika and spicy tomato sauce and served with whipped garlic aioli) are all tasty, with the Patatas Bravas being an especially savory treat. The Serrano ham and chorizo are also worth trying.
229, a little further east on Lakeshore, offers pupusas -- traditional Salvadorian delights featuring a corn tortilla filled with anything from cheese to pork to refried beans. These, plus the various tacos and incredibly soft ceviche (white fish marinated in lime), keep the restaurant's offerings particularly unique.
Although Spice Lounge has more variety, the pupusas and ceviche put 229 over the top.
Spice Lounge has an extensive bar and food menu and serves up some refreshing, if not super sweet, sangria. It has extensive meat, seafood and vegetarian options. Perfect for almost any diner.
229 has some unique options, but not as much variety as Spice Lounge.
Spice Lounge wins for presenting more options.
Spice Lounge tends to get packed in the evenings, but the servers never fail to remain attentive. They're also knowledgeable about the origins of the food and were able to tell us where they source their cured meats.
229, also a popular late night spot, offers patrons on-point service with friendly, attentive and knowledgeable staff.
We're calling this one a tie.
Spice Lounge: $4 to $32
229: $4 - $14
When it comes to after-hours fun, atmosphere is almost (just almost) everything. Spice Lounge succeeds in spades, making the most of its modest space with elegant stone, red accents, sexy mood lighting and a chic backlit bar. The high tables and dim lights scream, "date night" and they have live (but non-intrusive) music. It's perfect for late night drinks and apps for both friends and couples.
229, also occupying a modest space, offers diners a more rustic, casual vibe. The resto is set up for drinking, with the bar proudly occupying almost an entire half of the dining room. It's all about fun at 229 and we can appreciate that, but when it comes to wow factor, Spice Lounge pulls ahead.
Spice Lounge sets itself apart with its extensive and varied menu, sophisticated wine and drink list and subtly sexy European atmosphere.
229 offers diners something that's lacking in the city -- authentic Central American cuisine. Their dishes are savory, memorable and filling and their vibe encourages guests to loosen up and pair their cocktail with a little light-your-mouth-on-fire house-made hot sauce.
Winner: It's hard to pick a winner because each resto offers a different experience. When it comes to romance, Spice Lounge is perfect. When it comes to a party, 229 is your best bet. Another tie.
Both restos offer patrons something special. Spice Lounge is an elegant, higher-end dining experience and 229 is a foray into fun ethnic cuisine.
Spice Lounge, however, boasts a slightly better location in a more walkable area of the city, making it a great stop after a day of sightseeing and shopping.
If you want to wow your date, friends or co-workers, Spice Lounge might be a slightly better option.
What you have to try in each:
Meat and Cheese Board
Chorizo Sausage and Serrano ham with mixed artisan cheeses and preserves.
Photos courtesy of Wil Yeung Photography