If food is about community (and you know it is), it’s easy to understand why I’m so drawn to Cafe Aion. In its five years since opening on the Hill in Boulder, the restaurant has always focused on tapas and large-format dishes (the fried cauliflower with saffron yogurt and the paellas are staples). But now chef-owner Dakota Soifer has reworked the dinner menu to include even more shareable plates. “I think it’s the sharing that has made Cafe Aion such a lively place,” Soifer says. “People love hanging out at the bar, and passing tapas around. Big parties always seem to grow more animated when paellas arrive on the table.”

This is Soifer’s first substantial menu upgrade since 2010, and there are now more than two dozen tapas in the line-up. Most are priced under $8, so you can fill the table with a banquet of culinary surprises. Choose from lighter dishes like the earthy roast organic beets with feta, mint, and sliced almonds or the warm egg cazuela baked with organic spinach and caramelized onion (both pictured). Then move to heartier dishes such as the Moroccan spiced pork sliders with spiced yogurt; Manila clams with house-smoked chorizo and preserved lemon; or my personal favorite: the briny boquerónes (white anchovies) with lemon, rosemary, and shallots.

Tip: Go on a Tuesday evening when you can pair your feast with happy hour specials (like $2 house-made sangría) that run all night.

1235 Pennsylvania Ave., Boulder, 303-993-8131