Tapas, appetizers or what we now call shareable plates provide the flexibility to eschew the entree and craft an affordable, eclectic meal. Looking to kill time before a concert? Split a few plates with friends. Want a variety of flavors without a prohibitive price tag? Build your own menu. There’s no shortage of South Bay establishments that stand out for their fractional cuisines. Listed here are some of our food critic’s favorite places for small bites and tasty drinks.

By Ngoc Ngo

Pictured: BIRDS FLYING HIGH  Paper Planes’ croque madame hits on multiple levels.

Visit SanJose.com’s Dining section or more Silicon Valley restaurants.