The infamous “they” claim that some things are worth the wait, and with months of tantalizing buzz building, the long-delayed opening of chef/restaurateur Michael Serpa’s Iberian-accented Atlántico definitely falls into that category. Serpa, famed for the Back Bay’s Select Oyster Bar and the on-hiatus Grand Tour, took over the spot formerly occupied by the spacious, award-winning Southern Proper with plans to unveil his seafood-focused tapas establishment in April, which, naturally, met with inevitable delays due to the pandemic. The now-open Atlántico—the menu of which was inspired by the simple preparations Serpa encountered on a trip to Spain—has a raw bar selection featuring crudo and oysters, while both hot and cold small plates such as pan con tomate (tomato and garlic on pressed toast) and croquetas de bacalao (salt cod croquettes with squid ink aioli) showcase the bold flavors of lightly adorned fish, meat and vegetables. Larger meals—like paella (pictured), of course—and “a la plancha” options that include octopus, razor clams and more, round out the selections. As a perfect accompaniment, the bar pours both Portuguese and Spanish vintages. Weekend brunch, as well as a daily café menu offering pastry from the nearby Café Madeleine and java from Ipswich’s Little Wolf Coffee Roasters, is also available both indoors and out at this strong newcomer to the always-happening South End scene.