Bale grabbed the world's attention when he tore Inter apart in the Champions League in their 2010 meeting and he was on target tonight as the Barclays Premier League side eased to a 3-0 win.
Bale nodded home Gylfi Sigurdsson's cross to put Spurs ahead after just five minutes and he set up Jan Vertonghen for the hosts' third after Sigurdsson himself had scored the second.
Last season's Champions League winners Chelsea turned in a poor display as they fell to a 1-0 defeat at Steaua Bucharest.
In what was the 50th game of a turbulent season, the Blues went behind after 34 minutes when Ryan Bertrand was penalised for pulling back Raul Rusescu, who converted the spot-kick.
Lazio put one foot in the quarter-finals with an accomplished 2-0 win at Stuttgart.
Given the Italians' imposing home form, Stuttgart knew they had to make gains on home turf but barely created a clear opening in slumping to defeat.
Goals in either half from Honorato Ederson and Ogenyi Onazi sealed the win for Lazio.
Fenerbahce are another team dreaming of the last eight after a 1-0 win at Viktoria Plzen.
The Czech hosts failed to hit their stride at any point in the contest and Pierre Webo's late strike for the Turkish visitors was fully deserved.
Basel's strong home form in Europe saw the Swiss side to a 2-0 win over Russian champions Zenit St Petersburg.
Marcelo Diaz scored in the 82nd minute after both sides had wasted a string of chances, and substitute Alexander Frei netted from the penalty spot in stoppage time after Luis Neto had seen red for a foul on Mohamed Salah.
Benfica defeated Bordeaux 1-0, an unfortunate own goal from goalkeeper Cedric Carasso proving the difference between the sides at the Estadio da Luz
The day's early kick-off in Moscow between Anzhi Makhachkala and Newcastle ended goalless.
Newcastle's Hatem Ben Arfa passed up the best chance of the contest on 64 minutes after being played in by Yohan Cabaye but could not beat Vladimir Gabulov with a chipped effort.
Levante and Rubin Kazan also played out a 0-0 draw in a match that saw both teams finish with 10 men.
The Spanish side had a chance to take control ahead of the second leg when Rubin's Cristian Ansaldi was given a second yellow card in the 53rd minute but they threw away the advantage almost immediately as Michel received a straight red card moments later.
Europa League round-of-16 first leg results