I continue to claim “Bodega” as my favourite tapas spot for authenticity of food and setting. So when looking for a place for dinner in the area, I found myself leading my guest in their direction. I love the rustic look of their Spanish posters and red gingham napkins, and how dressed up and romantic they feel with the lights down low for dinner. Although they keep things causal with their staff and their more laid back approach and dress code.
For the more detailed review of their interior and to get a feel of the restaurant’s vibe, click on the link to read my first visit recap. I also tried a few more dishes then and there then in this revisit.
We started with their house marinated mixed olives. They were perfectly briny, without being too salty. Each was firm around the pit and made for a meaningful bite, followed by a smoky finish. I appreciated the variety in colours and sizes, but naturally the larger green ones were the preferred pick.
This evening I was with a more adventurous diner, so we found ourselves ordering their more unique dishes. Like the “Lengua estofada” which is beef tongue, prepared with tomato, onions, and capers. I am a fearless eater, but there is just something about tongue meat (tongue flesh?) that I can’t stomach. I can’t get over the weird sensation of chewing on tongue with your tongue. Although the meat of it was fairly tender, and not at all tough or muscular as you’d expect, feeling your own. The sauce helped me finish my piece with its deep spice, and the stewed tomato offered up a different texture to help disguise. This is a great way to try tongue for the first time, but not one I would go back for more of. I had one piece out of four and that was enough.
Whereas I would come back just for the “Chipirones”. This is sautéed baby squad in a garlic and wine sauce. Each piece was super tender and full of flavour. Easy to chew with a great charred flavour. Honestly the best squid dish I have had to date. I just wish I didn’t have to share it.
Following it with the “Conejo riojana” was a bad idea. This was slow cooked rabbit in a tomato and wine sauce, and it was bland compared to the other dishes above. The texture and taste was like that of fried chicken, coated in a runny juice. I would have liked it without the sauce or at least a thicker tomato paste instead. Sadly the potato side was the more memorable note to this plate.
Would I come back? – Yes.
Would I line up for it? – Yes.
Would I recommend it? – Yes.
Would I suggest this to someone visiting from out of town? – Yes.
Despite a two out of two for dishes enjoyed, my original assessment of them stands. They have a winning combination of clean and simple food in a dark and rich environment. A great place to sit and catch up at, or the one for a casual dinner date. My new favourite spot for tapas. Make sure you visit with the attention to pair your food with Spanish wine. Don’t deny your cravings.
1014 Main Street, Vancouver BC, V6A 2W1