Step inside into one of
Vancouver's oldest Spanish restaurants,
for a night of authentic Spanish tapas and traditional
sangria. Located near the end of the Vancouver downtown
district close to the Granville Bridge, La Bodega is an easy
find. A mere two blocks away from Burrard Street and Davie,
La Bodega is a convenient restaurant to eat at if you plan
on visiting some of the club venues on Granville Street
later on in the evening.
known as one of the oldest restaurants, La Bodega is
famous for its sangria, which is offered
by the glass ($5.00), half pitcher ($12.00), or full pitcher
($18.00). One pitcher is enough for five glasses, a
half pitcher pours about three to four cups, and a glass is perfect
to sample if you're more inclined to try out their affordable
Spanish wines. Sangria is basically made
with the key ingredients of dry red wine, fresh juices of
oranges, lemons, and limes, and other various ingredients
depending on the maker (tequila, grand marnier, cognac, rum, red and white wine,
etc). At La Bodega, the jugs are presented with floating slices of crisp apples slices and
peels of fruit, intertwined with a wooden spoon and cubes of ice. Fruity and refreshing, sangria tastes
The Spanish tapas
are a perfect accompaniment to sangria. All the tapas
are separated as either sopas y ensaladas (soups and
salads), tapas frias (cold appetizers), tapas
calientes (hot tapas) or del campos (vegetables).
The salads and cold tapas are best appreciated before you
start into the alcohol. The majority of the
appetizers are clean tasting and refreshing with more subtle
flavours than the hot tapas. The post-sangria period
requires the heavier, stabilizing, tapas
calientes to overpower the influence of the hedonistic effects of this fruity punch. By the
end of the meal you should be close to a stable equilibrium point.
with the marinated black olives ($4.00), the house liver
pat� (pate frances
$5.00), and the romaine salad with La Bodega's house
dressing (ensalada verde $5.00) The olives were
plentiful, firm, and had the clean aftertaste of a simple
red wine. The house pat� frances was
a rough, rustic slab of rich pate, paired with soft white
bread. The green salad is deliciously addicting; crisp
romaine leaves are chopped into bite sizes pieces, tossed
with bits of crunchy croutons, and lightly covered with a
creamy dressing with intense notes of garlic and anchovy.
The tapas calientes are even better than the cold
tapas. The prawns in garlic sauce (gambas al ajillo
$8.00) were nicely piquant. One dish not to pass up on is
the calamari. Incredibly tender rings are encrusted in the
lightest of batters and served with a velvety garlic-based
dip (calamares $8.00). The marinated chicken (pollo
frito $6.00) in garlic and sherry was nice but a little
bland, and the patatas bravas ($4.00) were excellent,
smothered in a zesty tomato sauce. The enormous scallops are
served in large shells ($9.00) and should be ordered (when
available), as well as the white bean salad ($3.50), a
simple salad of cold beans in a light dressing. The fresh
mushrooms (champinones salteados $4.00) arrived
blisteringly hot and sizzling in garlic oil, and La Bodega's
specialty, the paella (paella de la casa),is a hearty
mix of mussels, clams, chunks of chicken and prawns and
savory saffron rice that was scrumptious.
Make sure to book
reservations on the weekends. The second floor is available
for large parties. Patio seating is available before 10
p.m., weather permitting.
Monday - Friday 4:30 p.m. to 12:00 a.m.
Saturday 5:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m.
Sunday 5:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Reviewed by: Christine G. Louie
Last reviewed: April 23, 2005