Thursday, April 19, 2012
La Bodega Restaurante & Tapa Bar, Howe Street
A close friend came back to Vancouver for a visit and we decided to have a feast on tapas at Howe Street. I must say that its been a LONG time since I had tapas so it was a welcome change and delight. One of the things I enjoy about eating tapas was that its really great way to share food with a group - you basically have a range of interesting food to savor - vegetarian, meat dishes and seafood. However, communal eating might be a challenge if individuals in your group have specific food allergies and dietary preferences. But it always can be managed and everyone can have a good meal and a great time. We ordered a wide spread and I was stuffed by the end of it. But of course, food always taste so much better when it comes with great company and fellowship. I had a blast!
The chorizo sausages were wonderful - they were supposed to be salty and went well with warm bread. It was moist and tender.
The baby artichokes with vinaigrette dressing was a welcome delight from the traditional salad dishes. I recommend this.
The grilled pork loin went extremely welcome with the bread. It was well seasoned. The pork was pretty tender.
The calamares were pretty average though - its a bit too chewy and not crispy enough - I do like the dip - it was green in colour. Not sure what was the mixture but one of the reasons, I ate so much of the calamares was because I was so enamored with the dip.
The chicken livers with chilpotles and cream was my least favorite dish. I much prefer eating pork liver rather than chicken liver though. Personally, this is a dish that I would not order again. I felt that the chicken liver was a bit dry and crumbly and the only saving grace was the sauce to soften the meat.
Arroz Blanco which is a rice and black olive dish was light and flavorful. The rice was pretty moist.
Top on my list, however is the seafood and sausages Spanish rice paella which had a lot of ingredients - shrimps, clams, sausages and spices. The rice itself was aromatic and was so flavorful, probably because of the infusion of spices and the rich ingredients.
A downside - the food can be pretty salty. Someone in the group commented on that but I was so famished I did not realize it until the end of the meal. I felt dehydrated when I got home. So, the high sodium factor was a minus point for me.
Deco: 3.5-4/5 - the restaurant had a warm and cozy feel. Great ambiance.
Quality of food: 3.5/5 - deducted points because of the high sodium
Value for $$: $$/5 - Some of the dishes are pretty pricey. But the thing that irk me the most was the service. One of my friends do not take seafood so we asked whether it is possible to substitute the seafood in the paella dish with something else. I guess it was not possible to do so because the restaurant cooked the tapas in bulk. However, the irritated look and response from the server annoyed me. She could have done a better job in explaining the situation to us.
Overall Experience: 3.5/5 - if I have to just evaluate the food and the overall service. 5/5 because of the wonderful friendship and fellowship!