Mini-Review: La Bodega

Every few months, I get together with a group of girlfriends for a girl's night out full of gossip, chit chat and good laughs. This time we went to La Bodega, a long time Vancouver establishment for Spanish food and tapas.

I'm partial to tapas...I love trying out a variety of tastes in a meal. So the appetizer sized portions of tapas allows one to order several dishes to sample and share.

La Bodega is known as the original Spanish restaurant in Vancouver. Having never been to Spain, I can't comment on authenticity, but the food here seems more rustic than other local tapas bars and they don't shy away from more traditional ingredients.

The four of us dined on a variety of seven hot and cold tapas. We particularly enjoyed the calamares with garlic mayonnaise, gambas al ajillo (prawns in garlic oil) and patatas bravas (pan fried potato cubes with a zesty sauce). They often serve tapas sized portions of paella, a traditional rice dish flavoured with saffron and packed with meat and seafood. One of the specials of the night was stuffed whole squid cooked in squid ink... unfortunately my less adventurous dining buddies declined the experience.

By the end of the meal, we had shared 2 half pitchers of white sangria (a light alternative to sangria made with red wine) and 3 desserts. The total came to just under $80 not including tax.

La Bodega, 1277 Howe Street, 684-8814/5
Reservations recommended for large parties or on weekends