La Bodega is a pretty popular Spanish tapas restaurant in Downtown Vancouver. They offer lots of hot and cold dishes of different sizes. For some of the dishes, like the paella, you can get a tapas sized one or a full sized one. The place is cozy and pretty rustic looking.
On many occasions, you are given bread and butter (Pan y Mantequilla) to start, but here you actually have to pay $2.50 for it, but they ask if you want some first. On our first batch of food, we ordered Patatas Bravas ($6.50), Pollo Frito ($7.50), Pincho Moruno ($8.95), Albondigas ($7.95), Chorizo Casero ($7.50), Pimiento Relleno ($8.95), and a full order of Paella ($22.95).
The Patatas Bravas are their famous potatoes, with zesty dressing. It was actually served with a bunch of the other dishes that we got, so we probably didn’t have to order this. The potatoes were cooked through, and the sauce was zesty, with a tiny bit of spice. It would be really good if they broiled it and made it crispy first. The Pollo Frito were just breaded and fried chicken wings. It’s supposed to have a garlic and sherry flavour, but I didn’t really pick any of that up. It was rather plain, but cooked and seasoned well. The wings were very crisp. Pincho Moruno were grilled beef skewers with green peppers and onions. The beef’ was cubed fairly big, and cooked to a perfect medium. It was pretty good while still hot, but got harder to chew as it cooled down (we ordered too much food!). Albondigas are Spanish meatballs served in a tomato sauce. The meatballs were very tender, but a bit too tender, that they easily fell apart. The taste was OK, but I definitely prefer the Kobe meatballs from Glowbal. Chorizo Casero is a cured spicy pork sausage that they fried up. I eat quite a bit of Chorizo at home due to Filipino’s Spanish influence, so this wasn’t really anything out of the ordinary. In fact, I’m not that big of a fan of it. It tasted just like any other Chorizo that we buy from a store. Quite expensive for a single link to be served and sliced for $7.50 though. Pimiento Relleno is a baked red bell pepper stuffed with a rice and pork mixture. The rice is very soft, but it needs to be if it’s stuffed in the pepper. The pepper was tender and sweet. I didn’t really enjoy the dish though, as it didn’t have much flavour.
On the second round, we grabbed some Boquerones Fritos, and Black Sausage. Beipas really wanted to try Anchovies (since we’ve been doing so many Jamie Oliver meals). She found out that the fried anchovies are really similar to what they often order at Chinese restaurants. They were crisp, and nice. Not as salty we typically think they are. The Black Sausage was OK. It’s stuffed with rice, and blood. I’m not a big fan of hardened blood, and you could really taste it with some bites.
The Paella came last because it does take about 40 minutes to cook. By this time, we were all full, and we probably should have gotten the tapas style which was $10 cheaper. The paella came with shrimp, mussels, clams, chicken and some pork with a saffron rice. It was served in the pan that it was cooked with so a lot of the bottom was stuck, with firmer rice for those that like it. The main complaint is that it was too salty. If they added another cup of rice it would be perfect.
Overall it was OK. Nothing really stood out for me to rave about, and it did get pretty expensive, as we paid almost $40 per person after tax and tip.
1277 Howe St