Tapas is my favourite meal, no question about it. But tapas can vary so much, that you can’t always be sure what you’re going to get. As far as I’m aware, the traditional tapas is Spanish, but when trying to find a tapas bar near my home I stumbled upon several Indian tapas places. Due to my love of Mediterranean food though, I’m a Spanish tapas kinda girl so I passed.
My boyfriend and I have only tried tapas a couple of times in England, and it lived up to our expectations each time. So when his family suggested visiting a well-known tapas chain for dinner, we jumped at the chance. We’ve spotted La Tasca restaurants on our travels, but have never stopped in for a meal.
So, what kind of food can I expect there?
Tapas! Lots and lots of yummy Spanish tapas dishes! If you’ve not experienced the joy of tapas yet, the idea is that you order a few dishes per person and generally all tuck in. You don’t get a plate of food, instead the dishes come out individually and you just help yourself. We’ve been to places where they bring each dish once it’s cooked, so you get a stream of food, while other places bring all the dishes out at once. La Tasca brings all the dishes out at once, which I prefer because I like to save my favourite ‘til last, which I can’t do if they bring it out first.
La Tasca divides their menu into dishes from the sea, from the field and from the garden. In simple terms: seafood, meat and vegetarian dishes. They also offer breads, cold meats and pot dishes like paella and stews.
And the atmosphere?
We visited the restaurant in Windsor. I’ve not been to Windsor for years, and forgot how lovely it is there. La Tasca is housed in the old train station, and as such it’s not a closed away restaurant, but open with glass-topped screens sectioning it off. There’s a real feel of Spain in the restaurant, with a tiled ‘La Bodega’ sign on the wall, a piece of cured meat on a table on the side (don’t worry…it’s hygienically covered) and cases of wine in the alcoves. The candles on the tables add to the ambience, and it’s quite possible to forget that you’re actually in Windsor and not a quaint Spanish restaurant.
I always think the staff can make or break a restaurant, and everyone we saw was happy and extremely polite. The lovely guy who served us had the patience of a saint as everyone tried to tackle the menu as tapas newbies, and he never showed anysign of needing to be elsewhere or wanting us to hurry up, even though the place was plenty busy.
Anything to recommend?
Obviously a visit to this restaurant, but I’d also definitely recommend the Serrano ham, which comes out on a wooden slab. The Cataluna bread is a personal favourite, and I haven’t seen it on a tapas menu since we were in Barcelona. It’s basically just ciabatta bread with a fresh, delicious tomato dip. I’d love to have the receipe because I’d definitely make it at home. The paella looked nice, and the albondigas (meatballs) were in a sauce that was just…well…delicious! We also had the Pollo Marbella, which is chicken with chorizo in a white wine sauce. I’ve not had it before, but it’ll be on the list next time, as well as the standard patatas bravas (fried potato with a spicy tomato sauce) and tortilla españa (potato omelette).
Even though we visited a chain restaurant in England, I still feel like we had an authentic Spanish tapas experience. Maybe it was because it was a warm day, or the Spanish waiter, but the food here was nicer than I’d expected, and I’ll definitely be returning!
N.B. These are not my photos, and are taken from the La Tasca website. I’ll get some good pics on my return!