Reviewed by Emma Bradley
We attended this smallish atmospheric restaurant on Deansgate in Manchester on a Wednesday evening and were pleasantly surprised to find it full to the rafters with a nice mixture of families, couples, business groups and groups of friends. The atmosphere was very relaxed as you would expect in a Spanish restaurant, it was helped that a good number of the staff are Spanish speaking so you receive a true Spanish experience.
The service was good throughout the meal even though they were so busy due to unprecedented demand on a pleasantly warm evening in Manchester. The seating is all inside with a number of different areas and seating arrangements. There is a bar with room to stand whilst waiting for your table to be prepared.
Once seated the waiting on staff were on hand to assist with choosing drinks whether it was from the wine list or a custom sangria. The recommended drinks were all very palatable and complemented the food well.
Every day the restaurant serves the standard tapas menu along with several blackboard specials which were all explained well by our waiter. They were also happy to suggest different dishes to compliment your choices without being pushy.
The food arrived after an acceptably short wait and was all hot and well cooked. We had selected several small dishes which we shared. By far the best dish was the special we had selected from the board, Pollo pedro, a chicken breast cooked in white wine and prune sauce. The other dishes we selected were:
Pan Del Dia – a selection of bread with olive oil and sherry vinegar reduction
Calamares – battered squid rings – after eating calamares in many tapas restaurants it was nice to find a dish that was perfectly cooked.
Presa Iberica – Succulent shoulder steak of pork – a juicy piece of pork with a mayonnaise based sauce
Costillas Marinadas – Paprika and garlic marinated ribs – well cooked, “fall-off” the bone ribs with a hot spicy tomato based sauce
Albondigas – Pork & beef meatballs in a mustard sauce
Patatas – squash and egg – fried potatoes with fried squash and a fried egg. Nice to see different options from the standard patatas bravas.
Croquetas de espinacas – creamy goats cheese and spinach croquets – a warm gooey filling with a crunchy outer.
Ensalade de Tomate – tomato salad with olive oil dressing
The meal was topped off by a serving of Churros (deep fried batter strips with a chocolate sauce).
Overall an enjoyable evening at a pleasant restaurant which we will be returning to, hopefully on a Thursday evening when they have live Flamenco in the restaurant. In addition, if you like the restaurant’s Facebook or Twitter pages whilst you are dining you will receive a free glass of sangria (see the promotion board outside of the toilets for details).
For more information. to view menus or book a table visit www.lavina.co.uk