La Vina, Deansgate

How do you like to prep for a vacation?

Leg wax? Holiday shop? Buying those tiny bottles of shampoo and holding them whilst pretending to be a giant? (Me neither).

For me, it’s all of the above with one delicious addition.

A trip to one of my favourite restaurants.

Prior to my upcoming Barcelona trip, I made time to pop into La Vina; my go-to for Spanish tapas, to wet my appetite for all of the glorious food my friends had promised.

We were seated by the large front window, the sun warming our shoulders as we sipped at the dangerously good Sangria.

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Munching at garlic brushed bread and caramelised almonds as we perused the menu.

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Oh! And aioli…

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Lots of aioli.

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These are ideal snacks if you’re planning on just sticking around for drinks. The bread comes hot from the oven, dripping in garlic butter providing the perfect bed for lashings of aioli.

And the almonds? Order two lots, I nearly bit my friends hand when he stole the last handful.

We placed our tapas order and got back to catching up.

The restaurant was abuzz with chatter and laughter; exceptionally busy for a Thursday, only few tables were free with the majority taken up by excitable patrons, licking their lips at the savoury aromas which escaped from the kitchen.

Our order came in good time, the waiter groaning under the weight of the serving tray as he delivered what I like to call…the beige but beautiful round.

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Potatoes two ways, croquetas dos and meatballs – have you ever heard of a more divine collaboration?

The Patatas Bravas feature some marvellously chipped potatoes, fluffy with the softest of crunches and smothered in tomato and aioli.

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Goats cheese croquetas – a Special of the Day. If they’re on the board when you go, order them; they’re indescribably scrummy.

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Spanish Black Pudding with Potatoes

Definitely a delight, but I ached for more of that soft black pud. Thankfully, the potatoes were there to provide some delicious comfort.

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Albondigas

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The meatiest of meatballs, soft, flavourful and moan-inducingly good. I don’t know what sauce they had been cooked in, all I knew is I wanted to be in a bath of it.

Chicken croquetas

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Straight from the fryer, served piping hot with a satisyingly-crisp outer shell.

Bite through its golden coat to meet the soft chicken filling, mixed with moreish flavours of onion and garlic – excellent when served on a dollop of aioli.

Almost fit to bust, we made our final order of the evening…

Paella!

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Clams, mussels, prawns and calamari with rice perfectly spiced and coloured a beautiful bright yellow.

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Ignoring the protests of my trouser button, we hungrily devoured the dish leaving only the shells behind.

Fantastico!

La Vina has a fine range of tapas plates to appease all diners. It can get busy even in the week so book here before you go.

More stuffed than a goats cheese croqueta, I left La Vina even more excited for my holiday than before.

Only three more sleeps to go!

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