La Tomatina
2 Park Street
T: 0117 302 0008
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La Tomatina, Café, Lounge And Tapas Bar
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4 stars

La Tomatina, the new kid on the block as far as Spanish tapas restaurants go, is the place to go on a Wednesday night as not only do they dish up some authentic tapas but there is a Flamenco Loco show thrown in for good measure. Mix this up with a jug of sangria or two and you have the Spanish vibe to set your feet tapping and your hands clapping in traditional flamenco time. The building at the bottom of Park Street once upon a time housed one of Bristol’s oldest recruitment agencies but La Tomatina’s cheerful red awnings and al fresco dining on the pavement outside has swept away formality and cheered up this little corner.

There is a wide choice of tapas dishes which range between £3.00 and £4.75, or if that doesn’t tickle you fancy you can order platters of Iberico cured meats or a selection of Spanish cheeses served with fig and almond cake, quince jelly and traditional artisan bread to share for £9.95/£8.95. A jug of sangria was our first order, and then we decided to take six tapas dishes and the platter of cheeses (mainly because I loved the sound of the fig and almond cake!). It was a difficult choice to find only six dishes as they all sounded so good but in the end we settled for lamb’s kidneys with sherry and shallots, tortilla, prawns fried in olive oil and garlic, chargrilled chicken and chorizo, pork and beef meatballs in tomato sauce, and Galician style octopus with olive oil and paprika.

A lively discussion ensued sparked off by the restaurant’s good choice of name "La Tomatina" which is a festival held in the small town of Bunol near Valencia ending in one almighty tomato throwing fight in the streets. Apparently this is becoming a popular place for stag nights but as you can imagine the girls aren’t so interested in being pelted with squashed tomatoes! Our tapas was served and it seemed rude not to have another jug of sangria as by now we were feeling Spanish to the very core. All of the dishes were delicious, my particular favourite being the platter of cheeses and the fig and almond cake and the lamb kidneys in sherry.

The lively and colourful Flamenco show was a great treat with superb guitar playing and wonderful dancing taking us back to our last Spanish holiday and the long hot summer nights spent under the stars. Seeing as the show is given for free to the diners, this makes an excellent good value night out which we enjoyed very much, a snip at around £30 per head.

Jacquie Vowles