Qype: Salvador and Amanda in London

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If you love eating out and haven’t got a Taste Card yet, you absolutely must. Salvador and Amanda is one of the places where you get 50% off food Monday-Thursday so that’s how we discovered this place, which is a stone’s throw from Covent Garden and Leicester Square stations.

This is one of the few tapas bars I’ve been to in the UK that has a genuinely Spanish feel to it. It’s underground, it’s candlelit, it’s warm, it’s ambient and throughout our entire meal we were accompanied by a guy playing Spanish guitar on a little bandstand in the middle of the restaurant. All of which made for an incredibly pleasant dining environment.

Inside Salvador and Amanda, London

I’m not ashamed to say that between four of us we TOTALLY pigged out, ordering the Tortilla Española, Patatas Bravas, stuffed peppers, mini tuna pies, grilled queen half shell scallops with crispy Iberico ham, pan-fried baby chorizo, meatballs in tomato sauce, chicken wings roasted in lemon and chilli, chicken breast wrapped in Serrano ham… oh, and a lovely bottle of wine: the Terrassa Tempranillo Spain 2009.

The best bit? With our Taste Card discount, all of that cost us £19.50 a head. Not half bad for dinner in central London, eh?

The only downside of the place was that the service was a little slow, despite it not being that busy. We had to walk up to the bar every time we wanted to get the attention of a member of staff and our dishes were all served randomly and at different times. However, seeing as we got such a great bargain on the Taste Card, we didn’t make a fuss. I wouldn’t have been so happy to overlook it had we been paying the full price of about £40 per head though.

Web: www.salvadorandamanda.com

Menu: www.salvadorandamanda.com/menus/food.html

Check out my review of Salvador and Amanda – I am Alice_Reeves – on Qype

Qype: Almendro 13 in Old Madrid

madridEating & DrinkingRestaurantsTapasEating & DrinkingRestaurantsSpanish

Outside Almendro 13

This place came highly recommended by our ‘Top 10 Madrid’ tour guide as one of the best places to eat and drink in Old Madrid, so on our first evening in this city we knew nothing about, we decided to track it down and sample its Tapas and Vinos Finos.

We arrived here at about 8pm and sat ourselves in the basement as the upstairs was starting to get busy. We got there at just the right time, as within about 15 minutes the place absolutely packed without a table to spare. Dimly lit over two levels with a highly traditional, rustic feel of Old Madrid about the place, this is a great place to soak up the atmosphere of the city. Almendro 13 is also great value for money, despite the horrendousness of the Pound to Euro exchange rate at the moment.

Our delicious patatas fritas-based supper

One of the first things you realise about Spain is that when you order ‘Patatas Fritas’ on any menu, you can never be quite sure what you’re going to get: cubed fried potatoes, French fries, chips… or hot crisps. Bizarrely, the tapas menu we ordered from here revolved around the latter. Sounds a bit odd, looks a bit odd, but is fantastically tasty.

The second thing we were very quick to realise is that the bars and restaurants worth going to (i.e. the ones that aren’t overpriced and geared towards tourists) don’t tend to print their menus in English. So after an amusing exchange of sign language with an extremely friendly and helpful waitress, we established that ‘pimienta’ is pepper, ‘huevo’ means egg, ‘lomo’ means pork and ordered accordingly. We also made sure to sample the ‘jamon iberico’, which is quite pricey but worth it.

Almendro 13's very own white wine

For drinks, we ordered their very own white wine – Vina Almendro 13 – which we drank from tiny double measure shot glasses; not sure why, but it was certainly a novel way to enjoy this is delicious, crisp, fruity wine.

If you ever find yourself in Old Madrid of an evening, Almendro 13’s atmosphere, food and wine comes very highly recommended. Just don’t forget your Spanish to English menu decoder!

Check out my review of Almendro 13 – I am Alice_Reeves – on Qype

Qype: El Mexicano in Brighton

BrightonEating & DrinkingRestaurantsMexican

This place has a great location on New Road – probably my favourite street in Brighton to sit outside in the sunshine. I’ve never eaten here in the evenings, but they do a fabulous lunch deal: two tapas and a glass of wine for £5.95.

Last time I went here, I had the paella and the Spanish omelette – the perfect sized portion (and price) for a light lunch. Considering that a glass of wine is between £3.50-£5 depending on where you go in the city, this is absolutely crackin’ value for central Brighton.

The wine is good, the location is fabulous and the food is authentic and tasty. What more could you ask for when you’re a wannabe lady wot lunches?

Check out my review of El Mexicano – I am Alice_Reeves – on Qype