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“Wow is in Ambiance - Food Not Far Behind”

La Bodega del Riojano
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Ranked #12 of 643 Restaurants in Santander
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Spanish
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine
Dining options: After-hours, Breakfast, Reservations
Perth, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
840 reviews
515 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 298 helpful votes
“Wow is in Ambiance - Food Not Far Behind”
Reviewed 23 June 2013

Us six, big, hungry boys descended on this restaurant on Thursday, soon after it opened at 20:30. We had seen the interesting, antique-style decor, with its rustic charm, earlier in the day and, with steaks in mind, decided to pay a visit that evening. We entered the traditional tapas bar at the front and headed through to the main restaurant. It has very high ceilings with old, dark beams and support columns, with interesting wine cask/barrel-ends hanging all around. We were the first customers that night and were lead to one of the excellent centrally-positioned tables (perfect size for the six of us). Being very hungry (and thirsty) lads, we firstly ordered up plenty of iced-water, a big beer each (Jarra) and a couple of bottles of the excellent red house wine. We then set about our food order - tapas starters of Calamares (fried squid), 2 plates of Murcillas de Burgos (black pudding), a huge plate of Carnes Iberica (Iberian cold meats), a huge plate of Quesos Iberica (Iberian cheeses with apples, chutneys, walnuts, hazelnuts) and Pulpas Especiales (Octopus) to be followed by a large, juicy and perfectly-done filet steak each - with French fries and a large selection of vegetables - asparaguses, red and green peppers.........oh yes and plenty of bread please! The head waiter suggested we may have overdone the food order as what had been ordered would probably have fed 12 to 18 people. I explained in my best Spanish that we were hungry lads possibly like he'd never seen before. He shrugged and passed the order into the kitchen. The waiters then brought out our fare, one item at a time. We demolished each plate within seconds of its arrival. The waiter looked astonished and realised he and his mates and the chef were under pressure. Each time he disappeared into the kitchen with an empty plate (essentially licked clean) and brought out the next one only to see it devoured like feeding morsels to the Piranhas in the Amazon. The astonishment in his eyes was almost incredulous, as was that in the the eyes of the head waiter, already contemplating whether to draft in additional staff for the task. On one return to the kitchen (taking away the massive plate/tray that only seconds earlier had been adorned with copious amounts of Carnes Iberico) I heard him bark to the chef (I am able in Spanish) "they have finished the f....... lot again!" to which the chef merely shrugged his shoulders and wiped the sweat from his brow and commented "they will not be able to eat all their steaks"....... but we did......they were delicious! After various Postres (we passed on the Cheeseboard) and coffees and another round of beers we ask for "La Cuenta" (the bill). We paid Euros 350 and shook the hands of the, now relieved and challenged, waiting staff and left a now full restaurant full of admiration for the staff and the food. Magnificos trabajos amigos! Great setting - a most satisfying evening.

  • Visited June 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank FairCityFrasie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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870 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Chinese (Simplified) first
  • Danish first
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Brussels, Belgium
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“A must do in Santander”
Reviewed 7 June 2013

This Bodega is split in two areas. The front room is a bar where you can go for a casual drink and food. The huge back room is a wonderfully decorated restaurant.
In Spain this means you are in a higher price range than your usual tapas or cafeteria but it's well worth it in my opinion.
First of all the decoration is unique with its painted casks, high ceilings etc.
The service is excellent, attentive but not over present and they will try hard to make you happy.
The food is local and original enough to re-inforce the feeling that the place is unique.
We've enjoyed dinner with a group of friends (14) with starters, main, dessert, wine, water, coffee and shots for about 40 euros per person.
Certainly the first place I'll call for a table if I'm ever again in Santander.

  • Visited January 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Eric B B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bishops Stortford, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
51 reviews
21 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Bread free tapas!”
Reviewed 18 May 2013

Santander has some fabulous tapas bars however after 3 nights of bread heavy tapas it was great to find somewhere that offered delicious tapas with bread on the side. We had a tasty plate of morcilla, some lovely local cheese and yummy croquettes. They offer a great wine list and a very authentic atmosphere and surroundings. Lively but not as crowded as some of the other tapas bars with the option of a quieter restaurant through the back.

  • Visited May 2013
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank ShonaH1965
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
st.andrews
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Not quite what we expected”
Reviewed 13 December 2012

We tried to have an authentic Spanish experience but unfortunately it was not the best. The first course of two different types of soup were different, one of them, the red bean soup was fine but the mixed bean soup was definitely different with some strange bits of animal in it!! The main course was one of the reviews that we had read here, stuffed red pepper, ok but don't expect anything great. I had the monkfish in a tomato sauce, it would probably have been ok but the over salting made it almost indelible. The staff were very good and we were offered an English menu, which considering our choices made it even more surprising that we had such bad picks. Great ambience but not cheap probably we should have gone with the tapas which seemed very nice.

  • Visited December 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank wearytravel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
New Orleans
2 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Do not miss this wonderful restaurant. Too good to pass up!”
Reviewed 9 July 2012

(background: I am a foodie from New Orleans and dine out a lot) We've been in Spain for almost 7 days and this is by far the best meal we've had yet. (Barcelona and Santander).  We were able to have four dishes because we got half portions of everything and all dishes were delicious. We had Iberian ham, cured beef, anchovies w/red peppers and cheese, Galician pan fried octopus with paprikad potatoes and the crème de la crème: ox tail prepared in red wine.  The  dessert was extra delicious - chocolate cake with a molten center accompanied with a delicious strawberry cheesecake type ice cream.  The service was impeccable, there were English menus available and the maître d' was outstanding and also spoke English.  He was extremely helpful, patient and had great recommendations.  Highly recommend this restaurant and will definitely return.

    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
2 Thank callsign
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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