Watching the pretty Spanish waitress move between the tables, she could be the Flamenco dancer painted on the wall. The wooden floorboards move and creak and there’s a piano in the corner covered in cutlery and plates. You can tell this place has been collected from travels, and life by somebody who loves the place.
One could dream oneself quite easily into a tavern in the south of Spain at the tapas bar in Vienna’s 8th district, Puerta Del Sol. And the tapas they serve up in small ceramic dishes are just as authentic (and delicious) in taste as the look of the place. This may explain why it’s often full here.
And they just so happen to slip some Flamenco music on as they serve up our starters of salted roasted almonds and marinated olives – there’s that cheeky Spanish charm.
The difference between this tapas bar and others you find in town, can be found in these plump, glistening, marinated olives. Certain they’re not from a jar like in many tapas bars, I ask the waitress, Alicia.
“Of course,” she answers.
“Everything here is marinated and made here in our kitchen out back, including our red wine marinated Chorizo, which everybody seems to go crazy for.”
I get the hint and order the Chorizo al Vino Tinto, along with a whole lot of other tapas frías and tapas calientes. Before I know it, I can’t see my table anymore beneath the army of dishes: Patatas Bravas (boasting a mildly spicy, highly tasty red sauce), creamy garlic chicken, the grilled marinated pork skewers and a few empanadas which take me back to my clumsy Tango lessons in Argentina with the instructor I fantasised about pulling my hair and yelling my name.
“They’re made in-house by the owner’s wife, who’s Argentinian,” Alicia tells me.
The tapas selection is vast (vegetarian options included), and uniquely includes a range of dishes from all over Spain.
Meanwhile, the wine list, comprised of mostly Spanish wines, is also vast, and the waiting staff carry out the wine procedure properly when pouring. It’s clear they don’t just pour wine, but understand it.
There are tables of couples and roaring groups of friends, all sharing the mix of tapas on the tables that look like they’ve been taken from a family’s kitchen. I also notice most people mopping up the remainder of the sauces left behind with the baskets of bread provided. That’s a good sign. Another good sign is that I overhear Spanish being spoken from many of the tables.
Upon asking Alicia to give me a lesson in ordering tapas, she tells me that 3 to 4 dishes per person is average. I look down at my table of about 10 empty dishes, and ask for the desert menu. And another glass of the classic Rioja, please.