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Restaurant review: Tasty tapas hit the right spot at Cafe Andaluz

A taste of Spain: Cafe Andaluz brings all the flavours and sunshine of the Mediterranean to Aberdeen.
A taste of Spain: Cafe Andaluz brings all the flavours and sunshine of the Mediterranean to Aberdeen.

A trip round the supermarket is usually the height of my excitement on a Sunday afternoon so to swap the trolley for tapas made for a mouthwatering change.

Bellies rumbling and our post Saturday night hangovers in need of curing, myself and my friend (or should I say senorita) were more than ready for a late lunch at Cafe Andaluz.

Stepping out of the bitingly cold Bon Accord Street and into the warm restaurant reminded me of that glorious holiday moment when the plane door opens and you’re hit with a heatwave that signals you’re abroad.

The Spanish holiday vibes continued inside where we were met with beautiful red and gold mediterranean style decor before a bright and cheery member of staff led us to our seats.

Warm welcome: The rustic decor evokes memories of Spanish holidays. Photo by Wullie Marr.

The Food

Leaving us just enough time to settle into our table and enjoy a quick gossip, it wasn’t long before another friendly waiter took our drinks order, a ginger beer and lime for me and a pint of diet coke for my fellow senorita plus tap water for the table.

If it wasn’t for the fact that we were both in detox mode for the week ahead, we would’ve undoubtedly chosen to share a bottle of vino as the restaurant has an extensive wine and champagne list to suit all tastes and budgets.

A feast for the eyes: Tasty tapas is what Cafe Andaluz does best. Photo by Wullie Marr.

After salivating over the menu, we both opted for the Spanish Sunday deal where for £19.95 (some tapas have a £2 supplement) you can choose three tapas plus a dessert.

And to stop any serious food envy going on, we decided to fully embrace the Spanish culture by sharing our tapas.

It wasn’t long before our empty table was suddenly crammed full of little plates as we eyed up where to start.

First to hit my fork was the gambas pil pil king prawns.

Succulent, juicy and full of flavour after being marinated in garlic, chilli, parsley and smoked paprika, it’s safe to say that after just one bite, I was in food exodus.

Succulent sensation: The juicy king gambas pil pil king prawns hit the right spot. Photo by Wullie Marr.

Worried I might devour the lot, my friend quickly piled some prawns onto her plate and reached the same verdict: deliciosa!

Ditching the fork (again embracing the laidback Spanish culture), I picked up a calamari ring, dipped it in the smoked paprika aioli and closed my eyes in sheer bliss.

Put a ring on it: The calamari rings were quickly devoured. Photo by Wullie Marr.

Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, it wasn’t long before the plate was wiped clean as we both nodded our heads in appreciation.

Both meat lovers, we also made short work of the albondigas – traditional spiced pork and beef meatballs in a rich tomato sauce.

On the ball: Clean plates were left after sampling the tasty traditional spiced pork and beef meatballs in a rich tomato sauce. Photo by Wullie Marr.

Also hitting the right spot was carne de res picante.

The sauteed strips of tender beef, marinated in smoked paprika, garlic and Dijon mustard and served on fresh rocket with manchego cheese was a triumph.

So much so that we both had to negotiate who was to get the last piece.

A cut above: The sauteed strips of tender beef, marinated in smoked paprika, garlic and Dijon mustard and served on fresh rocket with manchego cheese made carne de res picante a hot favourite. Photo by Wullie Marr.

To balance out the meat tapas, we also ordered berenjenas rellenas de pimientos, an aubergine shell filled with couscous, peppers and sultanas in tomato and basil sauce topped with grated mozzarella cheese.

As a big fan of out the packet couscous, I really enjoyed this more extravagant version and is a dish I might try to recreate at home.

And what tapas meal would be complete without patatas bravas.

This classic dish was cooked to perfection as the potato cubes were light and fluffy inside and served with a mild spicy tomato sauce, topped with a tasty dollop of aioli.

Classic dish: The patatas bravas was delicious. Photo by Wullie Marr.

Nicely stuffed but with room for dessert, I ordered the crema catalana, a traditional creme brulee.

For me, nothing beats the excitement of cracking into that hard caramel topping to find the rich Spanish custard underneath.

The same size as a tapas plate, the creme brulee almost defeated me (almost)!

Dreamy dessert: The crema catalana was devine. Photo by Wullie Marr.

My friend was equally as happy with her dessert, the posset de limon, a homemade lemon posset, served with fresh raspberries, shaved white chocolate and Scottish shortbread.

Sweet treat: The posset de limon was polished off. Photo by Wullie Marr.

In a state of food bliss (aka unable to move) we ordered a a couple of cappucinos which came with slices of melt-in-the-mouth tablet.

So relaxed, content and chilled-out, we ordered two more cappucinos for the road before leaving feeling relaxed and ready for the week ahead.

Post dinner coffee: After our tapas, we were able to relax over a couple of cappucinos. Photo by Wullie Marr.

The verdict

For tasty tapas served by super friendly staff in beautiful Mediterranean surroundings, Cafe Andaluz will leave you saying muchas gracias.

Whether you’re out for lunch with a friend or on a date night with the other half, the spacious yet intimate restaurant caters for everyone.

Extensive wine menu: Cafe Andaluz has an excellent selections of wines. Photo by Wullie Marr.

And with lunch, pre-theatre and Sunday menu deals throughout the week together with their a la carte menu as well as vegan and vegetarian menus, there’s something to suit everyone.

Our bill came to £59.60 which I thought was really good value for money.

What I also really loved about this restaurant was the fact although it was busy, never at any point did we feel rushed.

Relaxing surroundings: Take a trip to Spain in the heart of Aberdeen. Photo by Wullie Marr.

We could sit back, relax and enjoy an uninterrupted post dinner gossip over a few coffees.

Next time, I’ll definitely be visiting in the evening so I can ditch the car and enjoy a few vino tintos.

So for some winter sunshine in the heart of Aberdeen, just say sí to Cafe Andaluz.

For more information about Cafe Andaluz go to their website.

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