on October 29, 2009
I went to Manchester recently for a concert and we decided to make an evening of it and get some food first. So, armed with my 50% off food voucher courtesy of moneysavingexpert.com (don't judge me - there's a credit crunch going on people!), we headed to Las Tasca on Deansgate. -The Restaurant Itself- First of all, there's an outdoor eating area in front of the restaurant with about five tables - although there are two reasons why I wouldn't eat there. Firstly, the great British weather doesn't exactly lend itself to dining Al Fresco and, secondly, I'm not sure I'd like the people walking past staring at me stuffing myself anymore than I'd like to alternate mouthfuls of food with mouthfuls of exhaust fumes from the busy road. Going through the main doors, there is a sort of corridor which is lined with bar tables for waiting for a table. We visited at 5 o'clock on a Monday night and when we left just under two hours later, all the tables were occupied (which for a small town girl like me is unheard of!). The restaurant is large, but manages to be cosy at the same time and the walls are adorned with 'authentic' Spanish works of art and random items, which is nice - it's always good to have something to look at! There were a couple of problems with the restaurant. First of all, it was unbelievably dark inside, which meant that I had to squint to even see the menu in the flickering candle light. Also, the tables were extremely close together. They are angled so that you don't feel like you're sharing a table with other diners, but when you want to leave the table it becomes difficult. Believe me, there is nothing more embarrassing than knocking someone's food off their fork with your bum! -The Food- The food at La Tasca is Spanish, with a choice of tapas and paella dishes. They have some great offers - such as lunch for two for £10 and all you can eat for £10 midweek evenings, both of which are from a limited selection. They also have tapas menus to give you a selection of dishes, if you aren't sure what to order. Since there were three of us, we decided to go for one of the set menus for two and added three extra dishes, giving us ten in total - which is about what they recommend. We had paella, chicken wings, ribs, chorizo sausage, meatballs, fried potatoes in tomato sauce, gambas pil-pil (king prawns in garlic oil), garlic mushrooms and Spanish omelette. I thought these were all quite tasty, although you could tell that they were all warmed up dishes. The other dish we had was chicken croquettes, which were absolutely vile! They were like deep fried balls of chicken mush - steer well clear, if you decide to visit! All the dishes were between four and six pounds, so with 50% off were pretty good value, although if I'd paid full price, I think I'd have felt a little short changed. I recommend that you get some bread to go with your tapas, as most of the dishes came in sauces that needed something to 'mop them up' with! There is also a selection of dishes that are suitable for vegetarians, although it does say on the menu that they don't have a dedicated are for preparing vegetarian food. They also label the dishes that are gluten free and the ones that don't contain garlic. For dessert, we had the chocolate fondue that was served with apple pieces, strawberries and 'crispy' donut twists. The donut pieces were soggy and very greasy and, at £5.95, it wasn't worth the money - even though the melted chocolate was really nice! -Drinks- The drinks, as always in restaurants, are what pushed our bill up - expect to pay over £3 for a pint of beer and between £13 and £30 for a bottle of wine. They have soft drinks, coffees, liqueurs, champagne and sangria, but again, it isn't cheap. -Service- The waiting staff were friendly enough, although not overly efficient - things seemed to come as and when they were ready and not when you ordered them. This may have just been because they were busy, but then I get the impression that it's always busy, so you think they'd be used to it. -Overall Opinion- The food was nice enough, but it is a chain and so, it is what you'd expect - pre-prepared food at fairly inflated prices. If we'd have paid full price for the food, it would have been around £15 a head for the food alone. I think this would have been a bit too much considering what you could get elsewhere for the price. We had a good evening and I would recommend it, but not for a romantic evening. I imagine it'd be a great place to have a birthday or works party, especially as they do set party menus for large groups.
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