The husband and I went out for our first real meal since we went on vacation in June. This happened a few weeks ago, on a real live Saturday night.
Place: Mesa Lunga, Spanish Restaurant and Tapas Bar on Gouger Street
Food: Pretty Darn Good
Normally I research the hell out of any place that's going to see any of my money because I'm kind of anal like that, but in this case my husband had made the reservation and "couldn't remember the name or how to pronounce it" so I didn't know where we were going until the night of.
When we walked in the first thing that struck me was the scent of wood and leather. In a really good way. The floors, tables, chairs, beams, everything in the place is solid heavily scented wood. And the wooden chairs are topped with outrageously thick luxurious leather seats. Imagine your grandfather's smoking den. Not exactly the scent you think you're going to get as you walk into a restaurant, but welcoming and cosy nonetheless.
The next thing I noticed is that everyone (except for about 2 private tables) is seated at one long table. (Including a Channel 10 news anchor who was seated directly next to us.)
I normally dread this kind of seating, unless I'm at Wagamama, but it was very well executed. The restaurant had tomato planters placed all along the table, and they were placed so that we were blocked from seeing the couple in front of us, as well as the group to our right. Sounds complicated, but it was really quite intriguing. After we ordered our drinks I realized that the fresh tomatoes hanging over the sides of the planters also had candles placed under them making the scent of warm ripe tomato waft around the restaurant. It was lovely!
On to the edibles:
We ordered the red-wine sangria, which was the best I've had outside of Sevilla, Jerez, or Barcelona. I'd love to go back and try their other versions. Drinks were accompanied by delicious olive oil and vinegar with bread and olives. (Again, some of the best olives I've had outside of Spain, and Spanish olives are my fav.)
For my main I got the Paella. A bit unoriginal you might say, but it didn't have the traditional cray-fish, which I hate to look at. Instead it was a slightly Australianized version with chorizo, mussels, squid, and prawn. Very yum indeed.
Russ got the pizza, which was outstanding. If we go back, we'll try out the tapas menu, which everyone around us ordered and it looked even more delicious.
They also have a bar which is located on the other side of the place where you can order their drinks including sangria pitchers and try their tapas. It's close enough to people watch, but far enough away that it's not noisy or distracting.
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