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La Bodega Restaurant & Tapa Bar

1277 Howe Street
Vancouver, BC V6Z1R3
Tel: (604) 684-8815
Neighbourhood: Yaletown
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean, Spanish, Tapas
  • Price: $$ ($15 - $30)
  • Reservations: Accepted
  • Meals: Dinner
  • Features: Patio
  • Hours: Mon - Fri: 4:30PM - 12AM, Sat: 5PM - 12AM, Sun: 5PM - 11PM
  • La Bodega is a Spanish restaurant that began serving tapas in 1971. It has an interesting decor of brick walls and wood trim, lots of art and a bull's head near the bar. There is ample seating with three dining areas including a bar, backroom and fine dining upstairs.

Reviews

Displaying 1 - 20 of 30 Reviews FoundSort: Useful | Helpful | Reviews | Date
Great time accompanied with great food
By jennko of Vancouver (86 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, August 14, 2009 - 1:48pm [Dine in]

I had a great time a couple of days ago with a couple of my mom's friends for dinner. This place was recommended by one of them. When we arrived, the place was half full and by the time we finished it was a full house. The ambiance is very cozy but the lighting is a little dark. The food is good but not that as great as what my friend mentioned. We ordered:
Squid ink with rice - pretty good, I would order it again
BC scallops in tomato sauce - perfectly cooked but lacking in flavour
Rabbit - pretty good but some parts of the meat were harder than others
(Pork) skewers - the meat is a little hard
Spanish rice - pretty good, it's flavourful yet not overpowering
Beef tongue - very tender and flavourful
Lamb shank - tender and it's pretty good according to my mom
Baby squid - it's not bad, pretty tender
The best is their sangria, it was awesome!!! It's very fruity and it's very addictive. :D
For a table of 7 people and we ate until we couldn't eat anymore and with 5 jars of sangria, the bill came out to be a little less than $300 before tips, which is awesome!!!
The food is great but it's not super good but the value for it is outstanding. So, I would come back again but not anytime soon.

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Okay food & Service.
By bordercollie of north vancouver (268 Reviews)
Submitted Wednesday, January 14, 2009 - 10:13pm [Dine in]

I haven't been in La Bodega for approx 2 years and wanted to go there after work. It wasn't too busy for 7.30pm, was greeted by lukewarm waitress & was sat in the very back in a corner. I did ask to move to another table, one that wasn't wobbly, and saw a few, but this particular waitress didn't seem to care.

I was greeted by another server, who was friendlier, took my order and waited with hungry anticipation. I had order there prawns in garlic, meatballs, chicken wings with bread to dip into the garlic. I loved the prawns, still as good as I remembered them, and the bread was great for soaking up the garlic, vampires beware.
My meatballs where less than desired, in a sauce but I found the meatballs where overcooked & dry, not making them very tasty. I also thought their chicken wings in pass, where the best, but I should have left my previous thoughts behind to sadly disappointed with hardly lots of taste to them.
It could have been off night for the chef, but I didn't find the food all that great, flavourful or screaming at me to order more. I did try the creme carmel dessert, it was light, lots of flavour and another dish the way I remembered.
It too bad that food wasn't that great, I'm in no rush to return anytime soon. Sadly the food or service wasn't as good in my last visit. They need to fix the table that wobbles in the back..another drawback to my meal.

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Sangrias Anyone?
By kewpiebaby of Vancouver (200 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, March 18, 2008 - 3:39pm [Dine in]

The all time BEST sangrias in Vancouver! So yummy! I always end up having a pitcher with friends.

MUST have tapa dishes include: mushrooms, fried chicken, clams, prawns, potatoes, rice pilaf, ceviche, paella and the rabbit. Try it!

A great place to lounge with good friends. Service is efficient but non obtrusive. The one lady there seems a bit snotty at first, but she is very helpful and sweet once you get to know her.

One of my favourite tapa places to go in town. Always good food and drinks. Definitely a good place for parties and stagettes, that's for sure! =)

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Used to be really good
By thecritic of Vancouver (374 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, November 5, 2004 - 12:46am [Dine in]

La Bodega used to be the best Spanish tapas place in town for the money. However, I have had a few less than stellar dining experiences my past few trips there. Its might be still worth a shot; make sure you try the potatas bravas and the veal heart.

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Great for parties!
By epicurious of Burnaby, BC (507 Reviews)
Submitted Tuesday, March 14, 2006 - 9:49am [Dine in]

I've been to La Bodega three times and enjoyed it each time. They do get busy, so be sure to make reservations. Two of the three times I went, were for birthday dinners. The staff was very helpful and courteous. They offered to take our pictures (they never acted frustrated eventhough they were very busy), and brought our homemade cake to our table along with extra plates and flatware and even cut and served it to us.
Their food is awesome and the only reason I gave them a 3 is because their portions are a little on the small side. Those who don't know tapas, would probably complain that the portions are way too small. Their sangria is a must-try!

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Good as always
By love2dineout of Port Coquilam (10 Reviews)
Submitted Wednesday, February 8, 2012 - 7:23pm [Dine in]

Have dined here several times over the years, love that this restaurant seems to be fighting back against the ever increasing urban renewal around it.

Last night we grabbed a quiet (as quiet as you can get, it pretty much table upon table) in the back. My companion had the always reliable Sangria and I had the 'house Spanish wine'. At how many downtown restaurants can you still get a glass of completely acceptable, albeit un-named, wine for $6.25? Server was attentive without being in our faces. We ordered about 6-7 different traditional tapas, and everything for the most part came hot and was tasty. I enjoyed the Seafood Rice Pilaf, Patatas Bravas and Meatballs the most. The Tuna Empanada's were a bit of a dud, and the Chorizo a bit overcooked and chewy for my taste.

This is inexpensive comfort food, cheap sliced white bread with butter packets (you pay for), paper napkins and a sound system that has had better days are what you get, but I'll always come back. $85 for 6-7 tapas, three drinks including HST and 15% tip. Definately worth it.

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Great Sangria, Food is Less Great
By frugalgourmet of Vancouver (70 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, February 11, 2007 - 8:52am [Dine in]

Some friends and I decided to give La Bodega a try - The Sangria I enjoyed; it was quite sweet and I enjoy that because well, haha, I'm a girl and I like my fruity drinks :) The tapas came pretty well all at once, since we arrived and ordered by 6:00 pm on a Saturday and the restaurant was not very busy at that time. The ceviche was over marinated - the fish was tough. The fried chicken was served cold. And the paella was overly salty. It seemed to me, the food was prepared earlier in the day and just plated for guests. I have ordered the mussels in the past and quite enjoyed dipping bread in the sauce, but I didn't get to try them this time around. I'm thinking Baru or Havana's may have better Latin American food, but I haven't been to either in a while.

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Good food, poor service
By bobo of vancouver (47 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, June 19, 2006 - 12:25am [Dine in]

Large groups proved to be too challenging for this otherwise good restaurant. I went there several times with groups of more than 10 people. Every time, we asked for seperate bills divded by the table, and every time, they provided us with one bill consisting of more than 50 menu items in Spanish and left us to figure out what they meant and who had what. The fact that gratitute was automatically added meant piles of empty dishes and non-existing waiting staff. Once, the waitress filled my half empty wine glass with water.

Despite the poor service, food was always excellent. All the seafood dishes were tasty and fresh. Due to the sharing nature of tapas, I recommend going there in a group of 4-6 people to sample a good range of dishes while avoiding the big group issues.

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Just like Uncle Franco's basement!
By Gems of Vancouver (13 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, July 13, 2009 - 9:13pm [Dine in]

This is now a favorite of our teens who are expanding their dining experiences. The decor is like Uncle Franco's basement ... circa 30 years ago ... and now ... and so we have a feel-good time here. It really has not changed much over the years and that's OK. We love tapas as it allows for alot of tasting options and everyone can find something to nibble on.
The plato variado (cold plate) is a good starting point with an array of items, and build from there. Our favorites are the patatas bravas (zesty potatoes), pimiento relleno (stuffed red pepper), calamares (fried squid), the chorizo casero (spicy sausage), albondigas (Spanish meatballs), and jamon (small cured ham breads). We get the livers (which our kids won't touch, but all the more for us). Get lots of bread to sop up sauces, and don't forget the sangria. You can add on after your main order, and it is usually pretty quick. Best seats are on the periphery - we like beside the bar towards the back, or the front inside corner. It can get loud.

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Gungy Hole in A Wall
By got2hot of Vancouver (46 Reviews)
Submitted Wednesday, February 14, 2007 - 9:41am [Dine in]

I've heard great things about La Bodega, so despite a lot of bad reviews here, we decided to try. We were the only table in the restaurant around 6:30pm, so we figured we would at least get great service. The service wasnt terrible, but it was very slow, and several times we had to get the waiter's attention.
The food was dry, the chicken was greasy, the mussels were definitely NOT fresh...tasted very fishy.
The room feels very old and dirty...where if the food and service were something better, I can often forgive such rooms, consider it character, but there weren't any redeeming qualities.

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For a fun night out..
By dal of van (35 Reviews)
Submitted Saturday, November 1, 2008 - 3:59pm [Dine in]

I love this place.. been coming for over 10 years...

Get sangria or wine ... calamari, bean salad, house salad, paella, potato bravos, and clams... the prices are great and it is so much fun... I chatted with the owner once- total sweetheart...

I would avoid chicken drummettes, ceviche, bread (extra) , ... the prawns are okay.. the pate is nice too... I prefer the red sangria over the white..

Also - i foundthe food better here than in Spain.. mind you I was a tourist in Spain ... and probably didn't go to the right places...

Definately worth it if you know what to order... There is a reason why its been open for more than forty years..

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As Spanish as it gets?
By k_jones314 of Vancouver (3 Reviews)
Submitted Saturday, November 3, 2007 - 4:22pm [Dine in]

First of all, this is the ONLY Spanish restaurant in Vancouver. Other restaurants claim to be Spanish, but they are not. Spanish means the country Spain. Not Mexico or Latin-America.

Secondly, what they serve you under the name Sangria, is NOT real Sangria. It is some americanized (or if you will, canadianized) version of it. Real Sangria only comes in red wine, and it does not contain any hard liquor. So while La Bodega's Sangria is good, it's not real Sangria (which is better).

Third, Spanish food is NOT spicy. Not even remotely. Several things I was served at La Bodega are really burning hot. This is not Spanish food.

But even so, La Bodega is as close as you get to real Spanish food in Vancouver, and they are pretty good overall if you know what to get (and what NOT to get). I recommend going there to see for yourself.

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Prawns & Sangria??? Yes Please!
By SONofFOOD of North Vancouver (20 Reviews)
Submitted Thursday, May 4, 2006 - 10:45am [Dine in]

Really, that's all I have to say. The Sangria alone is worth a visit but be sure to have the Chili Garlic Prawns, the calamari, the potatoes and the ceviche. All good, all tasty and be sure to wash it down with some more of that magical elixer they call Sangria.

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Service Was Top Notch
By aaronalexander of Westend (10 Reviews)
Submitted Thursday, December 14, 2006 - 4:30pm [Dine in]

With the exception of some tapas being a bit over-priced for the amount you get, everything else was very good. The one thing i noticed that was the best was our server. I havent been to a restaurant in a long time that had a server that would actually bring food and drinks in minutes, barely even waiting for either, well the food of course we had to wait for it to cook, but other then that, man she was quick!
Very nice place that is a little older, a little bit more traditional inside but has good food, great service and the clientele was a mix of all vancouverites!
Try the meatballs!

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another pitcher sangria please
By bottomless of Arbutus Ridge, Vancouver (18 Reviews)
Submitted Wednesday, November 10, 2004 - 4:56pm [Dine in]

The difference between fusion tapas and the real thing is that the latter is a lot greasier. I like La Bodega because they keep it real there, however, that means some heavy dishes. Two dishes per person is ample. I reccomend the garlic prawns and house special patatos, if only they had better bread for dipping. Stay away from any of their seafood which tends to be not fresh, and their game meat which is often overcooked or cold. The paella was somewhat lacklustre but I don't know of any other place in Vancouver that makes it. Go for the sangria. Go late in true spanish fashion. If you don't pig out, it's possible to keep the tab under $20 per person.

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Best Spanish restaurant EVER
By sampler of Burnaby (5 Reviews)
Submitted Sunday, December 20, 2009 - 4:50am [Dine in]

Whenever I feel like eating Spanish food, I drive all the way from Coquitlam because IT IS THAT GOOD. The tapa menu alone will satisfy you. I always get the calamare,paella, etc etc. The place is either bumping with LOTS of people drinkin, partyin, etc or its nice and quite with more older crowd so pick your days to try this place. This place is definetly worth it!

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I Love it!
By cats of Kitsilano (4 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, August 22, 2008 - 12:57am [Dine in]

I love this place! I was so surprised that some people don't...I always order the same thing, so try the following and you will be happy: Booze of any kind(!), potatas bravas, garlic prawns, civeche, tomato/onion salad and marinated artichokes. We went there just the other night and spent $47 on those dishes and 1/2 litre of sangria. We were there on a first date and went back for our first anniversary. Maybe it's nostalgia, but we love the place.

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Overrated and Mediocre
By currant7 of Manila, Philippines (20 Reviews)
Submitted Saturday, November 4, 2006 - 10:01am [Dine in]

I've been here a few times with various friends who love La Bodega, but I've yet to have a good meal here. I've had REAL Spanish food and this is nowhere close to it. Unfortunately, this seems to be the "best" in Spanish food that Vancouver has to offer.

The food is mostly mediocre and the tapas portions are not the most generous. The ceviche and the rabbit may be the best items on the menu, and even then they are nothing special. Beware if you come in a large group, as they will have trouble seating and serving you.

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Best Spanish in town (so far)
By misterchill of West End (9 Reviews)
Submitted Friday, April 7, 2006 - 10:19am [Dine in]

What a nice place, why hadn't I gone here before! The service is friendly, the back room made me feel like I was in San Sebastian again, and the food was well done.

Gambas al ajillo is always a must, so my gal and I started off with that and a jug of Sangria. Great start! The potatoes were superb and had a great gravy-like sauce. The paella was actually the first I've ever had, and it was dee-lish! A nice smokey flavour. Finally, pimiento relleno, full of pork and veggies, was pretty tasty too.

The 4 tapas, a jug of sangria, and a cafe con leche came to about 60 bucks. And both of us were very full at the end. 3 tapas between the two of us would have sufficed. The sangria itself is almost 20 dollars but large, so this place is rather inexpensive.

I am definitely returning.

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Good food, great sangria
By rmctavish of Lower Lonsdale, North Vancouver, BC (10 Reviews)
Submitted Monday, November 10, 2008 - 8:35am [Dine in]

This was my first visit to La Bodega - and I'd certainly go back!

I went with my fiance and a large group of people and the staff were very pleasant and accommodating.

I order a pitcher of sangria for the table, which was every bit as good as I'd read about here. I'm not sure how they make theirs, but it was the best I've ever had.

We ordered the jamon (dried cured ham on bread), calamares (squid), champinones salteados (garlic mushrooms), and pincho maruno (marinated beef on skewers) - the food was all very good.

I also got to try the ceviche (seafood in fresh lemon and spices) and it was also good if a little tart.

The service was pretty solid considering how busy they were. The were a few snags when one of the staff (not the same person who took our order) kept trying to get us to take dishes we didn't order, but otherwise, the service was really good.

I do find the policy of including a gratuity in the final bill for large groups annoying though - it rewards bad servers and stiffs the really good ones as most people just sign off on the bill as is.

I'd definitely go here again though.

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