Reviewed by Diane Wilkinson
I had the pleasure of visiting La Vina on Grey Street in Newcastle upon Tyne with a friend on Friday 20 February 2015. It was tricky to find a parking space as Grey Street is also home to Newcastle’s Theatre Royal where there was a production that evening, but we were lucky to come across someone leaving a space in the nearby multi-storey just as we were about to give up and try further afield! We then had a little trouble finding the restaurant itself as only the doorway is visible from the street and, once through that, there are steps leading down into the basement where the restaurant is situated. There is not a lift so unfortunately it is not wheelchair accessible.
On entering the dining area we were immediately greeted by the aroma of authentic Spanish cooking, the sight of a traditional cosy tapas bar and the pleasant babble of diners clearly enjoying the whole experience. The manager was friendly, quickly found us a table and issued us with menus.
The waitress who then came to take our orders was also very friendly and clearly knew her stuff when it came to the dishes on the menu. She confidently answered all our questions about what was in the various dishes, and made some recommendations without being pushy or overbearing. We didn’t have to wait long for the food to arrive, and staff checked on us from time to time without making us feel pressured.
Extra orders half-way through the meal were not a problem – in fact, our waitress suggested that the best way to enjoy tapas was to have a little and then have a little more!
The menu itself had plenty of choice with something for all tastes including a variety of authentic cheese, meat, fish and vegetarian options as well as traditional Spanish paella. We chose four dishes between us – Rape Con Salsa De Langosta (Pan fried Monkfish, potato & chorizo, served with a rich lobster bisque), Setas A La Plancha (seasonal blend of mushrooms, sautéed in garlic and white wine), Tortilla Española (The traditional home-made Spanish style omelette with potatoes & onion), and a dish from that evening’s specials board comprising toasted bread with roasted aubergines, tomatoes and goats cheese. Only my companion ate the fish and found it rather fiddly to remove from the tailbone. However, she declared it was delicious nevertheless. The other tapas we chose were all very tasty too, cooked well and seasoned perfectly. We both could have eaten more but decided to leave room for pudding, which proved to be a difficult choice from the six or so on offer! In the end we settled for Flan De Huevo (Vanilla custard topped with a luscious layer of caramel) and Salted Caramel Slice with vanilla ice-cream & chocolate coated popping candy. The flan de huevo provided a lovely light end to the meal, while the salted caramel slice was much more decadent, richly chocolaty and fun to eat!
All in all the atmosphere, service and food combined to give us a really pleasant evening. We felt relaxed and valued as customers, and the food was definitely good value. I would certainly visit again and recommend to friends.
For more information, to view menus or to make a booking visit www.lavina.co.uk/newcastle or call 0191 2603533.
Opening times: Monday – Sunday 11am – 11:30pm
La Viña, 42-50 Grey Street, Newcastle, NE1 6AE | 0191 2603533