La Vina – Manchester

I have visited La Vina a few times when I have wanted a quick, after work tapas, and it has always met with expectations. On a recent trip to La Vina for a quick tapas lunch, I figured I may as well blog my trip given how often I visit. Unfortunately though, this trip did not end quite so well.

First (or rather 10th) Impression

La Vina doesn’t look like too much from the outside and the pavement directly outside is often littered with boards advertising all their special offers. Once you step in through the big wooden door though, you instantly feel like you’ve been transported to a local restaurant in Spain. I love the large wooden barrel décor that adorns the bar area and the dark wood effect that runs through the entire restaurant. I always think La Vina manages to make the space it has rather cosy and I am yet to see them utilise the upstairs? The tables and chairs are always empty when I visit?

We were greeted straight away and shown to our table and passed the menu. I’d seen on the board outside that they had a lunchtime deal of 3 tapas for £10. I looked through the one menu we were given and couldn’t see any reference to this so assumed we could pick any 3.

The waiter arrived quickly to take our order and after placing an order for 6 tapas dishes, I double checked that we had correctly ordered 3 dishes. The waiter confirmed that we had and we relaxed back into our seats, drinking out large glasses of Rioja.

The Food

I am always impressed with how quickly the food is served in La Vina and how fresh it tastes given the speed! The food is always really well presented and thankfully they had my favourite dish in stock, the Pescardo Rebozado, which is basically beer battered fish served with my fave, alioli. Too often have I visited La Vina and they have been sold out of this!!

We also went for the garlic prawns, ham croquettes, chorizo, Spanish tortilla and patatas bravas, all of which were delicious. Our table was soon covered in delicious tapas and we worked our way around all the dishes, continuing to sip our wine and enjoying the atmosphere.

The Service

This is where our trip went sour. The service is normally friendly and efficient and up until our bill arriving, this was still our experience however, when we received our bill and realised we had not been charged for the 3 tapas for £10 menu, we queried this with our waiter.

He pretty much brushed this off saying there was nothing he could do as we had not ordered from that menu. We pointed out that we were only given one menu and at no point was it clear that this was not included in the 3 tapas deal. He said he would go and speak to someone but then disappeared and we then saw him serving other tables.

After waiting another 5 minutes, it became rather clear that he had not gone to speak to someone, so we called over the manager. He asked us if everything was ok, and again, we explained. Instead of any form of apology we got the following response “Not meaning to be rude but most customers ask when they arrive for the specific deal” I remember this response word for word as it took me aback.

Not impressed by the manager or his response, and pointing out that in no other establishment have we had to ask for specific menus, we reluctantly paid our bill and left.

I feel rather sad that this trip ended on such a bad note, as I have been to La Vina numerous times and really enjoyed the experience. I will probably visit again, as I have enjoyed my previous visits, but it may be a while until I do. Just make sure that if you go, you ask for the menu that’s specific to your deal, as they apparently do not give them out unless you ask!!

Have you been to La Vina? What did you think?

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