My Blog = My Life + weekend

REVIEW: La Bodega

The Round-up:

  • Food - 4.5 out of 5
  • Service - 3.5 out of 5
  • Decor - 4 out of 5
  • Total - 12 out of 15

Cost - $12 lunch/$25 supper
Monday to Friday, lunch and supper/Saturday and Sunday morning brunch, supper until late

2228 Albert St., Regina, SK.
Phone: 306-546-3660 _______________
There are plenty of reasons why La Bodega is one of Regina's best restaurants.

OK, I guess you want me to name them. So here goes:

1.) La Bodega took an old, forgotten, decrepit house in the Cathedral neighbourhood and turned it into a hip, vibrant, intimate restaurant. That's not just luck, it's good planning. Previous owners of the building launched a bakery in the same spot and it was a massive flop within a year.

2.) So why has La Bodega succeeded? I think there are three key ingredients: a smart menu, a great location, and a design that allows La Bodega to be a restaurant, lounge, and/or concert venue depending on the time of day and the day of the week. They say you can't be all things to all people, but somehow La Bodega has always managed to attract the cool kids and the business lunch crowd and middle-aged couples just looking for a nice meal. That's no easy feat.

3.) Food -- of course, La Bodega would be nothing without the food. When La Bodega opened almost 10 years ago, no one in Regina had ever heard of tapas. Executive chef and owner Adam Sperling brought a creative, exciting menu to the Queen City and presented it in a way that was fresh and interesting to diners. Most people fell in love with the place after just one visit. And even now, the chefs continue to change and improve upon their menu, revealing new versions of it several times per year, keeping old favourites and introducing new ventures. And if a menu item doesn't work, La Bodega gets rid of it.
4.) Unless you're at Smitty's or an unapologetic hole-in-the-wall, a restaurant's decor is almost as important as what's on the plate (I said almost). La Bodega has always got the decor part right by using a mix of sophisticated yet rustic furnishings. The plain and sometimes mismatched wooden tables and chairs are jazzed up by much-more daring artwork and colours on the walls. The music -- never radio and certainly not Top 40 -- captures the worldly nature of the place without coming off as fake or, worse, New-Agey. In short, La Bodega's gypsy chic style is the Cathedral neighbourhood in a nutshell. It fits into its surroundings naturally. What more could you ask for?
5.) OK, this last reason is half-serious and half a joke. But when La Bodega first opened, they sold alcohol at ridiculously cheap prices. The food was never undervalued, but the drinks sure were. And people loved it. So they stayed for another. And another. And hey, can we see that menu again? We're hungry now. Over the years, it seems the prices of booze have crept upward, but you can still get a decent glass of wine for $5-6 per glass.
So, what's the downside? La Bodega's biggest weakness is its weekend brunch. The menu is nowhere near as tasty as what's on offer for weekday lunch or suppertime. And the prices for an Eggs Benny border on the obscene. To me, the best breakfasts in the world are cheap and dirty. Get in, drink your weight in coffee, and get out $8 later.
Otherwise La Bodega, you rock.

Albert St., bakery, breakfast, brunch, Cathedral Village, dessert, dinner, Downtown, FOOD, fresh, Latin, lunch, Regina, restaurant, Spanish, supper, tapas, and more:

Relevant to: REVIEW: La Bodega + weekend