**UPDATED DECEMBER 30TH 2019: OLÉ TAPAS IS TEMPORARILY CLOSED FOR RELOCATION (DOWN THE STREET) – WILL RE-OPEN IN MARCH 2020**
Restaurant : Olé Tapas
Event: Turquoise Blog’s #ExperienceOleTapas Foodies & Bloggers Dinner
Restaurant type: Spanish, bar, boutique
Prices: $3-$33 tapas, $20-$27 paellas, wine bottles starting at $30
Date: Sunday April 28th 2019
Table of: 6
My favorite dishes: patatas bravas + Croquetas de Jamon Iberico + Jamon Iberico de Bellota + Arroz Negro Paella
Last month, I had the pleasure of hosting yet another Foodies & Bloggers Dinner, this time, at the do-it-all Olé Tapas: tapas restaurant, wine tastings, boutique and catering! Olé Tapas is in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue (West Island), on the main road just by the water. Olé Tapas is the perfect place to share a few tapas and drinks with friends at a 5@7, or to spend a fun-filled evening loading up on Spanish delights. Speaking of, that’s exactly what my guests and I did, thanks to Paco and his family! (Olé Tapas is a family run business). They also have a terrasse in the summer, to enjoy the beautiful weather outside.
Present this time around to #ExperienceOleTapas, there was myself @elisebgravel, familiar faces Alex @jellybeaneats, Dini @dini_the_foodie_mtl, Viviane @vivigodivah_mtl, Ashley @ashleysahaks and new foodie friend Robert @robert_pulka!
First Course: Vermouth + First Round of Tapas
- Patatas Bravas: fried potatoes served with brava sauce
- Mejillones Escabeche: mussels in Catalán sauce
- Mojama: slices of sea air-dried Spanish tuna loin, served with marcona almonds and olive oil
- Gilda (Anchoa o Boqueron) : white anchovy, stuffed olives and piparra peppers
- Tortilla de Patatas (Spanish omette) : potatoes, eggs and onions
- Pintxo de Bonito: albacore tuna
- Boquerones con chips: chips with white anchovies and a house paprika and vinegar sauce
- White & red vermouth
We started things off with a round of white and red Spanish vermouth, which I’d never had before. Both are served in a somewhat large shot glass, with a big cube of ice and a skewer of olive and lemon. I really enjoyed both vermouths and was happy to make this discovery (I even purchased a bottle from the boutique to enjoy at home!). I found both to be very similar, but found the red to be bolder and more intense in terms of its sweetness and bitterness (in a good way though). They both also reminded me of maraschino cherries and dessert wine, but very light and easy to drink. In the end, the white vermouth was my favorite and that’s the one I ended up purchasing (the waitress advised us that the white vermouth is more similar to a white wine, whereas the red vermouth is more similar to a red wine).
But, of course, we didn’t just drink vermouth! Round one of tapas was served and it was quite the pescatarian/vegetarian delight! For me, these weren’t my top picks in terms of tapas, as I’m not a huge fan of fish, but I did very much enjoy the patatas bravas and the mojama.
Second Course: White wine + Second Round of Tapas
- Croquetas de Jamon Iberico: Iberian ham croquettes
- Croquetas de Champiñones: Mushroom croquettes
- Tabla de embutidos Ibericos (Assortment of Iberico charcuteries) : chorizo, salcichon and lomo
- Tabla de Quesos (mixed tray of Spanish Cheeses) : Manchego 6 months and 12 months old (sheep’s milk cheese), Garrotxa (goat cheese from the Catalan Pyrenees) and Cabra al vino (Spanish cheese of 100% goat milk, submerged in red wine), with quince paste jelly squares
- Jamon Iberico de Bellota: Ibérico ham “Pata Negra” aged more than 38 months
- Mestis blanco, Mustiguillo, Valencia, España
So, this second course was definitely right up my alley, as I love charcuteries and cheeses (who doesn’t?!). The meat eaters at the table were served the Croquetas de Jamon Iberico (Iberian ham croquettes) which were absolutely delicious. You had a nice crispy exterior, filled with a bechamel and ham on the inside and to top things off, some excellent jamon iberico to accompany it. Alex, who is now a pescatarian, enjoyed the croquetas de champiñones (mushroom croquettes) which she said were very good (and vegetarian). Everything from this second course was delicious. I loved the selection of cheeses and charcuteries made, but my favorites were definitely the Cabra al vino cheese and the Jamon Iberico de Bellota. This service was accompanied by a bottle of white wine, a bottle of Mestis blanco, Mustiguillo from Valencia in Spain, which was excellent. I really enjoyed it and would definitely drink it again.
Third Course: Third Round of Tapas
- Gambas al ajillo: sautéed shrimps in olive oil, garlic wine and hot pepper
- Albondigas son Sepia (Mar y Montana) : meatballs (pork and veal) in a sauce with cuttlefish
- Escalivada: eggplant, peppers and onions, grilled and marinated in olive oil and garlic
- Pan con Tomate: grilled rustic bread rubbed with fresh tomato and olive oil
By the time the third course came around, we were quite full, but definitely still curious and wanting to try everything given to us! From this service, the sautéed garlic shrimps were definitely my favorite, as I love shrimps and garlic, so this was the perfect marriage between the two ingredients. The meat and fish balls were definitely interesting – you had that meaty yet slightly fishy taste – and the pan com tomate is a Spanish tapas classic.
Fourth Course: Arroz Negro Paella
Of course, what is a Spanish meal without some paella? Olé Tapas offers a few different kinds of paellas, like the Arroz Negro, which is a seafood paella made with cuttlefish ink. For those unfamiliar with Spanish food, this resembles a squid ink seafood risotto. I really enjoyed it, as much as I enjoyed their “normal” seafood paella the last time I was there. The rice was perfectly cooked and seasoned, as was the seafood and the garlic aioli that accompanied the dish was the perfect way to enhance it. A real delight!
Fifth Course: Dessert
To finish things off, although everyone was extremely full by this point, we were served a Crema Catalana, which is a Catalan style crème brûlée. What was nice about this dessert, is that unlike its French counterpart, it is much lighter and less sweet, so the perfect post-feast dessert (I do have to say, I prefer the thicker, creamier and heavier crème brûlée though).
Overall, we had an amazing time at Olé Tapas, where we got to sample a very good portion of their menu. I love the concept of tapas (sharing plates) in all restaurants, as it allows you to maximize your visit and try many different things. Thanks again to everyone who contributed to making this evening special, to my guests for attending and to Olé Tapas for the wonderful meal! Muchas gracias a Paco y su familia por su hospitalidad.
Part of the planning for this dinner also included the table decor and gift bags for my attendees. The floral arrangement was provided by Vicky from @fleuristeatropeabelladonna and the goodies for the attendees’ gift bags, by Turquoise Marketing and Turquoise Blog – an assortment of cookies – were provided by Amanda and Sarah from @thecoookietwins. Thank you all for your generous contributions!
Olé Tapas is the perfect place not only for their delicious tapas, but also for a 5@7, their wine tasting events and their private imports boutique. So, how will you #ExperienceOleTapas ?
UP NEXT: My restaurant review of Dumpling Shop (Dumplings three ways and daily dim sum!)
*This restaurant post does not contain my usual restaurant review criteria of restaurants, as this is a sponsored post where I was invited to the restaurant as a guest.
*All photos and comments are mine