Put two of my favorite countries together, Australia and Spain, and you’ve got me hooked. Thanks, Casa Asturiana, in central Sydney, for offering this Spanish gal a vast variety of Spanish tapas and dishes to keep stomachs muy alegre.
The bi-level restaurant is located in a Spanish quarter featuring several other dining establishments with comida de España, near the Town Hall train and down the street from the Metro Theatre. I had some delicious tapas at the fun outdoor Spanish-style street seating there recently, a spot I was delighted to learn features flamenco dancing Friday and Saturday nights at 8 p.m.
I loved seeing the juxtaposition of the Spanish and Australian flags both on the menu and inside — it just made my heart happy.
Indoors is classy dining, with Spanish-style decorations and artwork surrounding dining tables and the bar.
Outdoors is much more casual, but I always love taking advantage of gorgeous Sydney summer weather.
The sangria is a must-have. I drank a half-litre (about four 4-ounce glasses) myself, and it was chock full of fresh fruit pieces and had the perfect balance of fruity flavors.
Casa Asturiana offers full paella and seafood entrees, but I’d go for tapas, perfectly-sized dishes to share for a party of two or more.
Here’s a look at the Pulpo al Ajo Arriero, or braised octopus in olive oil, garlic, paprika and vinegar, which was a hearty portion for two that I heard was delicious and not overly chewy like octopus can be.
I was hoping for some Spanish manchego cheese, but this eatery with northern Spanish cuisine didn’t have it on the menu. The server accommodatingly brought out a dish full of tasty feta bites,which I really enjoyed.
Definitely get the Champiñones a la Plancha, which are barbecued whole button mushrooms with white wine garlic and parsley. Spanish mushrooms are my favorite mushrooms because they’re juicy and perfect to pop in your mouth.
The Patatas Alioli, lightly fried potatoes covered in a warm garlicky mayonnaise sauce, were also plentiful and delicious. I know it might be a little weird to eat mayo with potatoes, but it’s big in Spain — and here in Sydney, mayo is also popular.
The order of Spanish bread was a little different than the crusty pan con olive oil I was expecting. It came covered with tomato sauce and herbs, and the two giant pieces were, again, great to share.
For all this food and sangria, plus a beer, it was only $75 AUD, what I’d consider a great value for such a feast. I loved that my server, who was from Colombia, greeted me in Spanish. It was refreshing to experience such a Spanish-friendly atmosphere in Sydney, where I haven’t seen many Spanish restaurants. I’d love to go back and check out the flamenco, one of the most beautiful dance art forms in the world, plus to get some of their delicious-sounding desserts, including tiramisu and churros.
For more information on Casa Asturiana Spanish restaurant, head here.