“ La Tasca / 106 Quayside / Newcastle Upon Tyne / NE1 3DX / Tel: 0191 230 4006 / „
After walking past La Tasca on the Newcastle Quayside for a number of years about a month ago Mr Lools and I decided that we would pay the restaurant a visit. Actually the main reason that we decided to visit La Tasca was that we had a 50% off voucher. My boyfriends sister and her partner were visiting so we thought we would get a good deal due to the saving that we would make. La Tasca is a nationwide chain of Spanish cuisine restaurants specialising in tapas and Paella.
The restaurant has two entrances. The "back" exit is from the multi-storey car parks. The front entrance is the entrance that we used. This leads from the Quayside facing side of the restaurant. The restaurant is close to the Millennium Bridge on the Quayside on the Newcastle side.
At the front of the restaurant there is an outdoor area where you can sit to eat or just to have drinks. As it was rather cold when we visited we opted to sit inside.
**** Restaurant ****
Despite it being quite bright and sunny outside the inside of the restaurant felt rather dark. The décor has a Spanish theme with deep yellow and orange painted walls, painted in a way that makes the paint looked aged. The floor is tiled with dark terracotta tiles. There are huge gothic black metal looking lights hanging from the ceilings.
The restaurant is split onto two levels a floor level and a raised level about 1 metre higher than the floor level. There are a number of tables in the restaurant of different sizes both circular and square, however the tables are not crammed together so there is plenty space to walk between tables.
**** Service ****
The restaurant was reasonably busy for a Sunday night as it was Easter bank holiday about three quarters of the tables in the restaurant were occupied.
We were shown to our table as soon as we walked through the door and as soon as we were seated we were given menus and drinks orders taken. The drinks took about 15 minutes to arrive. After around 20 minutes a member of staff came over to take our food order. Our waiter was very helpful suggesting how much food that we would need (we ordered extra as the men in the group have huge appetites). After ordering the food we waited another 25 minutes before it arrived. 45 minutes after entering the restaurant does seem like a long time but we were not in a rush. If I was restricted by time I would probably have been more concerned.
The staff were very friendly; both those that served food and drinks as these were dealt with separately but were only too happy to help. The drinks service was probably a lot quicker than the food service
Overall the service was pretty average. If the restaurant was busier and all tables full I imagine that the food and ordering process would take a lot longer and be less than satisfactory.
If you have not been to La Tasca before the menu can be quite confusing as there are a lot of dishes to choose from. The staff however are happy to help you ordering and can assist in letting you know the portion sizes and how many dishes you are likely to need to order for the size of your group.
The menu is quite extensive and includes both tapas and Paella.
The tapas is split up into different types:
Within each category there are about 5 or 6 different tapas dishes. Price of dishes vary the meat, chicken and fish dishes are priced around £4-5 . The vegetable and salad dishes priced at around £3-4 per dish.
We ordered about 18 dishes in total a variety of the different types of dishes. Each small dish is was enough for all four of us to have a large spoonful to try. The chicken and meat dishes were fantastic, the meat was lean and flavoured enough but not so the flavours were overpowering.
My favourite dishes that we ordered were Brocheta de Pollo (Skewers of chicken breast, red pepper and paprika), Buey Al Jerez (Rib eye steak, with potatoes in a rich sherry sauce) and Pescado Blanco Frito ( White fish in San Miguel batter with garlic mayo).
The menu also clearly labels all of the vegetarian dishes and all of the gluten free dishes.
My only complain was that there was hardly enough room on the table to put all of the dishes that we ordered.
It is also possible to order a large dish of Paella to share. Paella is available for £19.95 and apparently this enough for 2 or 3 to share as a main dish. I cannot comment on this as we did not order a large portion of Paella to share.
The drinks are also priced quite reasonably. In addition to regular soft drinks and alcoholic drinks like wines, beers and spirits La Tasca serves sangria; in keeping with the Spanish theme. A pitcher of traditional sangria costs £11.95. A single glass of sangria is £3.15. From this you will get 4 large glasses out of this. We ordered (two) jugs of white sangria (made with cava instead of red wine) which is £16.95 per jug. These are smaller glasses and you will get 8 glasses from a pitcher
**** Price ****
The overall bill came to £64 for 4 people with the 50% off. We felt for the amount of food and alcohol that we had ordered this was extremely good value. We ordered two jugs of white sangria which was £16.95 per jug. In addition we also ordered 2 glasses of wine, and 3 bottles of beer. The drinks total probably came to half of the £120 bill (the cost without the discount). I actually think even for £128 for a meal for 4 people and a number of drinks each was still extremely good value due to the amount of food we consumed and left the restaurant with very full stomachs.
*****Would I go back??*****
Definitely! I really enjoyed the food and the overall dining experience. If I get can my hands on another 50% off voucher that would just be an added bonus. I have been for tapas before at el Torrero in Newcastle. La Tasca wins hands down for the dining experience in comparison but the food is probably not as good as el Torrero. But its difficult to call a favourite on the two however. Overall a great restaurant and food for, families, couples and groups.
Situated right in the heart of Newcastles quayside, this is somewhere we quite frequently eat when hunger pangs strike. Its popular with Little Miss because of the range of dishes on offer, and she enjoys the novelty of lots of little dishes being brought to the table.
One of a chain of these restaurants, with others in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, and Belfast, if you enjoy the food, when visiting other cities, you can enjoy the same food without getting out of your comfort zone.
The restaurant is easily accesses from two sides. One of the entrances leads almost directly from the multi storey car parks which is great if you have come in by car, but not so good for pushchairs and wheelchair users as there is a flight of stairs to negotiate. Better to enter via the front door, where there is a ramp straight into the restaurant. This is actually, I think, the more scenic route as this is the entrance which leads almost directly to the quayside- far more attractive than the car parks.
Outside the restaurant there is an external eating area set out under canopies with tables and chairs dotted about. Great place to sit and watch the world go by especially since meals dont have to be bought, and if you elect to have only a drink, then you are free to do so. Unfortunately, the weather this year hasnt been conducive to very much outside eating or drinking!
Once inside the restaurant, it does have a very Spanish feel- all yellows and orange colours, with the walls looking rather aged and as though the colours have been washed onto the walls and then allowed to mellow. The bar is at the front of the restaurant, and is absolutely crammed with a big variety of bottles- I find it hard to imagine there is a drink they wouldnt be able to serve their customers. The bright tiles at the back of the bar herald that you are indeed in La Tasca, bearing, as they do, the name of the restaurant on the actual tile pattern.
Tables are dotted comfortably around the two tiered area and being wooden without cloths, this emphasises the rustic appeal. The ceilings feel quite high, and there are huge chandeliers which give off a cosy glow at night.
You will be handed a big menu with a quite daunting range of tapas dishes to chose from. For people going to a tapas restaurant for the first time, it can be a bit confusing, but the staff are happy to give advise. One good thing they had introduced last time we went to the restaurant was a set tapas menu- rather like in a Chinese restaurant. This is quite handy if you want to know you are getting a bit of everything; we ordered it and got a selection of meat and potato dishes, but no salad stuff, so we had to order that separately so that it looked as though we had a bit of greenery on our plates.
Everything on the menu is written in English and Spanish, and the menu is set out quite simply- no need to search around for the vegetarian option, as its clearly stated on which section of the menu these dishes are located.
So, with vegetarian dishes, meat, poultry, fish and salad dishes as well as a selection of paella dishes, there is almost certainly something for everyone. The tapas start from around £3.55, so price wise its not too expensive, and the paella costs £8.75 per person for the vegetarian paella and £9.75 for the others. Drinks, available with or without food are normal city centre prices- around the £2 mark for a glass of wine, and whilst the sangria is £3.15 a glass, I usually find it better value to order a pitcher, which at £11.95 represents much better value!
We tend to order a few things from each section, so that we get a bit of everything, although last time we had the set menu. The food comes in small dishes, and when they are served, each dish is explained to you, unless its completely self explanatory (like the salad). The dishes always seem quite small, until you start to eat, and then its incredible how quickly you are filled.
Address: 106 Quayside, Newcastle upon Tyne. NE1 3DX
Telephone: 0191 2304006
Fax: 0191 2304007
Website: www.latasca.co.uk. The website is actually quite detailed and you can even book a table online.
We quite often visit this restaurant if we are wandering round Newcastle. It serves a number of purposes- Sunday evenings having been out for the day with little Miss, and not wanting to go home to cook, and its good for a pre drinks feed.
The portions do look small but once you start, the food seems to go on forever, and everyone I have been with comes out feeling full. A good idea is to order 3 dishes each and agree to share so everyone has a taste of everything; do agree on what will be ordered or if in a large group, you may get too many duplicates of one thing. When you get to your table, you will be offered bread and olives. These are chargeable, but are a nice way to nibble whilst waiting for your meal. If, however, you are going to be ordering lots of dishes, I would steer clear of this option, or you may not have room for all of your food.
The restaurant tends to have a lively atmosphere, and its handy because unless you are going around Christmas, with a large party, there isnt really any need to book. So, no need to be super organised!
Close to hotels and bars, with handy off road parking very close by (and reasonably priced parking it is!), this is a convenient place to stop and have a good meal without paying hefty prices.
Thanks for reading.
Over 30 tapas dishes, paellas and wide range of Spanish wines and beers.