Wednesday, August 21, 2019

The Food Dudes: Venture to Costa del Sol and enjoy a taste of Spain


Even though Wethersfield Avenue is only five or ten minutes away, it’s not somewhere students often find themselves going. However, this week the Food Dudes decided to venture over to the South End and try Costa del Sol. Costa del Sol is an authentic Mediterranean-Spanish restaurant. Although the street has an industrial feel, Costa del Sol has a very bright, polished exterior with maroon awnings and palm tree esque plants.

After studying abroad in Barcelona together, the Food Dudes are always looking for new Spanish restaurants to try. This one did not disappoint us. 25 years ago, a family from Galicia, Spain started the restaurant. Since then, Costa del Sol has been passed down to different members of the family and kept a strong place in the Hartford restaurant scene. Upon entering the restaurant, we felt as if we were back in Spain. The art and design of the restaurant were reminiscent of Spain. On the back wall, there’s a large mural with a scene of the Spanish-Mediterranean coast. The stucco buildings and clear blue water in the painting made us feel as if we were sitting right by the water in Spain. The restaurant even has its own little gift shop with trinkets and mementos. Being there was like a mini-vacation in itself. The space is especially large with a layout suitable for family dinners as well as larger events, such as banquets and private parties. There are different rooms filled with distinctive types of tables adequate for the various functions. We were seated in a little nook by the window. Inside the small alcove, we were surrounded by Spanish art including works by Joan Miró, which definitely added to the Spanish aura.

The menu is uniquely Spanish, but with distinct dishes ranging from different regions. The majority is Galician cuisine, since the owners came from Galicia. However, there are other influences. Due to the rich land and coastline, Spanish food includes fresh seafood and meats as well as homegrown vegetables, cheese and olive oil. Since lunch is the main meal in most parts of Spain, the menu was all encompassing. There were soups, small salads, and of course, a selection of tapas. Tapas are small dishes served one after the other at many restaurants in Spain. Their entrees included meat, fish, pasta and eggs as well as Paella dishes to share.

We had the Pan Catalan to start, since this was our favorite small dish in Spain. Pan Catalan is bread with a tomato and olive oil spread. At Costa del Sol, they added their own addition of grilled vegetables or ham. Sophie had the vegetables; the combination of the rich oil, crispy bread and vegetables was a succulent mix. Georgina paired the country style bread with two thin slices of Iberico ham. For her entrée, Sophie had the Tortilla de Patatas. In Barcelona, this was her favorite dish for lunch or dinner. The tortilla is an omelet filled with eggs and potatoes, cooked in a casserole. They served it on a plate with three slices and a small salad to garnish the dish. One bite into the omelet made her feel as if she was sitting in a café on the main street in Barcelona. Georgina had a seafood pasta dish. It was a delicious blend of shrimp and steamed vegetables on top of linguini in a light white wine sauce. All of the ingredients were so fresh and flavorful.

The Food Dudes did not leave with empty stomachs. If you are looking for a traditional Spanish restaurant just around the bend from Trinity, stop by Costa del Sol at 901 Wethersfield Avenue. It truly is a “Sunny taste of Spain.”

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