According to TripAdvisor, there are 280 restaurants in Dundee, 262 of which have reviews and scores.
Propping up the pile is Pizza Hut, with the tagline “Abusive, bullying staff”. They finish just behind the Mazaydar, which apparently has a “shocking Tikka Masala” and the China Palace, which one reviewer states is “ONE OF THE WORST TAKEAWAYS IN DUNDEE”.
So I know where I won’t be eating then…
But on the flip side, king of the hill is a restaurant that’s mere mention to locals will get a knowing nod of approval and either “Oh, that place is amazing” or “Oh, I’ve not been but I’ve heard that place is amazing”.
It’s the restaurant most people refer to as “That tapas restaurant above the pub in the Ferry” (even though it’s now taken over both floors); it’s the Sol Y Sombra Tapas Bar.
And we went last night.
Sol Y Sombra Tapas Bar Review: The Restaurant
Because the restaurant is quite small and is very popular – especially on weekends – it can be quite difficult to secure a table and so they now offer the choice of sitting upstairs in the actual restaurant or downstairs
in the bar. We chose the restaurant.
It’s a cosy little establishment that’s nicely decorated and comfortable.
I’ve been before and must admit that if there’s a table full of loud or boisterous people seated at the same time, it can be quite difficult to hear your own conversations, but last night there were no such issues.
The waiting staff are mostly Spanish, which lends a certain authenticity to the experience, and with each dish they bring to you, they explain what’s in it and at times what region of Spain the dish is from.
They were also very friendly, which – as shown by the TripAdvisor review of Pizza Hut – is important.
Sol Y Sombra Tapas Bar Review: The Food
Sol Y Sombra offers no set menu. Instead, they’ll ask you if there’s anything you don’t like or if you have any dietary requirements, and with that in mind will just bring out plate after plate of food for you to devour. I personally asked for no mushrooms while my girlfriend Mhairi is a vegetarian and obviously wanted no meat.
From memory, what we ended up getting was…
Round 1: Olives and Nuts
Round 2: Bread with Aioli, Peppers stuffed with cheese, a variety of other cheeses, spreadable chorizo (for me), almonds with quince jelly (for her, although I still took some for myself) and a sliced baguette with fig and goats cheese.
Round 3: Kebabs (meat on mine, halloumi on hers), Prawns in garlic butter, a sort of black pudding spring roll, vegetarian and non vegatarian paella, Spanish potatoes, Asparagus with aioli, pan fried fish, pork belly with mango, mushrooms (for her obviously), some kind of blue cheese and vegetable croquette, a bruschetta, a Spanish egg tortilla, some chicken stuffed in a pepper and a Spanish form of breaded chicken,
There was probably more in there too, but for two people, that’s an epic feast. You can see that from the pictures.
We tried our best to finish it but we couldn’t. That’s not a problem though; it’s better to end up with too much than not enough.
And there’s absolutely no question that the food was of the highest quality. It was awesome, and well deserving of its place atop the TripAdvisor pile.
We were offered desert (a choice of cheesecakes or sorbet) but could barely move, let alone take in more food.
Sol Y Sombra Tapas Bar Review: The Vegetarian’s Viewpoint
Vegetarians are awkward types aren’t they? You try to go out for a meal in a group and there’s always one lone voice saying “We can’t go there; they only have one vegetarian dish on the menu and I don’t like it”. Either that or they martyr themselves and say “It’s ok, I’ll just get chips” and make you feel terrible as you tuck in to your barbecue feast while they roll their eyes and look like they are having the worst time imaginable.
Don’t get your knickers in a twist you carrot munchers, I’m only kidding.
Or am I…
Anyway, to be serious, my girlfriend and fellow gourmand Mhairi is a vegetarian and so it’s important that when we go out there is stuff for her to eat.
Here’s her take on how Sol Y Sombra caters for vegetarians…
“I was really impressed with all the meat free dishes at Sol Y Sombra. A lot of thought and effort was put into each one and there was just as much of a selection as there was for the meat eaters. And shut up
Stuart, vegetarians are not awkward!”
Sure they aren’t Mhairi; sure they aren’t…
Sol Y Sombra Tapas Bar Review: The Price
For all that food, along with two lemonades and two glasses of orange juice (oh and if I’m going to mark them down for anything it’s that the glasses of orange juice were barely half full) it came to £52. I believe £44 of that was the price of the food.
That’s terrific value, especially for the quality of fayre.
Sol Y Sombra Tapas Bar Review: Final Thoughts
A nice ambience, friendly staff and most importantly, superb, plentiful food at a fair price, Sol Y Sombra gets my highest recommendation.
The Stuart Reviews Restaurants Seal of Approval.