Bodega has been serving up wonderful food in Waterford for many years, but for some reason I never managed to eat there until October 2006. I was highly impressed and have returned many times since, bringing friends.
You know from looking at the shopfront of the establishment that it's going to be that little bit different. Painted as it is in a pale lilac colour the exterior stands out on the streetfront.
Heading through the front doors on a frsoty Autumn evening you find yourself in a warm and, dare I say it, cosy interior. There's a cave-like atmosphere in that the walls have the appearance of roughly hewn rock or stone - bright terracotta and cream paintwork brightens this to a warmth that's not equalled in the City centre. Wine bottles crowd wooden shelves throughout the room and modern local artwork adorns the walls.
Add to that a very pleasant mish-mash of different sized wooden tables, a really great menu, and a welcomiing and eager staff and you find yourself in a place where you know you are going to enjoy the evening. Throw in the most meltingly gentle jazz music and you're entranced. I didn't want to leave as the music changed from Funny Valentine to these foolish Things to an instrumental of Stairway to Heaven.
Returning in April 2008 things were as good as ever.
Try the champagne mojito!!
Favorite Dish: I began with a charcuterie plate of mixed meats and pates, tastefully served with pickles, onion jam, and another preserve. It was divine. My friend had a timbale of mixed shellfish which was a great and tasty change from the usual crab timbale that most restaurants favour.
Following this was one of the specials of the day - medallions of fillet beef in a rich madeira-type sauce with fresh prawns. My friend had barbary duck which was thinly sliced and buttery. These dishes were accompanied with a side dish of crisp fresh vegetables - broccoli and baby carrots. Each main dish had a large serving of a suitable potato based vegetable.
I decided to indulge and have a dessert - the exploding chocolate cake, as it used to be called (now more accurately called the chocolate souffle). I have tried this dish in several restaurants where it has failed because it has been too heavy or too cloying. Bodega succeeds. The souffle is light and airy and when the crust is broken and the warm hot chocolate sauce spills out on your place it mixes with a luciously creamy home made ice cream and the combination melts in your mouth.
Price? Ninety euro for two people. Not cheap but worth every cent. I return regularly.
OPEN - for lunch and dinner.
Our choices for lunch on Tuesday afternoon were fairly limited as it was still a bit early, we passed by several that weren't yet open for business before settling on Bodega. From the name I would have assumed this was a Spanish restaurant but it's not, their website describes it as an "eclectic mix of food and ambiance that might well be described as Mediterranean". The interior is cozy, the waitstaff friendly.
The restaurant and town were pretty much dead at lunchtime, I guess that might explain why no one else was open yet, it doesn't seem to be an overly touristy town and folks might not eat out for lunch in that part of town.
Favorite Dish: I ordered the Waterford steak sandwich with red onion, lettuce & wholegrain mustard & a garnish of fries (€9.90), it was a bit bland. My husband's choice was better and from the specials menu, a chorizo mushroom quiche. The reviews on Menu Pages are overwhelmingly positive, I thought it was fine but nothing special.