A NEW restaurant is bringing the tastes of Spain to Bendigo.
The Sangria Spanish Tapas Bar opened in Victoria Lane three weeks ago.
Ann-Maree Davis, who co-owns the restaurant with husband Gary, said the venture was unique to Bendigo and a long-term dream for the couple.
“This is our first venture into the restaurant trade,” Ms Davis said.
“I’m a chief executive with disability provider Amicus, which in my day job.
“My husband and I have been working on this for many years.
“We’ve been trying to find the right spot and pull together the concept.
“It’s very different to anything existing in Bendigo and we’re getting lots of great feedback.”
The couple have made a significant investment in the property, which used to be a hairdressing salon.
“We have a range of small, medium and large plated dishes with those authentic Spanish flavours of paprika and saffron,” Ms Davis said.
“We’ve really tried to use the best of local produce where we can source it.
“And some of our ingredients are also imported from Spain.
“It’s just really good food.
“It’s difficult to describe the cuisine but it’s something not many people in Bendigo have had the opportunity to experience.”
The restaurant employs nine people and is open Wednesday to Sunday for lunch and dinner.
While there are no Spanish chefs at the eatery, Ms Davis said the food had been well-received, even from Spaniards.
“It’s surprising how many Spanish people live in and around Bendigo,” she said.
“We’ve had interest from a large number of people in what we’re doing from a work point of view or coming in as customers.
“Anyone who has travelled to Spain would know the best Spanish tapas bars are down laneways.
“We were very deliberate in choosing that spot.
“It’s been a long time dream and it’s finally reality.
“We’re keen to give a cultural experience to Bendigo.”
Ms Davis said the restaurant had been popular in its first few weeks, which she hoped would continue.