The St. Albert spot is located in a strip mall, but the pottery and bulls on the wall, all painted white, create a feeling within the space that’s anything but suburban. We arrive on a Saturday evening, and there’s a small lineup of people waiting for tables or bar spots, but, we’re seated fairly quickly and the servers greet us promptly despite the rush.
We’re told by the server that there are slight differences in the menu at each Bodega location, but each has an emphasis on ordering items for the table to share. The Piri Piri Dusted Fried Calamari, perfectly cooked with a bit of heat in the breading, is a wonderful starter. The Serrano Ham Croquettes are creamy and rich on the inside, served with a creamy honey mustard mayo that’s, dare I say, delicate. The tang remains, but the harshness that can come with mustard isn’t there.
For the main, we share the Lobster Risotto. The pieces of lobster are significant and the richness of the lobster broth with a dash of tomato sauce offers a great complement. There’s enough left over to take home.
One more note: Bodega has an extensive wine list, and posts some of the best pairing possibilities on a chalkboard by the bar each week. But don’t sleep on the cocktails. There’s a gin and tonic menu — five varieties of G&T with different flavourings representing various parts of the world. I tried the Portuguese Gin and Tonic, with ginja, cherries and port wine all added in, and it tasted sour and sweet — almost like a… Long Island Ice Tea?