Flavor Fiesta

By staff June 25, 2007


A hot night at Sangria.


By Judi Gallagher


It’s hot in Sarasota, and it’s even hotter at Sangria Tapas Restaurant on Main Street. The flavors of their new small-plate items like the pulpo gallego—tender octopus and red potatoes with crushed peppers, Spanish paprika, onion, olive oil and garlic that gives you just the right kick of heat—are spectacular, especially with a refreshing pitcher of red sangria (they also offer white and rose sangria as well as a balanced Spanish wine list). On a mission to check out the new menu items as well as revisit some old favorites, I enlisted good friend and photographer Salvatore Brancifort to be my foodie accomplice, a position he most graciously accepted and has reapplied for since our spectacular flavor profile at Sangria.


Many tapas bars seem to miss the mark of great flavors and simple, pure ingredients. But Sangria gets it right. It’s one of the best tapas restaurants I have ever tried and how fortunate that they are right here on Main Street! As a tuna fan, I was most impressed with the tuna tartar. A new twist on a Spanish classic made from beef, this version marries top sushi grade tuna with capers, olive oil, basil and a hint of lemon juice. Select a light, crisp white wine and you have the most refreshing summer dish.

Tuna tartar with Spanish flair.


 I would be remiss if I did not mention a few favorites from the original menu: the beer- marinated chicken wings with garlic sauce, (trust me they are OVER the top with flavor) and the setas a la plancha, a simple dish of fresh mushrooms in olive oil, garlic and butter, are musts. If you are looking for a hearty dish, the pato con peras, fall–off- the- bone duck confit with pears and port wine sauce, will make you lap the plate for the sauce alone. My accomplice declared the codillo de cordero, braised lamb shank served with rosemary sauce for only $10.95, could be the best braised lamb he has had, and at this price and the high quality of ingredients, one can clearly choose to dine here several times a week.

The braised lamp shank is a bargain at $10.95


Glad to see that Sangria has reopened for lunch on Monday through Friday with a new light and creative menu that includes a soft drink. Watch for their “Running of the Bulls” celebration throughout July and a chance to win a trip to Spain, (although I think the winning trip is just to find a parking spot on Main and enjoy Sangria right here in Sarasota.)


 Looking for more creative dining? Check out the new progressive dinner series on St. Armand’s Circle. For information about future dinners and the great cause they benefit, call Pam Berry at Hemmingway’s at 388-3948.
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