Living up to the tagline on their website – ‘real Spanish tapas in the heart of Durham’ – Tapas Factory offers a taste of authentic Spanish cuisine in a prime location in the city centre. Whether you’re having a night out with your significant other (as I was) or heading for a first date with a Tinder match, Tapas Factory is the perfect place to (hopefully) enjoy each other’s company, as well as some amazing food.
Located on Elvet Bridge, the restaurant is situated in an ideal location, particularly convenient for those living on the Bailey or around the Elvet area. It is also just across from Blue Eye cocktail bar so if the evening is going well, there are plenty of options nearby for you to extend the night with a drink or two.
The first thing you notice as you approach the restaurant is the beautiful fairy lights framing the window, which instantly set the tone for an intimate and romantic atmosphere. When we entered the restaurant, my boyfriend and I were immediately greeted with friendly smiles and shown to a lovely table right by the window.
Because Tapas Factory is a Spanish restaurant, for drinks we decided to order a jug of sangria to share. I wasn’t sure whether I would like it, but I was pleasantly surprised. It was the perfect combination of red wine and juice, with lots of chunks of fruit thrown in. It was sweet and refreshing, and the alcoholic element wasn’t too strong. It was also reasonably priced – around £8 each for 2-3 glasses of Sangria per person, much cheaper than buying a few cocktails.
The food menu offers an incredibly diverse range of small plates, catering to all dietary requirements. As vegetarians, we honed in on the meat-free selection, but there were plenty of meat and seafood options including crispy squid, sautéed king prawns, beef meatballs and chicken and chorizo skewers. In this respect, the restaurant celebrates the best thing about tapas: choice. You can either choose to order your own dishes or pick a few to share so that you can try the widest range of small plates possible.
In the end, we decided to get four small plates to share including one larger one (2-3 dishes per person is the recommended amount). We opted for a large portion of the Patatas Bravas Con Queso (cubed potatoes with spicy tomato sauce and cheese) which was only £5.55 for a large bowl. Whether you’re vegetarian or not, I’d highly recommend this dish as a staple of traditional tapas, which helps to make the meal more substantial.
We also picked the Champinones Al Ajillo (mushrooms sautéed in olive oil with garlic), which were delicious but much smaller than the rest of the dishes. For our final two dishes we picked the halloumi, which my boyfriend particularly enjoyed, and the Tortilla Española (Spanish omelette) which was tasty and good value at £4.55 for a large slice.
In terms of the overall cost, the total bill came to around the average amount we’d normally spend on a date night meal – £15-£20 each (though if we had ordered meat or fish options, the bill would have been higher). In this respect, though the restaurant is perfect for a date night, it is also a lovely lunchtime spot, which is even better if you’re on a tight budget. They offer 3 tapas for £10.95 from 12-5 p.m. every day, a truly fantastic deal.
Ultimately, I would highly recommend Tapas Factory as a restaurant which offers the perfect combination of delicious food, authentic sangria and a romantic atmosphere, all without breaking the bank. For one final point to consider, the speedy service means that if you’re on a first date that isn’t going too well, at least you won’t be stuck inside the restaurant for hours!
Image credit: Pexels (via Pixabay)