Didsbury is one of the more popular Greater Manchester surburban areas for great grub and gorgeous bars – and for a good reason. It’s home to the undeniably wonderful Hispi Bistro, the delectable Olive & Vine, and some of the nicest coffee in town (read: Caramello.) However the star of the show is undoubtedly Rafa’s in Didsbury.
It’s a place people across Greater Manchester can cross paths and enjoy some of the finest delights…the most sumptuous Spanish restaurant you’ve ever set foot in. I’m sure you’ve walked by it 1000 times and never noticed it existed, and let me tell you – you’ve made a mistake…
By the time I had walked through the doors I had already been completely been won over…
The ambiance here is so lovely that even if the food was mediocre you would still want to pop in for a coffee or a drink. And it’s from the people who brought you El Rincón de Rafa in Manchester city centre.
Think the best paella you’ve ever tried in your life (and more.)
Prices are around the £5 mark per dish (around a tenner if you’re fancying one of their delectable seafood specialities) and you won’t regret it either…
We did what any respectable foodies would do and over-ordered so we could try everything.
We stuck to three classics to start (boquerones, mushrooms lathered with blue cheese sauce and Spanish aubergine deep fried and coated with imported artisan honey) all of which were sent directly by Jesus himself to our dinner table. Truly divine.
Three beautifully done classics.
Having loved the initial dishes, we had major expectations for our mains…
The king prawns were fresh as anything and married with enough fried garlic to satisfy even the most ravenous Spanish vampire.
Tender and melt-in-your-mouth as the fried fish dish was, it was the scallop ensemble which really stole my heart with its exceptional flavour of the ordinarily mild scallop prevalent in every bite.
Rafa’s chefs specialise in their paella which comes as ‘mixta’ (a bit of everything – meat, seafood and veg) a vegetarian option and a divine seafood paella.
The mixta was sumptuous as it was tasty, slow-cooked and sprinkled with all the top Spanish herbs and spices, the real treat was the sumptuous King prawn taking his crowning glory centre stage – and a soft on the inside, slightly crunchy on the outside chorizo.
I was truly blown away by how flavourful it was. Seasoned to perfection – it was classic, light, fresh and flavourful – an exceptional version of a classic dish.
Last but not least, we shared the churros with chocolate caliente and two liqueur coffees
The chocolate didn’t wow me if I’m honest, being slightly runny for my taste but the churros were fresh and crunchy as anything and piping hot – just the way I love ’em!
Their menu also includes deep fried camembert, classic patatas bravas, croquettes and mantecados y polvorones (traditional Spanish crumbly cookie.)
In true Spanish fashion, the wait staff let us sit around for as long as we’d like and didn’t rush our meal at all.
Dark and moodily romantic, it manages to abstain from any of that hot stuffiness small restaurants are constantly battling with.
This is a must visit for a date night, and a perfect place for those craving a heart-warming Spanish feast.