Time is generally one of the truest tests of a restaurant’s calibre. It takes both quality output and a local touch to not just exist, but thrive. At Evuna – who’ve recently celebrated 15 years of operating – that’s exactly what’s on offer.
Evuna is both tapas restaurant and Spanish wine importer, meaning that as well as dining in at one of their three – soon to be four – locations, you can also drop by to buy bottles of directly imported wines to enjoy at home. Back in 2003, its first-ever location right in the heart of the city on Deansgate was opened, and since then they’ve opened further premises in the Northern Quarter and Knutsford.
The calamari is a guilty pleasure maybe, but it leaves you smiling
They draw their bottles from Rioja, Alicante, la Mancha, Catalonia, Ribera Del Duero, Rueda, Navarra, Aragon, Malaga, and more – some of the country’s finest wines. Most recently, to celebrate the 15-year milestone, they welcomed winemakers Roberto Santalba from Santalba, and Jesus Sanchez from Arzuaga for a special wine-tasting.
Their Deansgate location is a gorgeous, welcoming space, with red-brick walls, wrought iron and heavy wooden chairs. It’s perfect if you’re just passing by and want to stop for a quick lunch and glass of wine.
The deep-fried, breaded calamari comes out hot and crispy, in bite-sized curls along with a pinch of aioli. It’s a classic tapas choice for a reason – done right, as these are, it’s satisfying, simple and fresh. A guilty pleasure maybe, but it leaves you smiling.
The Spanish omelette, is light, soft and perfectly caramelised
Their version of that other tapas classic, the Spanish omelette, is light, soft and perfectly caramelised. They haven’t felt the need to add any unnecessary extras – it’s simple and cooked until the flavours have melded and the texture is rewardingly firm. Proof that simple is sometimes better.
When it comes to tapas, a useful bellwether is how good the croquetas are. All across the city, Manchester’s range of Spanish restaurants each try and perfect this classic tapas dish to win over diners. Sadly, Evuna’s were a little cloying to bite into, though flavoured nicely with Serrano ham.
Once we moved onto further tapas, I was equally impressed – there was delicate pork with pear jam, devilled eggs accompanied by spicy avocado and fish roe, and crispy king prawn skewers freshly deep fried – still sweet and soft inside – served with aioli and a tomato dipping sauce. Each one was packed with flavour and memorable.
Evuna proudly offers great food, but even better service – you’ll never feel like an afterthought here
Evuna proudly offers great food, but even better service. Their staff are knowledgeable and enthusiastic, and will happily meet any special requests you have. You never feel like an afterthought here. At the beginning, Evuna was simply a wine importer wanting to offer a few tapas with their hand-selected vintages – and 15 years of this dedication to the full experience still shines through.