5 of Melbourne’s best Spanish restaurants
And for the rest of April, our city’s appetite for all things Spain will be even bigger during the Spanish Film Festival.
Festival director Genevieve Kelly plans refuel at her favourite Spanish restaurants during the festival, which runs from April 13 until May 1. These are her personal top five (and scroll down to Genevieve’s top five picks of the festival).
The perfect balance of authentic Spanish cuisine, ambience, casual dining, excellent Spanish wine and beer and genuine service. A whole experience. You can dine alfresco (both the front and courtyard have heaters too) and enjoy a glass of Spanish Cava, before having a full Spanish feast with the most delicious jamon, Spanish-style oysters and of course, paella!
All of the MoVida venues have excellent design, a cool atmosphere and fresh, exciting flavours. MoVida really sets the bar with a new style of Spanish traditional dishes, inspired by the day’s market-fresh produce. It’s verging on 15 years since the first opened and its popularity and success is justified.
197 Gertrude St, Fitzroy, 9415 6101
For a more intimate, southern-style Spanish experience, visit this enoteca-style wine and food bar on very cool Gertrude Street. There is a welcoming style to this little husband-and-wife tribute to Iberia. There are also some Spanish/Moorish themes to the menu items. A real treat (pictured top right).
On a Saturday night (or any night), this is the place to line your tummy with amazing flavours and then kick on up in the rooftop bar. Bomba offers boatloads of ambience right in the heart of the CBD, and hearty, rich, tasty Spanish food – preparing your stomach for the excellent drinks menu and providing the energy to dance later.
5. Bar Lourinhã
Matt McConnell’s Bar Lourinhã is another fresh and exciting take on Spanish cuisine – perfect for a date. It’s a smaller space decorated with lots of boho charm and a beautiful wooden bar. There is a short menu, but you are then offered a much more elongated version with specials of the day. The bar staff is lovely and willing to engage and be flexible to serve what suits you best, even half serves.
5 of the best movies at the Spanish Film Festival
Melbourne’s Spanish Film Festival runs from April 13 to May 1, with screenings at the Astor Theatre, Palace Cinema Como, Kino Cinemas and Palace Westgarth. If you’re not sure where to start in choosing a flick, here are five of the best (as chosen by festival director Genevieve Kelly).
1. EMBRACE OF THE SERPENT
Ciro Guerra’s multi award-winning, Oscar-nominated film is a breathtaking cinematic odyssey through the Amazon, following the quests of two European explorers in search of a rare flower alleged to have healing properties. The spectacular widescreen black and white cinematography and evocative sound design combine to depict the landscapes and characters with an hypnotic, mythical sense of wonder. This is an extraordinary film exclusive to the festival on Closing Night events only.
Ricardo Darín and Javier Cámara star in Cesc Gay’s funny, moving and hugely entertaining reflection on male relationships which won Best Film, Director and Actor at the recent Goya (Spanish Academy) awards. Set in the heart of glorious Madrid, this unmissable jewel of a film is a reminder that the best friendships are, indeed, forever.
3. SPANISH AFFAIR 2
If one affair wasn’t enough, the romance of Rafa and Amaia returns – this time with some new friends and fresh laughs, as the Catalans are thrown into the mix! With new elements of playfulness, 2015’s number one Spanish box office hit will leave audiences with a fresh grin as Amaia’s father Koldo and ex-lover Rafa join forces to prevent Amaia from promising herself to Pau, the wealthy hipster. This is the perfect film to enjoy before celebrating opening night with a riotous party the festival is notorious for, at the glamorous Astor Theatre.
4. ISLA BONITA
Fernando Colomo’s 20th feature film is nothing short of a spontaneous, inspiring and delightful gem dealing with matters of the heart – both young and old. Colomo himself stars as Fer, a Woody Allen-esque divorced filmmaker in the midst of a life-crisis. Set on the radiant island paradise of Menorca, it is warm-hearted, funny and genuine, and the special event will take you on a beach holiday when served with White Sangria and pintxos!
5. MA MA
In one of Penélope Cruz’s finest-ever performances, the beloved actress powerfully depicts a woman experiencing major life challenges, with an indefatigable dignity, persevering in the only way she knows how. From acclaimed director Julio Medem (A Room in Rome, Sex & Lucia), the festival is proudly presenting the world premiere of Medem’s original cut, which expands the motivations of characters and includes depictions of sexuality that were deleted for the Spanish theatrical release.