The temperature is a scorching 32 degrees Celsius. The city oozes heat; it rises up from the blackness of the asphalt, teasing little beads of sweat on the foreheads of tank-top-clad twenty-somethings as they saunter by, walking slowly so as to avoid excess perspiration, or cruising ever-slowly on their bicycles to create a little cooling breeze. The sun beats down relentlessly, emanating warmth like fire. What to do on a day like this? Sangria on the terrace, of course. Accompanied by some small snacks and perhaps a little Flamenco dancing. Where to do this? Club Espagnol!
Tucked neatly away on the second floor where Marie-Anne meets St-Laurent, this second-floor Spanish cultural institution is the place for Sangria and Spanish Tapas in Montreal. Especially in the summertime when their large sunbathed terrace is open till 11pm. The Sangria is ice-cold and made just right, and the atmosphere is farther enhanced by the sun’s special way of leaving a trail of light directly over the patio as it slips downward, making its way closer and closer to the horizon.
Delectable small plates await: grilled pulpo (octopus), squid cooked in its own ink, sizzling gambas (shrimp) with garlic and butter, fried chorizo, mushrooms with butter and garlic, escargots (snails) in garlic, butter, and white wine, paella, and grilled bell peppers and onions. Around you on the terrace–which extends into the back alleyway like a ray of sunshine–you will hear French, English, Spanish, and Portuguese. If it’s a Wednesday and your timing is right, you find yourself surrounded by Flamenco dancers. If it’s a weekend, you may be serenaded by the locale’s Spanish guitar hero who will meander gracefully toward your table, guitar in hand, to sing you a special song.
But regardless of the day or the hour, the food is always yummy, the people-watching is top notch, and the Sangria goes down just right.