Branson has a new authentic Spanish tapas restaurant! And it is better than I imagined. Here’s the breakdown:
While we will cover the incredible food, we must first talk about the environment. In a shopping mall, Olé Eatery is nothing fancy.
It is broken down into two rooms; one is where you order and pay at the counter. The other is the dining area, which is large and open.
This atmosphere does not set the scene for the incredible food we were about to have. With the meal I had here, I would expect a romantic, date-night type of atmosphere instead. It definitely needs sprucing up.
The menu can be found here on their website. It is full of four different paellas (Spain’s national dish) and many tapas, or small shareable dishes.
Paella Negra: $21.89
Description: “Black Rice” Spanish rice cooked with squid ink with shrimp, clams, calamari, and scallops.
I lived in Spain for a summer, studying, and I had my fill of paella. It’s safe to say my expectations were high. I almost got the traditional Paella with chicken and Spanish chorizo, but I asked the man behind the counter which paella was the most flavorful and he suggested this one.
While I’ve had squid ink pasta and found it pretty bland, this perfect dish was anything but bland. There was so much flavor! The rice was cooked perfectly and it was saucy, not one dry bite. The seafood was cooked perfectly. The garlic aioli and fresh herbs that topped it off gave it a fresh bite. I LOVED this dish. It was the most flavorful, delicious paella I’ve ever had. Also, while the serving appears small, it was very large. Drew and I could barely finish it all.
Description: crunchy pork belly with sweet chili aioli
While this dish was good, it was my least favorite. Fried pork belly is always good and they fried it well, it just was a little dry and could use more of the chili aioli.
Patas Bravas: $5.49
Description: Potatoes with Spanish Salsa Brava and lemon oil
I did not want to get this. I wanted the ham croquettes, croquetas españolas, but they were out. So, I went for one of the cheaper menu items. I was not disappointed! While they are no ham croquettes, they were cooked well enough they had a crunch and the sauces were delicious.
Churros in Spain were my favorite thing to eat. Well, except the dulce de leche gelato. In Spain, you would typically get a “hot chocolate” with your churros. However, it was not regular hot chocolate. This was thick, like a melted chocolate bar. You dip the churros in the “hot chocolate”. It’s just how it is done.
So, I was a little disappointed to see the small amount of chocolate drizzle over the churros and a small dollop of what seemed like chocolate icing on the side.
While the churros were good, they weren’t anything unique. Next time, I’ll try the guava empanada.
I loved this meal. The paella was the best paella I’ve ever had. Hands down. The tapas are super fun, too. I can’t wait to try their croquetas españolas next time if they aren’t out. The staff was very kind. The atmosphere is the only thing that could improve. The food is way too good to be in an environment that doesn’t do it justice.