La Casita – Bringing a Taste of Spain to Ilkley

La Casita, ‘The Little House of Tapas’ is an Ilkley restaurant serving Andalusian tapas alongside traditional wine and cocktails.

There are a few La Casita restaurants located in Yorkshire, the first of which was opened in Ilkley by chefs and entrepreneurs Simon Miller and Oliver Renton in 2014. I visited the Ilkley branch on Friday evening with my sister. It was one of our first restaurant visits post lockdown so we were really looking forward to trying out their range of tapas dishes, especially after hearing that La Casita pride themselves on carefully curated dishes that are made with produce from Yorkshire and from authentic Spanish suppliers.

On arrival at the restaurant, my sister and I were shown to our table. Despite wearing masks, and the tables being spaced out a little further, things felt pretty normal. We sat down, took in our surroundings, which were beautiful – lots of artwork on the walls and cool light features – and took a look at the menu.

As we both love tapas, we wanted to try and order a range of dishes. We asked the waitress for her suggestions and in the end we opted for 6 different items. We were told that the dishes would come out when they were ready, which we were ok with, but I am aware that this can be a little annoying for those wanting to enjoy all their dishes at the same time – so something to bear in mind if visiting La Casita.

We ordered a couple of meat and seafood dishes. The meat option we chose was the ‘Muslos de pollo salpimentados’ which was a plate of salt and pepper chicken thighs, with spring onions, coriander and a rich and sticky sauce. Although I am not sure how Spanish this dish was, it tasted amazing and was a standout dish for me. The chicken was cooked so well and the sauce was incredible. For our seafood option, we went for the ‘Calamares’, which were crispy calamari with coriander and lime aioli. I loved the crispiness of the calamari and thought that it was cooked brilliantly. The dipping sauce was also flavoured well.

We chose three vegetarian options. First, the ‘Croquetas de manchego’, which were crispy manchego cheese croquettes served with roasted onion puree. I’m not a huge fan of deep fried creamy dishes, and I found these croquettes a little heavy. However my sister, who has lived in Spain, said that they were great and tasted authentic. We ordered the halloumi popcorn with honey and garlic dipping sauce. I loved this – the little halloumi balls were crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle, and the dipping sauce was really unusual but went so well with the subtle flavour of the halloumi.

We also ordered a plate of ‘Zanahoria asada’, which were roasted carrots with cumin, toasted coriander, crushed hazelnuts and almonds. I really enjoyed the dish as I have not had the combination of flavours and textures before. However, I did think the portion was a little small to be shared.

Patatas baby, mermelada de chorizo

Finally, we ordered the ‘Patatas baby, mermelada de chorizo’, which were roasted baby potatoes with chorizo jam, sour cream and chives. This dish was good – but didn’t blow me away. I missed the sticky tomato sauce that I have come to expect with patatas bravas. We finished off our meal with churros with chocolate sauce. They were great, and although we were only served three, we both agreed that the portion was right for a sweet treat.

Before going to La Casita, I had read some reviews that mentioned that the portions were small. Although my sister and I agreed that the portions weren’t huge, as we had a range of dishes, we ate enough, didn’t leave a morsel on our plates (so no food waste) and we left feeling very satisfied. We both had a brilliant evening at La Casita. The service was brilliant – the waitresses were helpful and didn’t leave us waiting for anything. The food was epic and we loved every dish. I am already keen to go back to get the all you can eat menu as it is just £20 per person and is offered on Sundays.

Photography by Gemma Bridge.

Dr Gemma Bridge

Gemma, who works at Leeds Beckett University, has been writing for over 10 years and loves to share what's going on in and around Leeds. She is also an international athlete, artist and the creator of Leeds Food Guide. You can find her on Instagram at @GLB_racewalk or @Leeds_FoodGuide

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