Chef Aitor Esnal and Wine Fandango – Food, Wine and Fun

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When the name of your gastrobar is Wine Fandango and your logo is a ‘porrón’ (an old time wine bottle), it’s no surprise that here things are done in a different way.

Wine Fandango's logo is a 'porrón', a wine bottle used in rural Spain

Wine Fandango is a partnership between Aitor Esnal, a young Basque chef, and two brothers, Ricardo and José Miguel Arambarri, known for their innovative approach to the wine business.  The company’s motto is “food, wine and fun” and it excels in all three.

Esnal grew up in Zarautz, a small town near San Sebastian on Spain’s north coast. From an early age he enjoyed cooking in the kitchen with his mother and when he was 17 his parents, realizing that being a chef was his dream, enrolled him in the prestigious Luis Irízar culinary school in San Sebastian. After graduation, Esnal worked as an intern at Arzak, Miramón, Martín Berasategui and Paco Roncero while continuing his education at the Basque Culinary Center.

His first opportunity as a head chef/owner was Marinee with his wife Beatriz in Logroño’s old town and in 2014 he joined the Arambarri brothers at Wine Fandango.

Esnal defines his culinary philosophy as ‘food with flavor’. The menu at Wine Fandango is an eclectic mix of classic northern Spanish dishes and creations that combine unusual ingredients and cooking techniques such as a salad made with quinoa and salmon in a mirin boshi sauce (fish marinated in mirin and soy sauce and dried for a couple of days) with local roast red peppers and guacamole.

Esnal also invents meals based on local produce, called ‘Bites of La Rioja’.  His latest creation was a seven course dinner, including a cocktail and dessert, using brown beans from the Riojan town of Anguiano.

'Bites of Rioja' featuring brown beans from the village of Anguiano

The restaurant’s approach to wine also combines the local favorite – Rioja – with wines from around the world.  Esnal admits that both locals and tourists who visit Rioja are mainly interested in drinking Rioja, but are willing to let the Wine Fandango staff recommend a wine appropriate to the dishes they order.  After all, who knows enough about wine to order a bottle to drink with pad thai?

Fun is the third leg of the Wine Fandango philosophy.  The bar is Logroño’s favorite ‘after work’ place to meet for a drink.  On Saturday evenings you have ‘Sábados Fandangueros’ with a DJ, cocktails and ‘flow’. Once a month, Wine Fandango organizes a Wine Lovers Experience featuring a winery as well as ‘Catas Fandangueras’ where you can taste different beverages like rum, whisky or tequila.

It’s easy to see that Wine Fandango is THE place to go in Logroño to experience interesting food, great wine and cocktails, to learn about beverages and have fun with your friends.

 

Wine Fandango

Vara de Rey, 5

26003 Logroño (La Rioja)

[email protected]

www.winefandango.com

 

Tom Perry-Inside Rioja

www.insiderioja.wordpress.com