Let’s face it, Europe is quite the flight from Australia. Luckily, Melbourne is quite the multicultural hotspot, able to stem homesickness or travel bugs with its mini versions of some of the world’s greatest cultures.
Take Spain for example. Sure you won’t see Melburnians hurling tomatoes or fleeing bulls stampeding down city streets, but if you’ve got a hunger for something Spanish, Melbourne can feed it.
Traditionally, Johnston St in Fitzroy is known as the Spanish Quarter in Melbourne, although it’s a diluted version of its former self these days. But here are our five favourite ways to viva la Espana in Melbourne:
Start your gastronomic tour of Spain is at MoVida, one of the most famous and highly rated restaurants in the city. It’s rustic, authentic and delicious. Feeling inspired afterwards? Savour Spain in Coburg is the place to go for Spanish ingredients.
Melbourne loves its little bars and you’ll find them down most laneways in the city. Bar Lourinha is small and artsy, with delicious tapas on the snacking menu and a neat array of Spanish liqueurs and inspired cocktails (try the zingy, aromatic ‘Lola Flores’).
Come on, you have to flamenco! Head to Kanela in Fitzroy’s Spanish Quarter for live flamenco performances as well as the chance to take dance classes in the performance studio.
Get under the skin of Spanish culture by learning the language – or how about taking a cooking class? Try the Spanish Cat to wrap your tongue around the language, or try Spanish Home Cooking to wrap your tongue around some tasty local cooking. The Council of Adult Education in the heart of the city also regularly offers language and cooking classes.
If you time it right, your visit just might coincide with La Mirada Film Festival – a celebration of Spain on celluloid. It generally takes place around April and features some major guest curators.