The ever-evolving Restaurant Graveyard series looks back at the countless, long-shuttered establishments that helped to propel Vancouver’s food and drink forward. Full A-Z with maps and photos here. May they never be forgotten!
This long-running Spanish tapas restaurant from Francisco “Paco” Rivas and José Rivas (no relation) provided lively, affordable nights out from 1971 to 2014. La Bodega was among the first restaurants that I ever truly enjoyed going in my childhoods, and I vividly recall the boisterous, almost raucous late-night atmosphere around its bar, where my father always preferred to be seated. Spread out on two-levels, the place was old school until the very end; all darkly stained wood beams and brick walls, red and white chequered table cloths and a kitschy bullfighting motif repeated throughout. The food and drink stayed close to classic familiarities like garlicky gambas (my first prawns), gently spiced albongidas and cold pitchers of refreshing (albeit unbalancing) sangria. It is the spiritual godfather of the Spanish-themed “Bodega” restaurant that now operates on Main Street.