Remembering One of Vancouver’s Longest Running Restaurant Institutions

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.

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There are 5 comments

  1. So fun looking back at days gone by. For me, it was Iaci’s. We’d often park in back lane, walk up a dubious wooden staircase right into the kitchen where multiple generations of the Iaci family would greet and seat you. As a kid, no meal was better than cheese bread, sausages and fettuccine Alfredo. No thoughts about carbs or calories, those were the days. All the who’s who celebrities autographed pictures on the wall. The tablecloths, the smell, the warm hospitality of a family that knew my family and watched us grow up. If I had a time machine, that might be my first stop.

  2. Well said. If I had some primary source material (chiefly photographs) Iaci’s would be similarly featured here.

  3. Loved that restaurant so much … Papas Bravas, perfectly layered Cafe con leche, albondigas, Sangria…

    Such great memories

  4. Both our families have such fond long-time memories of La Bodega. When got married, Bodega had just opened and we were able to have our small wedding dinner there. It was perfect for everyone. My father-in-law has since passed and so the new restaurant has another special place in our hearts.

  5. April 23 2021

    Loved La Bodega

    We practically lived there on Friday Nights for years, loved that place. Press Club on Granville, La Bodega for dinner…and! Then The Yale for good music such great memories still doing La Bodega on Main really good food.