Many people who have visited downtown Valparaiso since 1985 have discovered the distinctive cuisine of the regions of Spain at Don Quijote Restaurant. Offering an excellent introduction to the rich and varied flavors and aromas of Iberian cooking, the proprietors and chefs, Carlos Rivero and Elena Jambrina are both natives of Spain. Carlos Rivera inherited his fascination for cooking from his father who worked as a chef on an ocean liner.
After three years of having his own restaurant in Spain, Rivera met his American wife. Together, they came to the U.S. After several months looking for the perfect location to open a restaurant here, Carlos discovered the building located at 119 E. Lincolnway in Valparaiso. Elena Jambrina, also a native of Spain, came to the U.S. in 1980 and met Rivera through a mutual friend. Both Rivera and Jambrina feel like cooking is more than a skill or a career, it is a passion.
Some people have come to Don Quijote expecting Mexican food, but the only thing the two have in common is the Spanish language. Spanish food, in the way it is prepared, is closer to Greek or even Italian cuisine than it is to Mexican. The Restaurant offers an extensive menu, which includes grilled shellfish, swordfish steaks, skewered pork, Castilian style roast lamb, and two excellent versions of paella, the national dish of Spain and specialty of the house. The current food sensation, tapas (Spanish appetizers) is another specialty. Among the 25 different tapas available are calamares (octopus) Galician stuffed meat pastries, and the traditional Spanish potato omelet. Unique and delicious homemade desserts round out their extensive menu. And no Spanish restaurant is complete without the national dish of Spain – paella, don Quijote offers two versions of this amazing, multi-flavored dish.
Inside the restaurant, you’ll enjoy ethnic old Spanish décor including intricate iron and hand painted murals representing the restaurant’s namesake Don Quijote de la Mancha, a 17th century, world renowned character and novel by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra. A continuous slideshow of Spain’s picturesque venues bring the beauty of the country to you. The slide show takes you on a visual tour of this beautiful European country as you dine by candlelight in an atmosphere of old Spain. When you enjoy your elegant, authentic meal over candlelight – don Quijote guarantees you’ll be back for seconds. On warm summer evenings, you can also enjoy dining in the outdoor cafe, reminiscent of the sidewalk cafes of Spain.
Don Quijote offers the distinctive cuisine of the regions of Spain, and this restaurant offers an excellent introduction to the rich and varied flavors and aromas of Iberian cooking. Offering an extensive menu, which includes grilled shellfish, swordfish steaks, skewered pork, Castilian style roast lamb, and two excellent versions of paella, the national dish of Spain and specialty of the house. The current food sensation, tapas (Spanish appetizers) is another specialty. Among the 25 different tapas available are calamares, octopus, Galician stuffed meat pastries, and the traditional Spanish potato omelet. Unique and delicious homemade desserts round out the extensive menu. A continuous array of slides takes you on a visual tour of this beautiful European country as you dine by candlelight in an atmosphere of old Spain. On warm summer evenings, you’ll enjoy dining in the outdoor cafe, reminiscent of the sidewalk cafes of Europe. There are so many dishes to try that you’ll want to return again and again.
Over 25 years, Rivera remembers only one restaurant in the area when he opened in 1985 – the China House. Part of their success is the fact that Rivera and Jambrina are frequently seen coming out of the kitchen to essentially going table to table and chatting with their friends who joined them for an authentic Spanish meal. After 25 years, they have customers the come from all over the county who come to eat every chance they get.
Every 1st Thursday of the month, they participate in the Eat Up Wine Down that gives everyone a chance to enjoy a night out with $5 specials. Other participants are: Bon Femme Café, Casa Del Mar, Good to Go by Lucrezia, Margaritas Restaurant & Bar, Main + Lincoln, Pikk’s Tavern, Sage Restaurant, The Silver Spoon, Tommy B’s, and Valley Kitchen and Bar.
Don Quijote’s also presents their annual Live Flamenco Dinner & Show in October with two seatings. In addition, they have their annual Wild Game Buffet Dinner in March. Seats are available by reservation only.
To make reservations, or for more information about Don Quijote, call 219-462-7976 or visiting www.DonQuijoteValpo.com.
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Don Quijote Spanish Restaurant
Porter County Fair
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• Visit Gabis Arboretum
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• Hiking at Sunset Hill County park
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