When drinking from a traditional Spanish porrón, diners must precariously funnel a stream of wine into their open mouths through a spout. Fortunately, at Espana, gracious staffers provide the daring drinkers with a glass of soda water to clean any spills from their shirts.
Porrón wine is only one of the Spanish traditions visitors encounter at the authentic Mediterranean restaurant, where more than 40 varieties of hot and cold tapas pair with pitchers of sangria amid the strains of a guitar. In the kitchen, chefs assemble exotic spices, fine meats, seafood, and vegetables onto small plates, drawing inspiration from generations-old Spanish recipes. They also prepare paella, a family-style rice dish that typically includes veggies, saffron, and meats. In 2009, an Omaha World-Herald writer lauded their paella a la tierra for its "earthy and rich, yet light and delicate" snails and "perfectly cooked" rice.
Out in the dining room, tapas plates speckle colorful red and yellow tables beneath the vivid abstract paintings that hang from sea-green walls. Each month, the dining-room stage hosts live cultural performances, which allow guests to enjoy Spanish guitarists, Spanish dance shows, and Spanish renditions of popular scenes from Good Will Hunting.
Bruegger's bagels are created using fresh, wholesome ingredients and then kettle-boiled in the New York tradition, resulting in chewy centers with crisp outer crusts. Awaken your taste buds with a savory combination such as the rosemary olive oil bagel smothered with onion and chive cream cheese ($2.39). Or, prove yourself to be a sweetie by adopting a family of 13 bagels and washing them up and behind the ears in the two tubs of garden-veggie cream cheese in the Big Bagel Bundle ($13.99). Bruegger's deli menu is flanked by an array of breakfast sandwiches and lunch fare. Bury thoughts of the snarky snooze button with the breakfast bagel bearing an egg, melted cheese, and a choice of bacon, sausage, or ham ($3.99), or wrap your mitts around the Leonardo da Veggie lunchtime sandwich and bite into tomatoes, roasted red peppers, red onions, and muenster cheese on an asiago Softwich ($5.49).
Born and raised in France, chef Cedric S. Fichepain carried his family recipes and passion for traditional French fare across the pond in 1997. Four years later, Cedric cut the ribbon at Le Voltaire Restaurant, which serves up classics such as croque madame sandwiches and coq au vin stewed in white wine. The cellar's 1,000-bottle inventory of French wines has earned the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence eight years in a row, and the eatery was also recognized as one of the city's best French dining experiences in _Omaha Magazine'_s Best of Omaha 2012. The restaurant's lemon-yellow walls and rough-hewn wooden door create a rustic feel, and beneath a unique glass bar top is a display of carefully arranged dried flowers.
Specializing in edible emporiums of excess, Sips & Subs assembles its gravity-defying bread skyscrapers with support structures of flavorful meats, ambrosial cheeses, and an abundance of tongue-tantalizing condiments. The party-worthy platter is piled high with sliced bread, hoagie buns, and tomato-basil wraps filled with your choice of savory combinations. Considered by some as the supreme Super Bowl snack, the tray feeds 20 to 30 people—or one offensive lineman's backup stomach.
At E’Z Place, big-screen TVs glow with action from college sports as diners peruse a menu brimming with classic American pub fare and bottles of domestic brews. A slew of appetizers, including fried pickles ($6.95) and warm mozzarella bread sticks coated with butter and garlic ($6.95), kicks off mealtimes better than a coin toss held inside a loaf of bread. The deep-dish Chicago-style Super pizza sends forks on a voyage through pepperoni, green peppers, and mushrooms ($14.95–$17.95), and the hand-tossed Aloha pie cradles pineapple, canadian bacon, and black olives like a refrigerator that moonlights as a hula dancer ($12.95–$17.95). Parmesan and mozzarella shield the meatball sub from a downpour of spaghetti sauce ($6.45).
Housed in a fire station dating back to 1900, and bedecked in fireperson memorabilia, Engine House Cafe lets patrons dive into a bevy of breakfast, lunch, and dinner hunger extinguishers with its expansive menu. Start your day with a hot helping of French toast with a side of ham, bacon, or sausage ($4.99 for two pieces) or another Engine House specialty, eggs Benedict with house Hollandaise ($7.59). Customers can customize their early-morning bites by hand-selecting goodies for an omelet, while pre-designed egg folds such as the garden veggie ($7.59) and fajita chicken ($7.79) give sleepy patrons time to clear the cobwebs from their creativity. Midday mouthfuls include an assortment of juicy burgers ($5.59–$7.39), classic cafe sandwiches ($4.19–$8.09), soups ($1.99–$3.49), salads ($2.99–$7.59), and more. Dinner fare adds heartier plates of comfort food, such as chicken-fried steak or chicken ($7.99 each), the smoked pork chop ($8.79), and a heaping helping of fresh-baked pie ($2.19 per slice, $2.99 à la mode)