Eating another country’s cuisine is a more pleasurable introduction to a different culture than doing a Google search, riding an airplane, or learning to write HTML in ancient Egyptian. Taste a different part of the world with today’s Groupon: for $20, you get $40 worth of Spanish fare at Don Quijote Restaurant in Valparaiso, Indiana.
Hailing from Spain, chefs Carlos and Elena employ culinary prowess and homeland inspiration to rustle up a menu of authentic Spanish dishes, including more than 25 tapas. Octopus smothered with paprika and olive oil can accompany potatoes in zesty tomato sauce (all tapas $5.95–$11.95) or act as a bribe for small children to finish their cake. Main courses ($18.95–$24.95) include paella—a specialty of Carlos and Elena’s—loaded Valencia style with shellfish and chicken. Diners can dig into familiar proteins dressed in Iberian ensembles, such as lamb packed with green olives or rainbow trout paired with garlic and cured ham. Dinner’s denouement can come with a poached pear in red wine ($5.95) before stuffed bellies return to the task of keeping hula hoops relevant.
Don Quijote Restaurant
Originally from a small village in the mountainous region of Galicia in Spain, Carlos Rivero opened his first restaurant in Madrid before moving to the United States. It was his dream to introduce Americans to his native cuisine, and after several years of planning, he found his spot in downtown Valparaiso, Indiana. As head chef of Don Quijote, Carlos works with his assistant chef and business partner Elena Jambrina—also a native of Spain—to serve a menu of fresh seafood delivered weekly, 25 different tapas dishes, four versions of paella, bocadillos, flan, and other specialties from their home country, as well as over 110 Spanish wines.
Inside Don Quijote’s dining room, guests share meals and wine by candlelight while a continuous slide show provides them with a visual tour of Spain. In the warmer months, guests can drink and dine outside for an experience reminiscent of European sidewalk cafés that’s infinitely more pleasant than sitting on a curb reciting the rules of Spanish verb conjugation.