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Mediterraneo : Mediterranean Flavours in Nha Trang

Mediterraneo is a little restaurant in the centre of Nha Trang, which, despite only having been there just over a year, has become very popular due to the quality and authenticity of its food - a wonderful mix of Italian and Spanish cuisine.

Why the mix? Easy, the owners and cooks are a couple, Ivan from Spain and Sabina from Italy; they cook what they know and what people like: from Italy, Sabina brought typical Roman dishes like matriciana, carbonara and arrabbiata. Ivan cooks Spainish staples, from some tapas like albondigas (meatballs) or pulpo (octopus) to more traditional delicacies like paella or presa.

To start we tried three different types of bruschetta, all of them delicious and served in rather generous portions. Perhaps the star of the starters, Ivan’s own creation, was the mango salad vinaigrette which offered a great balance between the acidity of the vinegar and the sweetness of the fresh mangoes.

The gnogghi sorentina, served in a hot clay pot, and topped with cheese were out of this world, offering an amazing taste, texture and an explosion of flavour.

The matriciana was not far behind, also delicious and nicely presented and a close competitor to the next dish, the not so well known but superb fideua.

The fideua is a typical Spanish dish, similar to paella, but using thin noodles instead of rice. As the tale goes, it was invented when a restaurant was making paella and realised too late that they had run out of rice and decided to use noodles instead. Ivan’s fideua was very tasty, with lots of fresh seafood.

Our last dish, Presa Iberica, is also quite unknown outside of Spain. It is the best, moist cut of pork, offering an exquisite taste - definitely my favourite main course.

With hardly any space left in our stomachs, we could not say no to the desserts, especially knowing that they were homemade. The chocolate cheesecake with vanilla ice cream had an intense chocolate flavour without being overwhelming and matched well with the refreshing homemade ice cream.

Apart from great food, Mediterraneo also offers a great selection of wine, spirits and cocktails. We had the opportunity to try Proximo 2010 from Marques de Riscal, bringing vanilla tones with dark cherries.

Mediterraneo is the only Spanish restaurant in Nha Trang with a Spanish chef, and that makes a big difference.

Open 7 days a week, and with space for 30 people, this lovely restaurant is a must if you want to try some authentic, delicious but inexpensive food while visiting Nha Trang. Starters from VND35,000, Pasta dishes and pizza start at VND110,000.

Mediterraneo. 92 Nguyen Thien Thuat, Nha Trang. T: 058 352 1827

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