La Ruca

20 07 2010

The Gloucester Road is one of Bristol’s most cosmopolitan streets. Once the longest independent shopping street in the country, the chain stores have now begun to creep in, but the vast majority of shops are still unique and proudly independent.

Among this bunch of proud independents is La Ruca, opened by Chilean Patricia Alvarez more than ten years ago when she moved to Bristol from her homeland.

On the ground floor, La Ruca is a health food shop, while on the floor above is La Ruca cafe, serving traditional South American and Hispanic food – much of it vegan and vegetarian – as well as being a weekly meeting place for Spanish speakers and Amnesty International letter writers.

Whenever I have visited, the cafe always has a very relaxed and laid-back feel, typically South American. On the walls are photographs of Chile, a beautiful country, and when I visited on Saturday afternoon a group of Spaniards were chatting animatedly at one of the tables.

It is a small cafe, with bare wooden floors and the tables packed tightly together. There are daily specials as well as favourites such as chimichanga, nachos, falafel and tortilla. On the drinks side, smoothies are a speciality, made with fresh seasonal fruit and yoguert.

On a road full of great independent businesses, La Ruca is one of the best.

La Ruca, 89 Gloucester Road, Bishopston. 0117 944 6810.



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