Details for DON QUIJOTE RESTAURANT - Ad from 2020-11-22

For 35 years, Don Quijote has served a taste of Spain in Valparaiso Two ingredients in Carlos Rivero’s recipe for success at his Don Quijote restaurant in Valparaiso are his passion for preparing Spanish cuisine and his experience as a restaurateur in Spain. The combination – and the flavors – keep customers coming back. Rivero remembers learning those flavors as a child. He incorporated them in his restaurants in Spain, and since 1985 he’s been creating them in the Iberian cuisine here in Northwest Indiana. “I do my dishes here the same way as I did them in Spain,” says Rivero. So they’re authentic? “I’m very careful with the word ‘authentic’ because I think it has been overused. But I get all my condiments from Spain. and I try to stay as close as I can to the tastes of Spain, including fresh fish from there, like the sea bass.” Another key ingredient in Don Quijote’s success is Rivero’s dedication to his customers. “I like to concentrate on making friends, not just customers. You come in, I treat you like a friend.” He remembers many customers’ names and what dishes they like. His journey from Spain to Northwest Indiana included bringing the love of his life and continued his love of celebrating food. Talk to Rivero and you hear his enthusiasm. “In Spain I fell in love with a beautiful woman, my wife. And I love to cook, I love the kitchen.” For 35 years he’s been delighting patrons with a contemporary Spanish menu that includes five versions of paella, a Spanish favorite that Don Quijote serves heaped with seafood, chicken, pork, vegetables or a combo on a bed of saffron rice. “Spanish cuisine is so diverse. Spanish restaurants all have their own way of choosing menus and preparation of dishes. My menu represents different regions of Spain,” says Rivero. Don Quijote’s menu includes succulent roasted lamb, chicken, pork, many seafood-based dishes, and a variety of vegan dishes. Among sandwich lovers’ choices are the hearty bison burger with creamy manchego cheese and serrano ham and the French fried squid sandwich. Among the soups is gazpacho, another signature of Spanish cuisine. An amazing 27 appetizers feature octopus, artichoke, squid, a savory empanada, steamed mussels and much more, all infused with Riveros’ stunning blend of Spanish spices. There’s a children’s menu, too, from the adventurous to the tried and true. For years, Rivero’s dessert maker has been a Spanish woman. Three years after opening Don Quijote, Rivero made her a partner in the business – and she’s still turning out “the best flan,” says Rivero, who adds that all the des- serts are made from scratch. Rivero gives a lot of credit for the restaurant’s success to his servers. “I meet with my servers every day. When people come through the door, we cater to them 100%. If there’s something you don’t like, there are no questions. We prepare something else on the menu.” Don Quijote’s full bar also features homemade sangria. “Over the last 20 years Spain has become the most celebrated country in the world for its wines, so we offer a fine selection of wines,” says Rivero. As for the atmosphere at Don Quijote, patrons enter a representation of an open plaza in Spain, with lighting, arches and a friendly vibe, yet customers can enjoy a private conversation. “A lot of our customers have traveled to Spain and they love the culture and the food. So we try to capture people’s imaginations with the setting, the food and the aromas,” says Rivero. “I’ve been making friends here for 35 years. We want you to feel as if you are at a friend’s house for dinner, with the best food, the best service, the best experience.”