IF you’re looking for a mouth-watering meal, relaxed ambience and an extensive selection of drinks, then Lancaster’s best-known tapas bar is the perfect choice.

Serving more than 50 different dishes – including 20 vegetarian choices – The Royal Hotel has established an enviable reputation among locals and visitors as the perfect prescription for those wanting to treat themselves to a reasonably priced, but luxurious, lunchtime or evening meal.

Though the venue is within walking distance of the city’s fine shops, pubs and clubs, you could dedicate several hours to sampling the food, wines and cocktails on offer or even surfing the net while you have a coffee.

Visiting with a friend on the wonderful event that is payday, a quick scan of the menu was enough to tantalise our tastebuds and we wasted no time in ordering – although it was a tough choice because everything jumps out at you.

We chose Patatas Bravas with a twist (deep fried potatoes with spicy tomato sauce and cheese), adding Pescado Empando (spiced fish cakes on a stir-fried bed of vegetables with chilli dripping sauce).

Then we went for Albondigas Latino (pork meatballs in a spicy tomato sauce), Paella el Pollo, (risotto with chicken breast, peppers and chorizo sausage) and, my favourite, the unsurpassable El Cordero Mallorca, (lamb steaks, onion and peppers in a tangy mint sauce). And it was all washed down with one or two bottles of Sol!

Eating at The Royal Hotel – also known as Latinos Tapas – makes you realise how good food can be, and that it is possible to eat tasty food without having to eat bread and water for the rest of the month.

There are some great offers available, including three dishes, or platters to share, for £9.95 during lunchtimes and early evenings, and a loyalty card system is just one of a plethora of reasons to return over and over again.