Last Friday, my girlfriend Jeanne and I headed out for a few cocktails and dinner around 7 p.m. and ended up in downtown Allentown so she could experience Sangria. Since Sangria happens to be conveniently located on the first floor of the building I work in, I've been there several times since it opened a couple weeks ago.

I would describe the cuisine at Sangria as traditional American staples with a Mediterranean flare. The rich decor is that of burnt orange, black and gold. The waitstaff seems to have things under control for a new restaurant. And, they even offer valet parking at night.

I wasn't sure what the crowd would be like that night since I knew that most of the work places close at 5 p.m. in that area. Well, to my surprise the place was crowded and there were quite a few people there who I actually knew. Some were sitting outside, others at the bar, and some were at their tables enjoying dinner. Jeanne and I chose the bar area.

We ended up sharing dinner, which was excellent. We started with the calamari. Since Sangria opened all I have been hearing is, "Have you tried the calamari yet? It is the best in Lehigh Valley." With a reputation like that, we couldn't go without ordering it and it proved to live up to the comments that have been flying around town.

Next we had a flatbread with spinach, roasted red peppers and feta cheese. Again, it was outstanding.

For the entree we chose the shrimp cakes with a grilled red onion aioli which was served with a seasoned rice pilaf and asparagus with a cauliflower sauce. We were particularly fond of the asparagus with its unique sauce.

The bill came to $72 which included the aforementioned food, one martini, two glasses of wine and the tip. We will definitely be heading back at some point. I know where my rainy and snowed in the office days are going to be spent!

Have you been to Sangria yet?