4.5 out of 5
Moderate location, not too far out of the way; street metered parking easily available most of the time but also a valet if you are so inclined. Décor ranges from the market section on one side, a more modern and simple dining room with a food counter area towards the other side, and down a few steps a lower wine cellar area with a more rustic feel adorned by wine barrel tables and all their wines lining the walls. There is a very good wine selection with some affordable and unique choices – our wine connoisseur was extremely happy with his and could not stop talking about it. Service varies with some at times appearing distracted however for the most part very good – examples include our wine guy being invited to that lower room to search and choose the right wine for him, how well I was attended to our needs when a full wine glass broke, and the very well informed and accommodating staff at the deli/market section.
Food comes out as it is prepared with some of the cold items marinating from before and thus arriving quicker to the table. At our table we had two orders of grilled razor clams, which were good but not great, and various staple tapas such as a Spanish tortilla, ham/chorizo/manchego cheese platter, pulpo a la vinagretta, and fried morcilla (blood sausage) which were all very well prepared. We then stepped into more complex and chalkboard “specials” territory with the piquillo peppers stuffed with buey (ox, from what I understand), bacalao with piperrada (cod with piperrada, which I still cannot explain as that is also the English translation but was good), clams with giant perfectly cooked faba beans in a delicious garlicky broth; and bacalao gratinado (cod gratin) with a thick and rich garlic aioli of some sort on top. All of these were absolutely excellent – but then there was the croqueta the pato (duck croquette), this being the second time for me. It is a single piece for $4.75 however it is a block, literally the size of four medium croquetas eslewhere, of a decadent duck béchamel perfectly breaded and fried then topped with a fruit jam and a neighboring smear of a cheesy cream sauce. It is rich but not greasy, crispy and creamy, sweet and savory, and just the right size to indulge without going overboard.
There are daily specials that both vary and repeat through the week(s). Dessert does not strike as very impressive and the Crema Catalana we had was okay, though admittedly Crème Brulee type desserts are not my thing anyway and the Spanish are not known, at least to me, for their mindblowing sweets. The servings/portions range as described on the menu from small plates to tapas meant for sharing to larger full dinner portion (or also for sharing if you like) dishes, all priced accordingly and appropriately. With taxes but before tip our bill was $136 for four but consider this included a bottle of wine, more than 10 dishes of various sizes, and (most importantly) everyone very happy and satisfied without belts exploding. It is a MUST TRY quality tapas/Spanish cuisine restaurant that delivers in basically every area without nonsense and no particular Smoke and Mirrors.
2101 Coral Way
Miami, FL 33145