217-219 Chestnut St, Philadelphia, PA 19106
Ideal for: Family Gathering, Date Night.
I grew up eating typical Spanish food without really knowing it. A close family friend would come often to my house and prepare Tortilla Española (Spanish omelette with potato chunks) , and we would eat that for dinner. Whenever I would go to my friend’s house, we would eat tocinillo del cielo (traditional Spanish dessert made from 10 egg yolks and sugar) for dessert, and my parents will buy milhojas (Spanish Napoleon) constantly to enjoy with our afternoon coffee. It wasn’t that my parents didn’t let me know that I was eating Spanish food, but it was something that I was so used to, so I never questioned it.
When I started to discover new restaurants in the Philadelphia area, I came across Amada. It is a restaurant that gives a modern touch to classic Spanish dishes. I never went there because the menu is very limited to what a kosher girl can eat. Then I saw that Amada was offering a three-meal course for Center City District Restaurant week, and I couldn’t pass that opportunity up.
We made reservations a week ahead of time, and we only found a time slot at 5:40 p.m..We decided to share some of the plates to be able to try as many of the items of the menu as possible. For starters, we ordered the aged manchego that comes with truffle lavender honey and a garrotxa cheese (cheese from Catalan, made from goat milk) with a chocolate hazelnut puree. I thought these two cheeses were going to be melted with the sides on top of them, and was a little disappointed when I saw the plate of cheese approaching the table. Now, that is a sentence I never thought I would say, but I have to admit that I was more excited when I thought it was going to be melted cheese than a piece of cheese. I tried the honey first, and it was quite delicious. Anything with truffle makes me extremely happy, and I loved how the taste of the strong and sharp cheese was complemented by the sweet of the honey and the lavender. The garrotxa cheese with the chocolate hazelnut spread was incredible too. I never thought of mixing chocolate with cheese, but I am happy I gave it a try. This spread was sweet in a different way than the honey was, as I am sure people have had cheese and honey before. I skipped the bread it came with, and spread the chocolate on the cheese directly. I am now a fan of this combination and know what to serve my cheese with next time I have a girls’ night in.
We also got tortilla Española for the first course, as we were allowed to choose two items. It was quite delicious, it was salty and starchy, and the Safran sauce gave this classic dish a modern twist. We were extremely disappointed though, that the tortilla was baked in the oven instead of being fried. We still ate the whole thing as it was good, but we couldn’t call it a tortilla Española.
For the main course, we all ordered a grilled lubina (sea bass) with a garlic, lemon and parsley sauce. It was one of my favorite dishes of the night. It was salty but not in a way that makes you beg for more water, and the garlic seasoning was delicious. We also got coca de alcachofas y setas (flatbread with artichoke and mushrooms) that comes with black truffles as well. Now this was definitely my favorite plate of the night, and wish I skipped the lubina once I tried it because by this point, I was so overwhelmed with all these flavors. The flatbread was extremely thin and crunchy, and it had baked manchego on top of it. Then, the mushrooms and artichokes were on top of the cheese, and guess what? More manchego cheese on top of that! I saved some of the honey from the first plate, and put it on the flatbread. It was quite delicious, although I could only eat one piece of it.
By the time dessert arrived I was ready to go home. I didn’t enjoy the milhoja mainly because it was not what a milhoja is supposed to be like. It was indeed a modern version of it, but I didn’t like it. The pastry was overcooked, the cream was dull and the caramelized banana didn’t go well with it. The tocinillo del cielo felt like it was just whipped cream instead of the baked goods we enjoyed so much growing up. I have to say that dessert was not a good idea at this place.
Jewtina Tips: Keep an eye out for Restaurant Week to sample from its menu for a cheaper price.
Teenu- Disfruta- Enjoy!