A Taste of Deutschland

Just another Geschmacks site

Archive for the ‘Spanish Cuisine’ tag

Andalucia Spanisches Restaurant

leave a comment


U 6, 8 68161 Mannheim

As I step into Andalucia Spanish Restaurant a few minutes before they official open, I kindly ask out loud, using my newly found Spanish skills, ¿está abierto?  A Spanish gentleman standing behind the bar smiles and replies ¿por qué no?  He leads me to a prime table next to the windows, ample light streaming through, lights a candle resting on the table, and immediately brings a menu.  Whereas some restaurants would demand that you wait until they open, the casual attitude and welcoming hospitality shines here at Andalucia.

 

Inside, the ambiance is rustic Spanish with hints of modernity mixed in.  Posters of singers and dancers are plastered all around on the walls.  Tiny bottles of spirits are stringed together and hung on the ceiling.  Different postcards and foreign currency are attached near the bar area.  Various souvenirs and antiques, including ancient typewriters, radios, musical instruments, and fine tapestry, add a unique touch to the room, but also create a somewhat cluttered and fussy mess.

To put it in perspective, all of the decorations greatly contrast with the elegant, white tablecloth covered dining tables.  It’s a sure head-scratcher.  The tables are positioned around an elevated stage in the front corner of the restaurant, where live entertainment is performed at night.  Sort of reminds you of a modern version of the nightclub in I Love Lucy.  When there isn’t a show going on, Spanish language canciones play throughout the dining room and add that authentic flair.  Sitting in here, it’s easy to forget you are in Germany.

 

On the menu is a huge selection of tapas, including chorizo, gambas, calamares, mussels, sardines, and artichokes.  Gazpacho can also be found.  Paella and different types of seafood highlight the list of main dishes here, but meat lovers can also find chicken, lamb, and steaks here.  An entire page devoted to Spanish regional wines is featured in the back of the menu (you can also see countless bottles of wine stored throughout the restaurant).  After all, what’s Spanish comida without vino?

A complimentary bread basket, paired with allioli (Spanish aioli), is presented to each table, providing guests with an excellent precursor to the main meal.  Good complimentary items are always a good indication of superb food.  The white bread is fresh, soft, and absolutely amazing when paired with the garlic and olive oil sauce.  The allioli has such an intense, concentrated flavor that it leaves you wanting more, and more.  It is so potent that, hours after you leave the restaurant, you will still have this delectable garlic taste lingering in your mouth.

 

A potato egg omelet, Tortilla de Patatas seems like a rather simple dish.  But the flavor and texture is unbeatable.  The vibrant yellow omelet is as delicate as a slice of cake – the potatoes and eggs just dissolve in your mouth upon contact.  Eggs are fluffy like flawlessly scrambled eggs; potatoes are cooked until soft and are buttery.  Although the outer layer appears burnt, you wouldn’t even notice it in the taste.  Also on the dish are slices of cucumbers and a lettuce leaf that also go well with the potato omelet.  Tortilla de Patatas is an excellent starter, hands down.

 

Pechuga de Pollo a la Plancha – grilled chicken breasts – is a breathtaking presentation served with perfectly fried potatoes and a medley of colorful vegetables – bell peppers, onions, green peas, as well as a side salad of shredded carrots, raw onions, cucumbers, and lettuce.  The chicken breasts are superb, every bite juicy and succulent.  Well seasoned and perfectly grilled, the meat is to die for and matches with the potatoes and vegetables extremely well.  The thick slices of melt-in-your-mouth potatoes are masterfully prepared.  The salad is rather austere, though the carrots add a nice hint of sweetness.  Each element dances the flamenco, or the salsa, or the tango in your mouth, depending on how you coordinate it.  Price for the entire dish is a tad steep (13,90 €), but the flavors are on par and presentation is picture perfect.

The service is exquisite and utterly attentive.  Very courteous and friendly, the Spanish staff further adds to the brilliant dining experience and make for a relaxed evening.  The only shortcoming about the restaurant is possibly the long wait time.  The chefs prepare each dish to order and ensure beautiful presentation so finely that it may take fifteen to twenty minutes for your entrée to arrive at your table.  However, regardless of what you order, your patience will certainly be rewarded.

If you are unable to afford a flight to the southern region of Spain for a taste of authentic Spanish cuisine, Andalucia Spanish Restaurant in Mannheim is quite possibly the next best thing.  All of the dishes, from the tapas to the main entrées, are superbly executed, delicious by any measure.  Add in the extraordinary selection of dishes, live entertainment, and outstanding service and you have a successful restaurant.  Andalucia represents Spain extremely well and deserves a visit.  ¡Buen provecho!

.

Summary:

Andalucia is THE Spanish restaurant to go for traditional Spanish cuisine.  From a wide selection of tapas, to freshly prepared seafood and meats, to mouthwatering desserts, along with live Flamenco dancing on specific nights, Andalucia offers a truly authentic Spanish flair in a cozy dining environment.  Pleasant dining area outside, in front of the restaurant.  Prices reasonable.  Service extremely friendly and amiable.  Spanish spoken.  Highly recommended.

Hours: Daily: 5:00 PM – 5:00 AM

 

Overall – 5 stars

  • Tortilla de Patatas – 5/5
  • Pechuga de Pollo a la Plancha – 4.5/5
  • Service – 5/5

.

http://www.andalucia1.de/

Written by geschmack

June 19th, 2010 at 11:55 pm

Bodega Don Jamón

one comment

 

Bierhelderweg 4 69126 Heidelberg

Grilled pork tenderloin medallions wrapped in cured Spanish ham.  Cod loins crusted with fried garlic.  Catalan crème brûlée with a caramelized top layer.  The best way to describe the dining experience at Bodega Don Jamón?  An exciting gastronomic adventure through the soul of Spanish cuisine.

Bodega Don Jamón is a favorite of local Heidelbergers – students and citizens alike.  Its out-of-the-way location makes it fairly unattractive for tourists.  This isn’t a bad thing because Bodega Don Jamón maintains a strong, healthy following.  Each and every night, rain or shine, snow or sunny, the place is practically packed, both inside and out.  This makes calling for reservations an absolute must, unless you don’t mind waiting for hours on end.

There are two separate menus here – a petite booklet in English and an impressive, giant sized manuscript written in German.  The German book is superbly decorated and beautifully written, though it may be somewhat difficult to decipher the explanations written in cursive.  The English version is currently missing the drinks list and the descriptions can be misleading – the Berenjenas Embuchadas is described as “marinated baby eggplants,” when in actually they are pickled (as the German book correctly explains).  Unless you already have a good culinary background in Spanish cuisine, or are willing to try just about anything, it’s probably a good idea to come here with someone who speaks German or Spanish.

The atmosphere is romantic, the environment welcoming, and the service impeccable.  The décor flawlessly captures the essence of Spain – colorful murals of dancers and countrymen bedeck the surrounding walls of the dining area (even on the ceiling!), framed paintings hang from the walls opposite the murals, empty jugs and vases line wooden shelves above the tables, and dry-cured Spanish ham (Jamón Serrano) can be seen dangling from the ceiling behind the bar.  Tables and chairs are made of standard wood.  Each table is adorned with a candle and a beautiful bouquet of flowers to set the mood for the evening.

 

On this night, all diners were given an amuse-bouche, complements of the chef.  A fried crab and fish ball sitting on a spoon of aioli (garlic sauce) comes on a small dish, along with a bowl of bread.  The fish and crab is elegant and the aioli suitably enhances the flavor.  The bread is fresh and warm, the crust crisp.  It was a perfect start to the meal.

 

Tapas come in small plates and can be easily shared amongst a few people.  The Berenjenas Embuchadas – pickled baby eggplants – are sour, juicy, and unique.  An order comes with 5 baby eggplants on a small plate, garnished with a leaf of lettuce and a slice of orange.  The eggplants have an unexpectedly strong flavor that can best even the adventurous of eaters.

Next comes the bowl of salad – a refreshing mixture of greens, Belgian endive, sliced tomatoes, diced carrots, sliced cucumbers, hard boiled egg, tiny croutons, and green and black olives, all tossed in a light vinaigrette.  Watch out, though, because the olives are unpitted!  Sadly, the vinaigrette is lacking a bit in flavor , leaving the vegetables merely soaked in a rather disappointing dressing.

 

Fortunately, the meal gets better from here.  Bodega offers a large selection of fish, seafood, steaks, and other types of meats.  Order the Bacalao a la Llauna, a Catalonian specialty, for a delightful meal.  At 16,50 €, this entrée comes with 2 fried dried cod fillets, seasoned with paprika and topped with garlic, a mixture of steamed vegetables, and a portion of fried potatoes.  The fish is crisp, flaky, and delicate.  However, on this occasion, one of the fillets was too salty, nearly rendering it inedible.  A squeeze of lemon helped cut the saltiness down a notch, but this aggressiveness was hard to overlook.  The other fillet, ideally seasoned, tastes great in conjunction with the garlic.

 

Desserts go well with the rest of the menu.  Rich, creamy custard encapsulated under a thin, crunchy caramelized layer of sugar makes the Crema Catalana (Catalan crème brûlée).  Served with a sprig of mint and a cookie, the dessert is absolutely dreamy.

Bodega Don Jamón is widely praised by many people, and with good reason.  The food is fresh and the service is superb.  Ultimately, Bodega Don Jamón is a hidden gem tucked away in a mysterious, quiet part of town.  But this precious stone, it appears, has long been discovered!  Bodega is bodacious!

.

Summary:

Located in the southern part of Heidelberg, Bodega Don Jamón offers guests a wide selection of authentic Spanish cuisine in a quaint, rustic, and romantic setting.  Fairly extensive list of wines.  Prices are moderate.  Reservations are a must.  Parking can be difficult.  English, German, and Spanish spoken.

Hours: Daily (except Sundays) opening at 6 PM 
            Closed Sundays
            Reservations accepted starting at 4:30 PM

 

Overall – 4.5 stars

  • Berenjenas Embuchadas (Pickled Baby Eggplant) – 3/5
  • Bacalao a la Llauna (Dried Cod fillets with braised garlic & pepper, served with a mixed Salad and Roasted Potatoes) – 4/5
    • Salad – 4/5
    • Roasted Potatoes – 4/5
  • Crema Catalana (Catalan crème brûlée) – 5/5
  • Service – 5/5

.

http://www.bodega-heidelberg.de

Written by geschmack

January 13th, 2010 at 11:55 pm