Steve and I love dining tapas style. Most often when we go out to dinner we order several appetizers or small plates. Sometimes we order an entrée to share and sometimes we just order extra apps. We feel like we are getting to taste so much more of the menu that way. So going to a restaurant that specializes in tapas is perfect for us. At Chef Garces’ culinary masterpiece Amada he has embraced the rich traditions of Spanish cuisine. Amada is rustic but very chic. Rich dark wood makes the dining room feel welcoming and cozy. Our booth had high side walls and a domed canopy that made us feel as though we were the only ones in the restaurant. (Obviously, they were more elegant, but those domed canopies reminded me of my favorite amusement park ride the Tilt-a-Whirl!) And if we were there in the daytime the enormous windows would have offered up a spectacular view of the boardwalk, beach, and ocean. Here at Amada Chef Garces showcases the authentic taste of Andalucia and you may find special menu offerings such as a whole roasted suckling pig, lobster paella and a chef’s tasting menu.
The huge menu made it very difficult to narrow down our choices to a reasonable amount of food. But we somehow managed to create our own perfect tasting menu. We started off with charcuterie and cheeses. The Ibérico ham was sublime. The thin slice of this very special ham had just the right balance of salty and savory. The assortment of three kinds of cheese and condiments became a fun activity of mixing and matching. There was Garrotxa, which is similar to Nutella, truffled lavender honey, Caña de Cabra, which is a fig and cherry marmalade, Idiazabal, which is a roasted garlic Dulce de Leche, cornichon, and caper berries. Plus we can’t forget the slices of lovely crusty bread and the nice big bowl of Artisanal Spanish Olives, Toasted Chile, and Orange to round out our nibbling pleasure. Next, we had the fabulously presented salad. The Ensalada de Jamón looked like a beautifully wrapped gift package. The arugula, figs, bacon, spiced almonds, and incredible Cabrales blue cheese salad was entirely encased in Serrano ham. The perfectly dressed salad was revealed when it spilled out onto the plate as you cut into it. We took our time with the salad, savoring each bite and enjoy the nice bottle of red wine we chose to enjoy with our meal. By the time our garlic shrimp came, we were glad it was our last savory plate. The shrimp were cooked perfectly and they were sweet and garlicky. Plus they had just the right amount of excess garlic oil for sopping up with their great bread. And, of course, we saved just enough room to share a bowl filled with four scoops of housemade ice cream. Somehow I am never too full for ice cream!