Its just the time after 2 months living in ‘Spain’ to show some ‘restaurant life’ here in Mallorca. We already had a blog about Tapas connected to our holiday at Barcelona a couple of years ago… now i think i have a tiny bit better knowledge talking about “the tapas thing”.
Two different variations exist, i can say one is my type the other is my boyfriend’s. And we do argue about this over and over again…
So Alvaro came from Granada and the ‘tapas mythos’ originally born there… and means a bit different what we know from the tv or from the neighbourhood. Basically tapas is a free bit of food. Not totally free – because the price is built in the price of your drink, but if u have any drink (doesnt need to be alcoholic) u get a bite. Can be anything – usually a piece of bread with some salami, cheese or pickled fish, can be olives, salad, roasted meat or fried seafood… Depends on the place – in better bars u can even choose from a tapas menu, more simple if u get whatever they have in house. The main idea is that u get drunk with a couple of euros but not too drunk, cause u have food as well. (In my case it was not working, i became drunk faster an the food was never enough…. heh…) So this tapas is not my type. I love the idea of free food – but its not real. And because i like quality food i hardly can imagine myself having this stuff for a dinner for example.
However… my type of tapas…. u need to pay for it. Yes, uhhhh… but its good. Really good. It needs to be exactly the same like a normal dish – just baby size. Which makes it a bit harder. Everything in mini size but the work in the kitchen is the same quality just more quantity. Perfect textures and perfect flavor-combinations. This is my word.
Our first stop was the Taberna Burladero. Read good things in the Internet so I was thinking it worth to try. The location is more than perfect: in the heart of the city but in a tiny ‘corridor street’ – so u actually need to look for it. Dont have massive advertisement (thanks God its not full with tourist!) and u fall in love at first sight. The restaurant is absolutely traditional and modern in the same time. A little ignorance of the only waiter is balanced by the prices of the menu.
Most of the tapas cost around 3 and/or 6 euros, depending on the size. For example my first choice was the ‘morcilla spring rolls’ which was 6 euro. We got 6 rolls and the amazing stuffing contain not just morcilla but jamon, berries and nuts (one small bag of pinenut here cost around 6 euros!!!!). So this was really yummy. Then we got Alfie’s Patatas Bravas. Tiny disappointment (wasnt crunchy enough) but the spicy sauce with smoked paprika just spot on. After arrived my “big mistake” – the Iberian pickled loin with mushrooms, asparagus and pak choi… the little canape itself was a pleasure to eat but i did order this cause of a typing error which says PICKLED LOIN…. was just perverse enough to call my attention… After this we got the ‘speciality from Granada’, a little makeyourself sandwich: nice toast, roasted pepper, fried egg and a spicy chorizo. Nothing special but the sausage. Last but not least needed to try the confit duck leg (was just 3euro!!!!). Bit of bad… the tiny duck was a bit dry, suppose to come with nice apricots (was maybe one dried fruit sliced up). Served with real handcut french fries, but the very tiny type.
With these we were just stuffed enough. Ive seen ‘main size plates’ as well with special ox-tail or prawn tempura – the price was main size as well, around 12-15 euro. My boyfriend and I with drinks (beers and cavas) paid around 25 euro, which is amazing considering the quality (not a michelin star but the potato was a vegetable not a powder :))) hehhh). Really good option with friendly price, can suggest to everyone!!!
Second time i choose a quite famous place in the center of Palma which called La Boveda. The location is questionable, its in the middle of the biggest tourist area – its worse for the wallet. I really wanted to try this restaurant cause i heard tonns of gossips and recommendations (the most traditional bar with high quality food). The “prices seems higher” on the menu (but not in our bill!!!!!! – later :)), all the dishes dancing around 8 and 12 euros – but still without any clue about the size of one tapas, so need to be tried. The occasion was most of my classmates leaving do (returning to their real world :)) and we wanted to celebrate our short but sweet friendship in a special way.
Very good sign that a reservation needed – the place is always full. Waiting the table not that big pain, lots of cervezerias around to have a drink and a chat before. Finally got in the place and realized that our waiter is just too busy to smile, has a minute to throw some menus to the table. Proper tapas menu – my opinion is: too big. I do not question the quality of the food but for ex. having everything twice but different garninsh or sauce – its luxury. Can imagine the work in the kitchen . haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah… dont remember exactly but the number of the dishes can easily reach 80….
Anyway, lets jump in the food. Were 5 of us, so we started with one tapa each – just to check the size of it.
At the very beggining: perfect starter of the starters is always “pan con tomate y aceitunas“. Everywhere everyone can have this, nice toasted (outside crunchy – inside soft) bread rubbed in with fresh grated tomato (normally season this wet puree with grated garlic, salt, pepper and sometimes sugar or herbs) served with green olives. Simple and easy. The bread…. was brown and i liked a lot cause i think they bake it in the house. The texture was much more heavier than any other bread u would find in shops full with preservative chemicals. Just what i like – and of course we got a basket of it as well for the rest of the food. The dishes came quite fast, one by one: some crunchy croquetas de bacalao-cod (the flavor nice but a bit dry – could have use more besamel with less fish or drizzle with some dressing). The baby calamari was a big surprise: always my problem is to worry about not to have the little bits cleaned enough. Its understandable in a way, these little creatures just too small to break them into pieces and at the end u ended up with a big nothing if u wash them properly – not mentioning how long does it take. But i could not have a single word in this case: the calamaries were beautifully cleaned and fried with perfection to keep the natural sweet flavor what we balanced some lemon juice on the table. Same story with the “pescado frito” the fish was big enough the eat with hands but fried perfectly so the bones did not cause any trouble. All in my life met with the same problem about the gambas a la plancha: they are working with already cooked (probably frozen) prawns and sautee them in a pan with garlic, herbs, maybe a bit of white vine but with the shell on!!! I never understood this – all the seasoning sticked to the shell and probably u are not going to suck it out and in in a restaurant like an animal… This was the most expensive dish by the way, around 16 euros (for what???)!
In this stage we all felt good, without much hunger but just to talk a bit more we choose some more to “picar”. I insisted to get some morcilla – honestly was not a good idea. It was not bad at all – but pretty far from the ones i knew from Granada. This was much more salty. For me the ‘black pudding’ needs to be sweet cause of the blood and nuts and spicy for the smoked paprika. I am sorry. But the ball of mussels was worth to try, Big shell with medium sized body but fresh. Surprisingly the version of “mariniére” contained tomato (sauce) as well – was a nice touch. Bit too much acid of the two whole lemons.
Soon we arrived to the “bill-time”. Lets count again: because we had the croquetas twice altogether it was 8 plates. We drank 2 bottles of water and i had one baby glass of the house red. Thats it, and the bill was 81 euro!!! Which means around 16euros per head. Big prices on the door but not bad at all on the bill (footnote: we did not have really alcohol or dessert at all).
Conclusion: definitely a recommendable tapas-bar. At the end our waiter had time to smile – he even made picture of us! :)
To close our little tour what could do better then a proper Andaluz Tapas Bar?!? By the way, do u know where did the word tapas come from? The story short any funny: tapa means covering – long time ago the barman put a small plate on the top of each drink he served in a glass just for keeping the little flies, mosquitos, spiders away. By the time some bites started to arrive here and people got use to have a bit of food for free to have more drinks. heh… :) good tactic.
So back to our last place: well, u definitely not going to find on the “tipadvisor”… no advertisement, no website and to be honest, not even a normal name :)… because they just dont need. The view enough – just to turn into the street u can see a big pack of people sitting and standing outside in front of a bar… Real flamenco sounds and hardly any table free. Full outside and inside, around 50-60. Hardly but got a table for 5of us and started the party with the ‘translation of the menu’ (all of us speak spanish – but most of the dishes have a gipsy name :). First of all, when i said it is a proper andaluz place – it means that the food is for free till we order drinks. So needed a serious brainstorming what we really liked to eat and how we can organize this and the continously coming free tapas altogether. Sooooooooo….
We started with a round of drinks – we got the first tapas of the house, the meat in sauce. Served with chips and bread – the meat was cheap cut but the sauce was delicious with mushrooms, onions, vine, cream and so on… its in a “mums home-food” category. Good starts. After we got a second round of drinks – free food was a famous bikini with olives (toasted sandwich triangle with cheese and ham) and we did order a plate of mix pescado frito. As a nice surprise a big basket of bread and aioli came first and then a huge dish of all the seafood they have on the menu. I found bacalao, boquerones, baby calamari, squid, chocos (cuttlefish) and prawns. A bit oily but fresh and crunchy, goes really well with squeezed lemon juice and the garlic mayo… yummmmmmmm.
After this we were really keen on to try one last dish – however had no hunger anymore, but ordered the Albondigas… the mysterious meatballs in tomato sauce. My biggest question mark all night – trying to explore the secret of it, how the balls can stay sooo juicy… everyone made meatballs at least ones in the life: mixing the raw minced meat with the basic ingredients (eggs,breadcrumbs or milk-soaked bread, sometimes rice, flavoring etc…) and fried, cooked or steamed… but the result is always a bit dry or hard, like a hamburger… Here the meat were creamy and full of life. My only option is that they cook the mince meat with love (onions, garlic, paprika…) and after puree it like a paté and form the balls to make the final warming up in the sauce. By the way, originally this should be made with tomato base, though in this tapas bar was more a vegetable sauce (my palette liked it much more exept the tired french fries on the top to make the plate bigger but not better)…
To have a happy end we choose some home made sweets (the desserts tasted nice served with horrible garnish, icecream, sauce, cream… ?!? :S Some brownie, strawberry cheesecake and chocolate mousse.
And the big question is the bill… how much it can be for 6 of us (at the end Matilde could make it) with that many drinks and gratis tapa? Well, with a nice tips we left 80 euros… comparing to the ones before… kinda’ same price than the Taberna el Burladero was (the food in that restaurant is much more structured and detailed thou…), exactly the same like La Boveda (BUT there we had no drinks just food)… so worth to remeber the direction. This is all my comment… :) and come to try.