Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Diego's Andalucia Tapas & Delicatessen (Under New Ownership as of Nov 2013 - Review No Longer Applies)

It's a Thursday night, I don't feel like cooking and I am in the mood for something different. I want a place where I could enjoy good company, has good food and will bring a welcome break to the winding down of my week. Driving down 8th Street, I see Diego's Andalucia Tapas & Delicatessen, located in the Granada Plaza Shopping Center at 4825 S.W. 8th Street. That's it! I want to "tapear".  

We are greeted by Roberto, a friendly waiter who whisks us off to a nice table in the center of the room.  It is 7:30 in the evening and about half of the restaurant is full. There is a man playing the guitar and singing some familiar tunes, and the ambiance is exactly what I was looking for. I notice several "salted hams" hanging from the ceiling and the walls are decorated with bottles of wine and traditional  items from Spain. Roberto hands us a couple of menus; a full menu with all their dishes and a "tapas" menu that includes their tapas (cold or hot small plates), paellas, verbenas (small wooden boards with different tapas to sample), and bocatas (sandwiches). We chose their tapas menu since I felt like embarking on a mini trip to Spain tonight - even if only through my senses.

Their tapas menu is very extensive, listing over 77 cold or hot tapas; all numbered on the menu for easy recall on your next visit. It took us a while to sift through it and decide what we wanted to try this visit, so I ordered a refreshing glass of Sangria to start off as I dipped my toasty bread in delicious olive oil mixed with chunks of garlic. Our first tapas were the Gambas al Ajillo, Morcilla de Burgos, and Chorizo al Brandy. It was a great combination and the three offered different, distinct tastes. The Gambas al Ajillo were three shrimp, sauteed with garlic, that sat atop a slice of bread which was bathed in olive oil and herbs. It was just enough to grab my interest while allowing me to continue sampling some more. Although I don't particularly love blood sausages, the Morcilla de Burgos appealed to me. The two rice blood sausage "patties" topped some more slices of bread and were accompanied by "patatas" or potatoes. The Chorizo al Brandy was delicious! Imagine chunks of sausages swimming in a brandy sauce. The portion was perfect and a definite treat to the palate!

The next tapas we ordered were the Croquetas de Bacalao, Serrano Ham, and my personal favorite: Huevos Diego. The Croquetas de Bacalao were cod fish croquettes that came two to an order. They were delicately seasoned, not too salty and just the right texture. The Serrano Ham tapa was actually  a few slices of very fresh serrano ham sprinkled with olive oil. I was definitely left wanting more. Now, on to the Huevos Diego. This tapa consisted of two Quail Eggs with fried cod fish, each on yet another piece of bread. Amazing burst of flavors!! I absolutely loved it and it became my fast favorite immediately.

Because "tapeando" just wouldn't be right without some drinks, and I had finished my sangria, I ordered some Spanish beer and my next round of tapas. They were Flamenquines, Pan Tumaca c/Jamon, and Tapa de Paella Diegos. The Flamenquines were comprised of Pork Loin stuffed with ham and eggs, and were also accompanied with potatoes. The pork loin was tender, not too dry and the stuffing gave a kick to the flavor. The Pan Tumaca, which I really enjoyed, were two pieces of bread with crushed tomatoes and serrano ham. The typical Spanish combination of crushed tomatoes on bread, together with a slice of fresh serrano ham, gave this simple tapa a bold and appetizing flavor. Finally, the Tapa de Paella Diego's was one of several different types of paellas available on the menu. This one in particular was made with sausage and meat. It was quite flavorful and moist. Something I really liked was that any of these tapas could be ordered as a full dish for $10.95 so if there's a favorite, it can be enjoyed to a larger scale.

Finally, to complete my tapas evening we ordered dessert. We had the Crema Catalana and the Flan. Of the two,  I enjoyed the Crema Catalana the most. Crema Catalana is sort of like the Spanish version of the French Creme Brulee.  It was rich, creamy and sweet but not overbearing; with a delicious caramelized topping. It was a perfect ending to a perfect meal.

I have a great tip! The tapas here are usually $2.49 each but on Mondays and Tuesdays between 5 pm and 8 pm, they are only a dollar each! It's a wonderful opportunity to get together with friends or family for some great conversation and some amazing food and drinks at a reasonable price. Who knows? We may just run into each other next time we both have a craving to "tapear".... To contact them call 305-456-8130 or visit them online at http://www.diegosandaluciatapas.com/. *****


**** Under new ownership as of November 2013. Review no longer applies. Quality of food, service and overall ambiance has declined substantially.



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