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Friday, September 7, 2012


Forks: 9
Price: $$$

217 Chestnut St
Philadelphia, PA

Okay so it's the first restaurant review of the semester, and this is a restaurant that is oh-so-worthy. Famed chef José Garces is serving up authentic Spanish tapas and killer cocktails in his swanky restaurant, Amada, located in Philly's Old City. When my parents dropped me and my brother off at college *yes we go to school together how CYUTE,* they let me pick where we were going to dinner *shock*. Well, after much debate over which restaurant I wanted them to experience, I chose Amada and we were joined by Kels and her mom for one hell of a meal. I mean one HELL. I was in charge of ordering for the table and because I have some big fear of not having enough food/order anxiety, well I ordered a lot. I mean a lot a lot. Oops. Before you read any further, I'm warning you, this is a long one. Our meal started with complimentary house made tuna fish and these crispy flatbread crackers. I despise tuna fish, literally despise, but for some magical reason I love this one. Honestly, major props because thats a big deal. It's salty, boasts large chunks of tuna, and has a natural flavor, not like those overly mayo-y ones in the slightest. Basically, it's bomb and it makes me question my hatred.
We ordered the mixed charcuterie plate that came with a variety of cured meats, some soft sourdough slices, sides of pickles, caperberries, and spicy mustard. Ranging from sweet to tinglingly spicy, the meats were light and buttery and somehow managed to be tender and offer a chewy bite at the same time.  Get this.
 pickles please
One of my favorites is the Ensalada de Jamón, a salad of mixed greens, figs, cabrales, and spiced almonds thats wrapped in thin sheets of serrano ham. It's the perfect salad, harmoniously pairing salty and sweet with the ideal balance of textures. The figs and the almonds together are the equivalent of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, aka golden status.
Next came the Garlic Shrimp. A miniature clay pot was placed in front of us and held sizzling snapping white shrimp. Accompanied with olive oil brushed crostini that happily soaked up that garlicky goodness, the shrimp were succulent and totally addictive. Smelling like garlic is the price 2 pay, but I'm telling you, you want to pay this price.
The lamb meatballs with shaved manchego and peas was literally out of another planet. Being the carnivore that he is, JJ was insistent on ordering these and I am glad that I gave in because they were unreal. The meatballs were juicy and had a full texture. They lovingly shared the stage with a luscious  cream sauce and fresh peas that added a lighter note to the dish that made it sing.
The short rib flatbread with parmesan, horse radish, and bacon was the spanish tapas equivalent to my dream pizza. Meat + more meat + cheese + spice? Okay sign me up for 12.
Okay this seafood dish was just cool. Calimari linguine and vermicelli, clams, scallops and a sweet onion cream made for a lovely and light dish. These calimari noodles were unlike anything I've ever tried, having a surprisingly light and delicate texture.
To add some "health" to our meal, we tried a bunch of vegetable dishes. MUST get the parmesan artichokes, the grilled green onions, and the chickpeas and spinach. My personal favorite? The grilled asparagus topped with a poached egg, a cheese crisp, and truffles. Throw an egg on top of anything and I'm good. Add some truffle and I'm amazing.
Speaking of eggs and truffles, lets talk about the chicken breast. Prepared with these two magical ingredients as well as some adoringly soft fingerling potatoes, it's sick. SICK.
Once again my carnivore baby brother had to get some more meat and wouldn't let go of the idea of lamb chops. They were absolutely beautiful; superbly cooked and plated exquisitely, these chops were stunningly delicious and rich.
Ya that is a lot of food. Then we forgot that we made the group decision at the start of the meal to order the massive lobster paella...What do you do when you're really full and then something so staggeringly magnificent as this dish shows up in front of you? Well you somehow find room and eat more and finish it. Duh. The black rice is a welcome addition, they certainly don't skimp on the seafood, and the sauced crostini are beyond. All I can say is, wear loose pants and b hungree.
I love Amada. I LOVE it. I love tapas because I love being able to taste so many different flavors and bites. It makes for a sociable meal and is the perfect forum to discuss not only the incredible food, but the wonderful day you are now having because of this food. Amada executes each dish in a artful manner; every bite is impressively thought out. If you want me to like you offer to take me to dinner here. You'll automatically get a check plus in my book. Kelsey's book too.

tappas territory

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