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The Hungry Nomad: Amada- Old City/Society Hill (Philadelphia, USA)

September 18, 2012

Amada- Old City/Society Hill (Philadelphia, USA)

It was a Friday night. With no dinner reservations and empty stomachs we found ourselves in Old City searching for a new restaurant to discover. Walking through the old cobblestone streets behind Independence Hall we arrived at Chestnut passing Amada. Amada has been on the list of restaurants I have been wanting to try, so with no hesitation we walked in hoping to find a table. The hostess was nice enough and told us that all the empty tables in the dining room were reserved but offered us to wait in the bar area until a high top became available. And so we did. The place was buzzing with tables of young and old drinking wine and mouthfuls of small Spanish tapas. 

The bar area was dark with a variety of Spanish Jambon hanging from the ceilings. 

...And more cheese and cured meats on display. 

The bar was full and so we stood around watching others eat while the bartenders sliced the leg of ham and prepared drinks. A high top became available and we were quickly seated. At this point, we were both too hungry to speak so we sat quietly staring down at our menu ordering everything that sounded good in my head. Not too long after, we were served bread chips with a side of tuna. The side itself was so delicious I wanted to order more...if only it was offered on the menu. 

After watching the men slice up the jambon we couldn't resist ordering a plate of the Serano ham from the Cured meat selection. If you are familiar with Italian Proscuitto and like it then you will enjoy the Serano ham. It is very mild in flavor and melts in your mouth. We also ordered a cheese plate with the aged Manchego, La Peral and Ermesenda. One goat, one blue and one hard. Each were served with a side which added to the taste and flavor. 

The Garlic Prawns were next. Served in a hot dish of sizzling butter and garlic the prawns floated so delicately in the mix. It's hard to dislike anything that is cooked in garlic butter but neither of us found this dish to be exciting or necessarily good. It seemed the prawns were a tad bit undercooked. 

The Amada Empanada was next. It is hard to go to a Spanish restaurant without ordering an empanada. Amada has three different varieties on the menu but we chose to go with the vegetarian version filled with spinach, manchego cheese and artichokes. The presentation was beautiful. One empanada was sliced in half presented over an artichoke mix. The Empanada was slightly empty on the inside with a layer of spinach and cheese mix barely visible. I assumed that we were left with the task of filling it up with the artichoke filling. This we did and the result was fantastic. The mix of flavors were great- unlike anything I have ever tasted before (at least in an empanada). 

The next dish that was brought out was the Patatas Bravas. Again, this is typically offered on most Spanish menus and can vary in shape, flavour and presentation. At Amada the potatoes were cut into little round cylinders with a spicy mayo mix on top. Presentation was beautiful and flavors were great. 

The next dish was the Count's choice: a bowl of chickpeas served in a tomato base sauce with spinach. First spoonful of chickpeas were undercooked and too hard (you know what beans can do to your stomach). So we had to send it back. The waiter informed us that the chickpeas are made to taste this way. Perhaps undercooked chickpeas is a thing in Spain but neither of us were a big fan. Without hesitation they took the dish of our bill. 

The next dish was my favorite: a baked goat cheese served in a hot tomato sauce with a side of toasted garlic butter bread. 

At this point we were both full after initially filling up on all the bread and cheese servings. But we had one last dish coming: the arroz temporado. A creamy rich rice dish mixed with wild mushrooms, peas and manchego. The Count refused to have more. But I took one bite. I am not sure what the herb in the rice was but it was very strong. I had envisioned a risotto dish filled with mushrooms however, I think I spotted one or two mushrooms in the entire plate. Overall, this was my least favorite dish. 

Our dinner was Amada was exciting and flavorful. The bill came to just over $100 for the two of us. A bit expensive seeing that between the two of us we had two drinks and 7 small plates. However, the experience, service and ambiance was well worth it. 

Menu: Click here
Type of food: Spanish Tapas
Ambiance: 5/5
Food: 3/5
Service: 4/5
Amada on Urbanspoon

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