Delectable Spanish Tapas…in Playa del Carmen!
Posted by Tony & Cheri on August 19, 2008
Tonight, just ten steps from our own Luna Blue Hotel, we ate one of the best meals we’ve ever had in Playa del Carmen. Miguel, the owner of Las Cazuelas, the tiny restaurant right across the street from the hotel, was trained in Spain and France and is an absolute whiz in the kitchen. We have eaten at Las Cazuelas a couple of times, and each time it was very good. They have a breakfast menu (which we have yet to try) and a comida corrida for lunch (a full meal with appetizer, entree, desert and drink for a fixed price). But in the evenings, his menu includes an amazing array of paellas & Spanish tapas.
We have been talking about offering some of Miguel’s tapas on our bar menu for quite some time, and tonight we finally had a chance to try them out. WOW!! All we had to do was tell Miguel we wanted to try some of the tapas, and he told us to sit down and he would take care of the rest. He brought us two large glasses of jamaica (a tasty drink made from the hibiscus flower and very popular here in Mexico), some bread, and some chips with one of his famous salsas. Just a short while later he came out with two huge platters of nine different tastes of some of his favorite tapas, all of them wonderfully rich and flavorful. Where do we start??!?!?
Here are the dishes he brought us, with their Spanish & English names from his menu:
Chorizo Espanol (Spanish Sausage) – Two different and very unusual chorizos. Served cold, they had a very strong flavor. Cheri didn’t care for this one, but Tony loved it.
Albondigas (Meat Balls) – Tiny little meat balls in a sauce unlike anything we’ve ever tasted. With tiny little potatoes.
Berenjenas al Horno (Baked Eggplant) – Neither of us are eggplant fans, but this was delicious. Very thinly sliced pieces of eggplant, grilled and topped with very thinly sliced & proscuitto with a little bit of cheese to top it off. Yummy.
Tortilla Española (Spanish Tortilla) – More like a potato omelette or fritatta, it seemed to have potatoes, onions & egg. It was really good.
Gambas Al Ajo (Garlic Shrimp) – This was our favorite dish. Spicy with prawns, garlic and some kind of chilli flavor. When the shrimps were gone we used everything else available to soak up the sauce. Really, really, really tasty.
Ensalada Rusa (Russian Salad) – This was our second favorite. A Spanish style potato salad with a spicy mayonnaise base, it had lots of subtle and interesting flavors.
Pescaditas (Small Fishes) – Little pieces of lightly breaded fish with a mild and pleasant taste.
Pollo Al Ajillo (Garlic Chicken) – Little chunks of chicken with very thinly sliced pieces of melt-in-your-mouth toasted garlic.
And he also brought us something not on the menu, a small dish with tiny pastas, shrimp and calamari. As if we weren’t full enough!
The other items on the “Paellas y Tapas” menu that we didn’t have tonight are Jamón Serrano (Ham from the Mountains), Queso Manchego (Manchego Cheese), Huevos Mimosa (Mimosa Eggs), Pescado Al Gusto (To Taste Fish), Carne Estofada (Stew Meet – Beef), Pan Tumaca, Patatas Al Ajo (Potatoes with Garlic), Patatas Bravas (Typical Bravas Potatoes), Paella Mixta (Mixed Paella), Paella Vegetariana (Vegetarian Paella), Paella de Mariscos (Seafood Paella), Ensalada Nordica (Nordic Salad), Ensalada Española (Spanish Salad), Ensalada Mediterranea (Mediterranean Salad) and Ensalada Las Cazuelas (“Las Cazuelas” Salad).
The tapas all range in price from $35 to $90 pesos per plate, with most in the $35 to $50 range. The paellas, which are quite large, are in the $130 to $180 peso range. (We have had Miguel’s paellas a couple of times in the past and they are quite good.) The salads, which are also large, are in the $35 to $60 peso range. Everything is very reasonably priced, in our opinion.
As we gushed over the delicious meal, Miguel was quite proud to tell us that the items on the menu are just the standards. Every Friday & Saturday he whips up two or three different ones…whatever strikes his fancy. We can’t wait to eat at Las Cazuelas again. Not only is the food delicious, but Miguel is delightful. This just may be our new favorite restaurant.
And remember, within the next couple of weeks, if you’re in the neighborhood & stop by the Luna Blue Bar for a drink, you’ll be able to try out many of these delicacies…delivered right to your swing.
Las Cazuelas is open Monday through Saturday and located on Calle 26 Norte, between 5th Avenue & 10th Avenue, in Playa del Carmen, just across the street from the world-renowned Luna Blue Hotel & Bar.