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Delectable Spanish Tapas…in Playa del Carmen!

Posted by Tony & Cheri on August 19, 2008

Las Cazuelas, Calle 26 Norte in Playa del Carmen--view from the Luna Blue BarTonight, 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.

Miguel, the owner of Las Cazuelas 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, Albondigas, Chorizo Espanol, and Perenjenas al HornoChorizo 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.

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Gambas Al Ajo, Ensalada Rusa, Pescaditas & Pollo Al AjilloGambas 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. 😉

14 Responses to “Delectable Spanish Tapas…in Playa del Carmen!”

  1. tommygurl said

    Mmmmmmmmmmmmm 🙂 I look forward to trying some of that yummy looking food!

  2. As soon as I am off of this d*mned wedding diet I am going straight there!!!!

  3. PlayaLove said

    Can hardly wait to try it when we come next spring hopefully he will still be around..

  4. maliasma (Michelle) said

    I miss Miguel!! I miss Las Cazuelas! Heck, I miss you guys & the Luna Blue!! 😦

    December and our quick visit to Playa del Carmen can’t come fast enough!

  5. This restaurant has to be the HIDDEN JEWEL in Playa. We ate there two nights and on a third night had tappas brought over to Blue Swing Bar. Migual is one of the most personable owners I’ve met. He has a passion for the food he puts on the tables. Even if you weren’t a fan of tappas, you could find something on the menu. We stopped Saturday to order the seafood paella for Monday. When we arrived Monday Night, he brought out bread and Tortilla Espanola to sample. Then came a huge pan fill seafood over the paella. It took us an hour to eat it, which we did because it was sooo good. His prices are so reasonable that anyone not eating their is missing a great deal. Anyone coming to Playa has to stop in to Las Cazuelas.

  6. Looks great! I have been here for 9 years and still did not know anything about this place. Thanks

  7. Gwyneth said

    We just ate at La Cazuela for under 20.00 USD, had the most amazing meal…with Jaques Pepin sitting two tables away! Highly recommend eating here. Miguel treated us like house guests, offering us whiskeys at the end of our meal. Tomorrow, we return for paella!

  8. Yilmaz said

    Perfect for lunch…
    We had lunch at the Las Cazuelas and it was just perfect. The food, the hospitality and having tried something that most people don’t get to enjoy as a visitor made us feel like a part of Playa rather than a tourist.
    It was also very affordable, including beer and the tip, we ended up paying $10 a person. I would highly recommend this place over any of those trendy restaurants on the 5th avenue.

  9. Sambucci said

    The food here was wonderful and Miguel took very very good care of us. Very great prices on the food.. sadly we have to wait a while to return to PDC..but we have freinds and family going soon.

    Luna blue.. It was a quiet night (I think it was pretty late) at your bar but we did sneak one of your kitties a little shrimp :O) Your place is very lovely.

  10. letizia said

    Hola solo comentar que para mi ese tio ( miguel) es un impresentable y lo digo con motivos, me parece estupendo que haya gente que le guste, pero tambien hay a quien no le gusta

    • :) said

      Me podrías decir porqué? Mañana precisamente viajo a Playa y he leído comentarios muy buenos de personas del extranjero a cerca del lugar y del dueño, pero no está de más escuchar la opinión de otras personas, te agradecería mucho que me comentaras los aspectos negativos del restaurant, ya que es el único que me queda cerca del hotel y no quisiera ir y llevarme una decepción. Muchas gracias!!!

  11. Gladys Teske said

    Here is the best Sambucci recipe:
    1 sm bottle of Sambucci
    1 bag frozen lg raw prawns
    (soak prawns in sambucci 1 hour)
    Drain; fry prawns in pan:
    Smash 3 or 4 cloves of garlic, then add butter…lots! Fry until pink…serve with your favourite rice.
    Bon Apettit!

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