Four years ago, I went to Amada. I loved it. Hence, Amada was part of what drew me back to Philadelphia this summer, this time with my boyfriend instead of my parents.
Amada is a traditional Spanish tapas restaurant, opened by Jose Garces (of Iron Chef America notoriety). There are tons of items on the menu and I think each is fairly-priced considering the quality of the dishes. We ordered 6 tapas dishes + 1 dessert, including a few which I had enjoyed in the past, which totaled to about $40/person (tax in). See the full menu here.
In terms of service, our waitress stopped by our table a few times, but it seemed quite forced and ingenuine. Servers brought food and presented each dish with a thick Spanish accent that was hard to understand but fitting for a "traditional" tapas restaurant.
The restaurant was lit by candlelight and whatever sunlight was coming in from the window, which made it hard to take photos. Here's what we ate.
Complimentary Appetizer (free)
Not the best way to start a meal, a quick and dirty way of describing this appetizer is crackers and tuna dip. I could have done without this, but I guess it was kind of them to offer...
Croquetas De Jamon - Ham Croquets and Romesco Sauce ($6)
It may seem like fried ham is nothing but fried ham, but I'd highly recommend this dish. The croquettes were fried to perfection and the romesco sauce was the perfect balance of healthy acidity needed on the plate.
Gambas Al Ajillo - Garlic Shrimp and Toast ($9)
I could never say no to garlic shrimp. Buttery, oily, and noms.
Potatoes Bravas - Spicy Potatoes ($5)
My boyfriend chose this one. Neither of us were fans. I'll call this one glorified fried potato pieces with spicy mayo. Thought it wasn't terrible, I feel little bad saying that french fries from Costco are better...
Revuelto - Shirred Eggs, Shrimp, Wild Mushrooms ($12)
I had this dish way back (my first time at Amada). I remember it being plated a bit differently but the gist of the dish is still the same. Eggs shirred to perfection. Eggs are one of my favourite foods and really appreciated this.
Costillas De Derna - Beef Short Ribs, Horseradish, Parmesan, Bacon ($14)
Another dish I had eaten before. In a nutshell, this was kind of like a pizza without tomato sauce and a horseradish kick. Most certainly a must-eat at Amada.
Wagyu Beef Brochettes, Fingerling Potatoes, Sauce Bordelaise ($15)
Wagyu Beef cooked medium-rare. Enough said.
Tarta De Queso - Cheesecake, Black Currant, Meyer Lemon Sorbet, Sbrisolona ($9)
I was hoping to order one of those funky science desserts with liquid nitrogen, but being four years ago that I had it before, it wasn't even on the menu. Dessert is the most important meal of the day, so I opted for something else. There's a soft spot in my heart for lemon flavoured desserts and the sweet/sour content of the meyer lemon sorbet was spot on. I'm not quite a fan of the cheesecake (I like when my mom makes it), but the sbrisolona, an odd cake-like crumble, added something I hadn't had before.
Complimentary post-dessert (free)
Again, another unnecessary free thing though I can appreciate the gesture.
As a second-timer at Amada, I was disappointed. Perhaps my palette has changed or Amada itself has changed, but it wasn't as good as the first time. I could have done without the potatoes and the garlic shrimp, and the complimentary dishes at the beginning and end of the meal, but there were still some major highlights. I still dream about the shirred eggs, short rib flatbread and ham croquettes in my sleep. Perhaps if I go back to Amada some day, I'll stick with those few dishes and call it a day.