Canalla Bistro by Richard Camarena- funky

 

 

Richard Camarena is one of the most sought after chef’s in Spain with a Michelin star restaurant in Valencia he has also taken his business to more informal, casual territories where he doesn’t sacrifice flavor but adds a dash of funkiness. Now he has brought his playful style to Madrid where he has opened a second Canalla Bistrot, the first one is in Valencia, in Platea right next to Colon Square and on Goya Street. Platea is a former theater turned into a gastro arena. Where the orchestra used to be you will now find two floors of a food market filled with different options for you to choose from and then once you have mixed and matched you can sit to have your meal. The stage remains as a stage where live music is performed. At the mezzanine level is where you will find Canalla Bistro and then further above at the balcony level, a cocktail bar.

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The idea behind the menu is to order dishes to share making it a great place to go with friends so that you can try more things.

I loved Avocado Cannelloni with marinated white tuna and pico de gallo.

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A great dish to share and one which will have you popping them constantly into your mouth is the Vegetable Tempura with a slightly spicy sauce.

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Duck Nigiri, it was tasty but it was hard to pick up on the duck flavor.

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Pizzajapo Okonomiyaki with Chinese cabbage, bacon, mozzarella and okonomiyaki sauce (which is basically made with ketchup, worcestershire or tonkatsu sauce, honey and soy sauce) This isn’t your typical pizza but we would it to be very tasty.

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Canalla Bistro both in Madrid and in Valencia. A fun place to check out this summer!

Platea – 5 Goya Street

Telephone Number-915 77 00 25

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Umiko – Japanese fusion

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The first time I went to Umiko I liked it but I have to say that I didn’t fall in love with it. As the months passed, many friends would talk about how much they liked Umiko and that it was among their favorite Japanese restaurants in Madrid. After so much chatter I decided that I really had to go back and now I am also a fan.

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It is located near el Paseo del Prado and Alcalá Street, at 18 Los Madrazo Street. Here, two young chefs who worked at Kabuki with Ricardo Sanz, Pablo Álvaro Marcos and Juan Alcaide offer their version of Japanese fusion. The restaurant is small so getting a table can be tricky but it is worth the work. Good quality and tasty nigiri in a very laid back, fun atmosphere.

Being the oyster fan that I am, I always want to try them. I liked their version of the oyster in tempura. It adds to the natural taste of the oyster without covering it up.

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We had dry ramen, it is dry because it doesn’t come in the typical soup format. The sauce came from the head of the carabinero (large red prawn). It is also a good idea to suck on the head so that you can enjoy every last drop of the taste.

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Tuna Tartar

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Red mullet nigiri with its spine. The spine was deep fried so that it gave a crunchiness to the nigiri.

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Nakeima – insanely good

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When I go to a very original, unique place which is anything but your typical cookie cutter joint, the difficulty lies in how to transmit the experience, but I will give it a go 😉  Behind Nakeima there is a vision, a know-how and an urge to just have fun. Located at 54 Meléndez Valdés Street near Argüelles in what must have been your typical Spanish bar. I have even taken the liberty of envisioning the former place with a slot machine. The venue is long and narrow with a couple of high tables, and when I say a couple I literally mean two. On the left is the long bar where most of the people sit overlooking the prep area where all the magic occurs. The decoration is minimal with some fun “chalk”paintings on the wall, a tv screen which a flower screen saver display, and behind the bar you will find work essentials, a bookcase full of cookbooks, a display of knives and not much else. But one does not venture to Nakeima for interior design purposes. It takes effort to dine here. You might be surprised by this comment but if you plan to have lunch or dinner at Nakeima you must be prepared to endure the two hour wait before opening time. You get there, get in line, cross your fingers and hope to be one of the lucky twenty. If you plan to have dinner at nine o’clock, you must be there by seven. This is a good time to catch up on your kindle reading, FB, Twitter, improve your Candy Crash score or what have you. At eight thirty, the doors open, much like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and your name and your party’s number are written down. When there are twenty future dinners on the list, the person goes back in and now you have precisely thirty minutes to go have a beer before the doors reopen and you can finally go in. If you are not there at nine o’clock on the dot and your name is called out you lose your place. Sniff Sniff.

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Once prompted on your stool, you have to choose what to order. There is a menu written on the wall but it is there merely for decorative purposes as the menu varies greatly. One of the guys tells you what is on the menu that day and you decide.

They offer quite a bit of wine variety from Spanish whites and reds to some French, cava, champagne, manzanillas… and there are a lot you can order by the glass.

I have to say that we practically ate the entire menu and absolutely everything was delicious. You would try a steamed bun and think, I would eat a dozen.

We had:

Oysters with ponzu. What can I say, I am an oyster lover!IMG_5514

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Casa Marcelo – Japanese rondez vous in Galicia

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I was originally looking forward to writing a whole bunch of posts over the summer break. Let’s say that it was my summer’s resolution but what I was unaware of, was the heat. I keep my computer in a small office with no AC so during summer it turns into a sauna. Today there is nice breeze and the sauna is back to an office so I am taking advantage of the opportunity to get another post out there.

For the most part I imagine that mostly everyone is on, has been or will be on vacation. Madrid in definitely on vacation with most stores and restaurants closed for the month of August. The hectic city has turned into a parking paradise.

This year we are taking short trips around Spain and on a recent trip to Galicia we were able to finally visit Casa Marcelo. I had been getting great reviews but had not made it up north until now. I have to say that if you are planning on going to Santiago de Compostela any time soon make sure you pay them a visit. Casa Marcelo doesn’t accept reservations but if you avoid rush hour you should be OK. We arrived at 13:30 and had no problem getting a table.

Marcelo Tejedor is both the owner and the mastermind behind the restaurant which is more of an informal tavern were you sit on high stools and share various dishes which are a fusion of fabulous produce prepared Japanese style. So it is not strange to find nigiri and sashimi on the menu.

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