More often than not these days, my husband and I find ourselves sharing plates at restaurants. It helps save room for drinks and dessert, saves money, and most importantly saves us from adding inches to our waistline. After a fun day of wine tasting around Carmel-by-the-Sea, we headed to a great Spanish Tapas restaurant called Mundaka. “Tapas” are Spanish for appetizers or little bites, snacks, and are perfect meal where you can sample and share some amazing flavors for a reasonable price!
Mundaka and chef Brandon Miller, place their mission to serve real food only right on their menu:
Yes: fresh, local, organic, biodynamic, free-range, line-caught, sustainable, fair-trade, home-made, and from scratch
No: antibiotics, hormones, pesticides, high fructose corn syrup, artificial colors, artificial flavors, processed foods
Having come once before for dinner and once with the Carmel Food Tour, we remember the quality of the food as well as the unique and creative plates they served.
We started off with the Crudo, a carrot, beet and brussel sprout salad with beet puree and candied walnuts. Clean and fresh, I'm a big fan of beets and the walnuts added some great texture to each bite. This is one plate my husband and I could have each ordered individually, one to share wasn't enough.
Next up, the Bomba. House made chorizo mixed with mashed potatoes rolled in a crispy crust covered in mojo rojo (spicy chile, paprika, and garlic sauce). This was my new favorite dish at Mundaka surpassing the Albondigas I had on the previous visit. Chorizo and I have a long history and it reminds me of having breakfast at my grandparents house growing up! This dish was hearty and full of flavor and literally looked like an exploding bomb!
We repeated a plate, the Hamburguesa because we remembered how good the lamb burger was with it's layer of pickled cauliflower. We eat tons of cauliflower at home and the al dente style with the vinegar zing really added brightness to the otherwise traditionally served slider. An almost too huge portion of truffle fries comes on the plate and is definitely something even the kids would enjoy!
Our last dish of the night was the duck breast Escabeche, local veggies over a tarragon creme fraiche. Neither my husband nor I had had duck served this way, it's fried to a medium rare then it marinates with onions for about a day and served cold. My husband enjoyed it's rich flavor, I prefer a more cooked meat and the cool temperature was slightly off putting, but I applaud the variety Mundaka provides for it's customers!
Mundaka is a place I can return to with family, friends, or another great night out with my husband. There are definitely plates we'll order again because the flavors are burned in our memory and new options we are eager to try. The plates range in price from $5.50 to $24.50 with a few platos fuertes (big plates for 2 or more) in the $44-$56 range. They have a fabulous red wine sangria plus a lengthy cocktail menu, but we'd been wine tasting all day so we opted for a few cold Anchor Steams and water on this particular night.
If you're visiting Carmel-by-the-Sea on the central coast of California, check out Mundaka and it's unique menu.
Our meal was hosted, gratuity and our opinion are solely our own.