Chef Garces is the owner and operator of more than a dozen wildly successful restaurants, plus a thriving catering division, in five cities. He is a 2009 winner of the James Beard Foundation’s prestigious “Best Chef, Mid-Atlantic” award and one of only a few chefs in the country to hold the coveted title of Iron Chef, appearing regularly on Food Network’s hit series Iron Chef America. Naturally after dining at the other iconic Iron chef's restaurant, we also had to visit this one's restaurant while we were in Philly.
We arrived a few minutes earlier than our reservation and were asked to wait at the bar until our table was ready. The bar area was crowded with couples and groups all mingling, sipping on sangria or beer, and sharing tapas. I could see how Amada is a popular spot. Soon enough we were shown to our table.
One of the first tapas we picked were Piquillos Rellenos - sweet red peppers stuffed with crab and topped with shaved almonds. The crab meat was seasoned well and this was one of my favorite baked dishes. Next, we shared Almejas Con Chorizo - clams with chorizo. The clams were puny and the broth was briny and metallic. The chorizo added a spicy bite, but overall this was a disappointing dish. To pick things back up again, we then ate the Alcachofas y Setas Flatbread with artichoke, wild mushrooms, black truffles, and Manchego cheese. A glorious marriage of mushrooms and cheese! I could have eaten an entire pizza like this with a glass of red wine and be totally happy.
Next, I picked a couple vegetarian options to try. Amada's Empanada was filled with spinach, Manchego, and artichoke and came with pickled peppers. The sliced peppers added a little more substance, but the empanada itself was too small to share in my opinion. The Queso de Cabra was baked goat cheese, tomato, basil, and almonds and had much more traditional Italian flavors than Spanish. It came with slices of baked bread, but I would have liked the dish to be hotter in temperature.
|suckling pig head|
Finally, for dessert we shared the Pastel de Chocolate - chocolate cake with caramel sauce and banana malt ice cream. While it was not a memorable finish, proceeds from the purchase of this dessert benefit the Garces Family Foundation and its worthy causes. Overall the food at Amada was flavorful and the ingredients used were decent. I am glad we were able to dine at another Iron Chef's restaurant while in Philadelphia. I am curious to see how different Chef Garces' other places are.
Total Rating: 4.18
Food: 4.5, Price: 4, Service: 3.5, Ambience: 3, Accessibility: 5
What I ate:
Crab Stuffed Peppers
Almejas Con Chorizo
|Photo via Amada's website|
♥Alcachofas y Setas♥
Flatbread with Artichoke, Wild Mushrooms, Black Truffles, Manchego
Spinach, Manchego, Artichoke
|Photo via Amada's website|
Queso de Cabra
Baked Goat Cheese, Tomato, Basil, Almonds
♥Shrimp a la Plancha♥
Pastel de Chocolate
Chocolate Cake, Caramel Sauce, Banana Malt Ice Cream
Plus Keith ate:
Berkshire Pork Ribs, Shaved Fennel, Spiced Yogurt, Paprika Glaze