Monday, February 04, 2013

Tapas bar in the City - Canela Bistro Bar

Canela Bistro BarOne Friday afternoon, Mijo called me on the phone and reminded me to leave work early. He said he made a reservation at this tapas bistro at 8pm, after happy hour. I asked him which restaurant was it and he said it is a secret.

I must say I was too curious about this mystery restaurant. I tried to guess which one we were going to but Mijo did not give out any clues. The story ended well because both of us enjoyed the place and the food. The restaurant's name is Canela Bistro Bar in the Castro neighborhood of the city.

After a round of cocktails at Toad Hall, Mijo and I left happy hour for our 8 o'clock reservation. At this point, I had no idea where we were going.

Finally, we reached Market and 17th Sts so I was narrowing down the restaurants here. I was delighted to find out that the mystery restaurant is Canela Bistro Bar. We've never been there before. It is in the former location of a good Italian restaurant called Capri. 

Canela Bistro Bar - Crowd
The facade, the signs, the decor and the feel of the restaurant is absolutely an upgrade from the previous restaurant though I see that they kept the location of the bar. I love the quaint and cozy atmosphere in this place. Their menu is simple to navigate but it still took us a while to order. I like the option to order dinner serving or raciones or tapas style or small plates.

Canela Bistro Bar - 2009 Sierra Cantabria
We ordered two glasses of rioja 2009 Sierra Cantabria. Our server poured our wine into our glasses from small carafe. I made a mental note about this that maybe this is more than for aesthetics but also their way to aerate red wines? The wines were delicious.

Canela Bistro Bar - Croquetas with Jamon
They first served the croquetas. This is always on our table everytime we go to a tapas bar. It is flavored with spanish ham.

Canela Bistro Bar - Pinchos Marunos
Next is the super tasty Pinchos Morunos which is Moorish kebabs marinated with spices and olive oil. It was grilled perfectly, not overdone not medium well.

Canela Bistro Bar - Ajorriero Tapenade
And then followed by Ajoarriero tapenade which is salt cod with tomatoes, onions and spices. Somehow we always end up ordering a salted fish at a tapas bar but the good thing is they come in different ingredients and sauces.  Another good thing is that you can never go wrong with me when it comes to salted fish.

Canela Bistro Bar - Crostini
This is the crostini that came with the salted cod tapenade.

Canela Bistro Bar - Coca Flatbread
This one is the coca flatbread. We were surprised by its size considering all the food we had ordered that night came in small plates and servings. This was good but very filling. It is like pizza with a twist and came with mushrooms, farmers sheep cheese and spanish serrano ham.

Canela Bistro Bar - Seared morcilla sausage
Lastly, we ordered this seared morcilla sausage on potato and celery root puree. It is commonly known as blood sausage but with a twist. It was good because I can hardly taste that hints of iron present in blood based dishes like the Filipino dish called Dinuguan.

Canela Bistro Bar - Pudding
Since we only ordered tapas servings, we had room for dessert. Mijo and I shared this warm pudding which is creamy and decadent.

Canela Bistro Bar - Cinnamon coffee
I also had to try their signature cinnamon espresso. I love the combination of cinnamon and coffee on both the aroma and the taste.

I don't usually mention the bathrooms in restaurants but I think it is worth including it here. The bathroom is sparkling clean, smells good and they use hand towels to dry your hands. Yes, hand towels and not paper towels. How's that for something extra?

Mijo and I absolutely enjoyed the food, the service, the extras. We totally recommend this place to locals and out of towners alike.


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