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Fall in love with Spain with a culinary trip to Mundaka in Carmel, CA

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Mundaka Restaurant Carmel, CA

Rating:
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The first thing that pops in my mind when I think of Spain is tapas. In the sleepy town of Carmel, on San Carlos Street and just a few minutes walk from Hofsas House, lies Mundaka. Named after a town in northern Spain, it’s a cozy restaurant with three dining rooms and a few tables to dine al fresco. The European dining experience is apparent with the cozy tables and bustling atmosphere. If you’re new to the tapas experience, don’t be nervous. Your server is there to answer all your questions and explain the dishes to you – just relax, enjoy, and eat at your own pace. Chef Brandon Miller’s creations have been dazzling foodies near and far since March 2009.

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Boquerones are marinated white anchovies with fried garlic. These were a touch too vinegary but the fillets were perfectly pristine in color and texture. I would get them again, but maybe with some sliced baguette. Thumbs up!

Garbanzos are fried and tossed in truffle salt; a perfect snack while your main dishes are coming out. Not as crunchy as a corn nut, but much tastier. The truffle salt was fantastic and worked well with the garbanzo flavor. Thumbs up, way up!

Datiles are bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with goat cheese and almond. This was the perfect balance of sweet and salty. The goat cheese was creamy, but its flavor was muted. Thumbs up!

Tartare is beef tartare topped with a 6-minute egg and served with house chips. The chili oil gave it a little spicy kick. The 6-minute egg was an interesting touch, but would have preferred a raw yolk. The house chips were fantastic – light, crispy, and golden brown. Thumbs up!

Hamburguesa is a mini lamb burger with pickled cauliflower and served with truffle fries. Wow! I love this lamb slider. The flavor was just right, without any gaminess. The bun was soft, yet held together with the juicy burger. The truffle fries were good, but would have cooked them a tad longer for a crispier outside. Order one for each person as one bite is not enough and you’ll wish you ordered one for yourself. Thumbs up, way up!

Escabeche is duck breast escabeche served with local vegetables and tarragon crème fraiche. The duck breast was perfectly cooked. Perfectly executed and flavor balanced dish - rich duck flavor, pickled red onions, and creamy crème fraiche. Thumbs up, way up!

Ravioli stuffed with ricotta and topped with braised venison. Well balanced ragout of braised venison. An egg yolk topper cut the tanginess of the ragout making it a smooth, textured flavor on the palate. The venison was tender and had no gaminess. Thumbs up, way up!

Huevos is soft scrambled egg with wild mushrooms and white Oregon truffle. Since we had just experienced the Big Sur Foragers Festival earlier in the day, I wanted to have more of fungi! This would be a great brunch item. The woodsy mushroom and truffle perfumed this dish. It is so luxurious! This would be perfect with a sprinkle of Queso Manchego. Thumbs up!

Pescado is a sanddab stuffed with fideo pasta, chirzo, and shellfish. The sanddab was perfectly cooked. The bones peeled right off leaving perfect fillets. The fideo pasta reminded me of orzo pasta. The sauce underneath provided a nice kick of heat, not too spicy, but flavorful. I loved the whole-fish presentation. It was so beautiful! Thumbs up, way up!

The cool night breeze will help guide you back to your hotel. You’ll dream of this dining experience again and again.

Atmosphere: 5 out of 5 stars
Service: 5 out of 5 stars
Décor: 5 out of 5 stars
Food: 5 out of 5 stars

For more information:
Mundaka
San Carlos Street between Ocean Avenue and 7th Avenue
Carmel, CA 93921
831.624.7400

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