Mundaka: Delightful Small Plates in the Heart of Downtown Carmel
To say that Mundaka is a hidden gem would be sort of an understatement. Downtown Carmel is full of courtyards on each block that house several businesses within their sheltered-from-the-street structures. Somewhere on San Carlos Street between Ocean and 7th Ave (you’ll find it eventually) 😉 lies Mundaka, yes, tucked into one of those funky little courtyards.
This is the view from our table… a little fountain and a bit of a street view. I loved that we were sat in such a way that it felt private, yet there were tables around us full of people. The place definitely had a “hip” atmosphere and a clientele younger of typical downtown Carmel restaurant goers.
And it is a young, hip place. It opened in March 2009, and Mundaka continues to evolve daily with the creations of its chef Brandon Miller.
They serve a “Party Wine” house wine (red blend) poured from a giant bottle (pictured below) for $5 a glass (if you don’t ask what is in the blend). Trust me, it resembles a wonderful tempranillo. Just nod your head and sip.
Before I joined Andy in the “Party Wine” house red, I chose a yummy cava. Cheers to our trip to Carmel!
Now on to our meal! Tapas (small plates) are a wide variety of appetizers, or snacks. They may be cold (such as mixed olives and cheese) or warm (such as calamari or meatballs). The idea of eating at Mundaka is just as it is in Spain: patrons of tapas can order many different tapas and combine them to make a full meal or just a few for a light snack.
Here are some of the tapas we ordered are pictured below with their descriptions:
I started out with the espinaca: a warm spinach salad with house chorizo, seasonal fruit (plums?), and almonds. It was also topped with sautéed onion rings.
Andy ordered the bravas: fried potatoes, mixed with brava sauce (spicy tomato sauce) and oh yes, topped with aioli (a little “mayo” to cut the spicy, of course!) 😉 Let the gluttony begin.
Round two! Time for the chicken/mushroom sausage served with truffle fries, and oh yes… let’s top that with a fried egg! 🙂 This dish was easily my favorite! I am not sure why I love eggs so much, but they really make my day.
Andy ordered the tartare: tartare of beef, in a sandwich of fried green tomatoes, and served with a rhubarb chutney. Yes, I approve. Meanwhile, I think we were on our 3rd glass of house wine. Don’t worry! We were walking distance from our hotel: The Hofsas House Hotel.
OK, getting full… must. try. more!!
I ordered the rusa… comprised of shrimp, potatoes, peas, carrots, aioli, and topped with YES!! a forty-minute egg 🙂 Did I mention I love eggs?
I suggested Andy order the croquetas because he loves béchamel sauce. The croquetas are served with lomo, manzanilla olive, and béchamel. It’s like a Spanish version of a mozzarella stick. Only, much more tasty 😉
We filled up quite soon. The plates are small, but many are rich and full of flavor. They are perfect to share with 2 0r 3 people so you can try many things at a time. Each plate served at Mundaka is a California interpretation of a traditional Spanish small plate. The service is attentive and the staff are happy to answer any questions. Our server was knowledgeable and helped us select what was to become our meal depending on our tastes. A reminder on the “Party Bottle” house red wine: Don’t ask what it is if you want it for $5 a glass. If you ask, it’s $8 a glass 😉
Mundaka uses organic, local, free-range, line-caught, sustainable, fair-trade ingredients, and DOESN’T use ingredients containing hormones, pesticides, high fructose corn syrup, or anything artificial.
Mundaka is open daily from 11am-5pm for coffee/lunch/pintxos and open daily at 5:30pm for Tapas/pintxos. You can download a sample menu here. You can find Mundaka on Facebook here. You can make a reservation at Mundaka via Open Table here.
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