The medina–esque passages and walkways of the original Farmers Market on 3rd Street are alluring with the smells of the numerous food stalls. Each food vendor persuading your nose and influencing your stomach as you wind your way deeper in the market. Navigating between the hoards of tourists, locals and miscellaneous chotchkies, the new Little Spain Restaurant and Gourmet Market appear, standing proud among it’s elders.
Chef Alejandro Pages, a third generation restaurateur from Barcelona, excitedly bestows traditional Spanish food that has been passed down his family tree. Generously, he shares with the public his highly prized authentic dishes.
Starting with the Tapas
The Croquetas Españolas with Chicken set the standard. Made with a Béchamel, the creamy inside and crispy enclosure create a delicate finger food that is rich and packs a satisfying chomp.
The Datiles con Bacon
Dates stuffed with an almond and wrapped in bacon. These crunchy little flavors bursts are sure to rock anyone’s world – a savory bon-bon.
Albondigas en Salsa (Grandma‘s recipe)
Beef meatballs in a tomato sauce with onions, sweet peas, carrots and potato. Moist and tender, the meat is masterfully seasoned, the thick salsa assists in uniting all the flavors. It is a meal in itself.
The Paella de Mariscos
A traditional Spanish dish with regional interpretations, is made with saffron rice, clams, mussels, scallops, calamari, shrimp and vegetables. The fresh seafood and the creaminess of the rice create an undoubtedly splendid meal perfect for any day and is intensified with nice glass of Spanish wine.
This sautéed short angel hair pasta dish with scallops, shrimps and calamari possesses all the attributes of Spanish comfort food. It is served with a garlic aioli that adds a cool kick and is sure to keep your fork very busy.
These small bite sized pieces of toast are served with an assortment of mouthwatering toppings including the finest of Spanish cheeses and cured meats (including Iberico ham from the acorn fed black footed pig). Highlights include the Montadido de Quesos Fundidos, which is Chef Alex’s selection of cheeses with melted Roquefort and blueberry sauce. Equally enjoyable is the Montadido Sobrasada, a Malorcan paprika sausage that is melted and spread. Both pack a zing that is simply a knockout.
And for desert the “Mel I Mato” which is a Catalan fresh sweet cheese served with honey and walnuts that really enthralls the sweet tooth without the guilty grip.
The Bottom Line
Tapas $4 -$7, entrees $9-$12, Spanish food market and deli, friendly and caring staff and an inviting patio with a fine selection of Spanish wines and beers.
Little Spain is located inside the original Farmers Markets next to the Grove at 6333 West 3rd Street in Los Angeles. For more information please visit www.littlespainLA.com.
Los Angeles born and raised, Scott Putman is the principal of PROFITdine, a restaurant financial advisory firm specializing in assisting independent operator’s success. www.profitdine.com