Lunch at La Nacional

One of the things I really love about my job is the Summer schedule. Every Friday we get to leave at 12:30 PM. Believe me, it’s a great feeling watching all the other working stiffs go back to work while I leave for the day to start my weekend early :winner: .

Friday, May 28th, 2009. I, accompanied by my friends and co-workers: Carlos and Lynne, left work to eat lunch at the Spanish restaurant La Nacional. We wanted to give Lynne a special treat as thanks for all the times she’s had us over to her house and cooked for us, or brought us home-made treats at the job. We insisted on taking her out and she requested Paella, a dish La Nacional is known for.

We got to the restaurant and were seated in a dimly lit dining room with rustic, tavern-like chairs and tables. The dining room gave off an old world feel and a calming effect. My only complaint was there were only two windows in the room that, unfortunately, faced 14th street and a car who’s alarm went on and off at various points in time.

Now that all that is out of the way we can talk about the food :boogie: . We started off with tapas (appetizers): Gambas
(grilled garlic shrimp), Calamares (grilled or fried squid) and Chorizos. Unfortunately when dug right into the appetizers without taking pictures of them but believe me when I say the Gambas and and Calamares were great, however the Chorizos tasted like a Hillshire Farm links. Next up was the main course: Paellas!

I ordered the Fideuá Paella: Thin noodles with white fish, shrimp, squid, green peas, piquillo peppers & alioli. And it went well with two glasses of Sangría. The Fideuá was was flavorful, the noodles were crispy around the edge of the skillet and the vegetables added to the taste of the dish instead of overpowering it. The aioli sauce tasted like butter, however, I’ve never had aioli sauce before, so I have nothing to compare it to. The amount of seafood thrown in was very welcome as well. As the pictures show La Nacional does not skimp on the seafood.

Fideuá Paella
Fideuá Paella. Picture taken by Lynne Yoshii.

Carlos ordered the Arroz Negro Paella: Black rice with white fish, shrimp, clams and mussels in sofrito, green peas, piquillo peppers & aioli. I think the rice in this paella was given its color by squid ink. This dish had an extra briny taste to it that accented the seafood really well. The rice was soft, but not mushy. I kind of wished I had ordered this paella instead.

Arroz Negro Paella
Arroz Negro Paella. Picture taken by Carlos Lao.

And Lynne ordered the Paella de La Casa: Shrimp, squid, clams, mussels, chicken, green peas & piquillo peppers. The rice in her order seemed a bit more seasoned than ours, and although better flavored than mine her her plate couldn’t compare to Carlos’s.

Paella de La Casa
Paella de La Casa. Picture taken by Carlos Lao.

Onward to dessert. Lynne ordered the Crema Catalana (caramelized custard with orange zest), Carlos ordered the Flan (traditional vanilla custard) and I ordered the Torta de Santiago (almond cake). We each took a piece from each other’s plate and I Must say that each were very sweet and delicious, not to mention it was my first time having flan and it was fantastic. It’ll sound childish but the only thing I felt each of us were missing, during dessert, was a tall glass of milk.

Crema Catalana, Flan and Torta de Santiago.
Crema Catalana, Flan and Torta de Santiago. Picture taken by Carlos Lao.

All in all it was a great lunch. The service was great, the food was great and the Sangría was great :love: . I definitely recommend the La Nacional.

Here’s a link to some pics taken by Lynne Yoshii: Lunch at La Nacional

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