A place where you get transported to the Mediterranean as you experience the authentic Spanish flavors, El Mediterraneo is a pleasant escape from the other eateries. The only restaurant in town that serves exclusive Spanish cuisines, the place, housed in a street-side building at Jhamsikhel, off Pulchowk, a popular hub of restaurants, isn’t all that hard to find.
Elegant, immaculate and super clean are the words that come to mind when you step inside. The place isn’t huge but is big enough to host a number of families. The spacious bar, the subtle light arrangements and calm ambience will make you forget about the chaos outside. The décor has been kept minimal. Though simple, it’s certainly not bland but quite mesmerizing, in fact.
Proprietor Bibhushan Raj Joshi manages the place besides being the man behind some of the most appetizing delicacies served. He provided culinary training to his four staffs prior to the restaurant’s opening.
But it wasn’t out of need to get involved in a restaurant business that Joshi decided to venture into this field. The story goes back to 1999 when he moved to Spain and developed a strong connection with the Spanish culture. In the ten years he lived there, he mastered the art of Spanish cuisines.
It’s been six months since the place opened and it stands out for the quality of foods it serves as most of the ingredients needed for the cuisines are imported from Spain. So the main attraction of the restaurant is most definitely the remarkable foods they cater. The Spanish cuisines served are quite healthy and light due to its typical use of olive oil and lack of spices.
The best part of dining here is that even if you’re incredibly hungry you won’t lose your patience, as to start off, you can munch on the variety of appetizers. Firstly a complimentary appetizer will be served which is a result of Joshi’s own experiment. It’s a small bread piece topped with cheese and ham.
The variety of cuisines may seem like fancy Spanish names to you but even if you’re unfamiliar with Spanish foods, just to clear your doubts, the owner himself will be happy to guide you as he explains how each dish will taste like.
To begin with, the house has a plenty of options for appetizers, like the special Mediterraneo’s salad which is a fresh combination of lettuce, tomato, goji, shrimps, nuts done with balsamic dressing. For starters, you can try the sautéed mushroom that is served with poached egg. They also have Tortilla De Patatas that will somewhat remind you of the usual omelette but is distinct with its use of potato cooked in Spanish style.
The Paella is worth a mention and is an ideal dish for those who can’t do without rice. The menu describes it as something like Biryani, and though it looks like one, it doesn’t taste anything like it. The rice is sticky but oil-free and comes with a mixture of vegetables and shrimps. If you’re fond of pastas, then you should definitely try the Fideos which has been imported from Spain and isn’t found anywhere in Nepal. The taste differs quite a bit from the usual pasta. Joshi explains that, unlike normal pastas which are boiled and later mixed with sauce, Fideos aren’t boiled in excess water, and after it’s cooked, it resembles rice.
To end your meal with something sweet, one of the desserts to try should definitely be Natillas which tastes like custard. They also have variety of cold soups which can be a perfect treat in summer.
An added bonus is that you’ll be quite satisfied with the service. Even if you aren’t a big fan of Spanish delicacies, make an exception: get out of your comfort zone and give El Mediterraneo a shot. You won’t be disappointed.
In Spain, the culture of eating tapas, which includes a wide variety of appetizers and snacks, is quite popular. El Mediterraneo organizes Tapas fiesta every once in a while. They have a similar tapas fiesta with twelve tapas or appetizers tomorrow from 12:30 pm to 3 pm.
Lunch hours: 12:30 to 3 pm
Dinner time: 6:30 to 9 pm