In the span of the past few weeks, there’s been quite a few restaurant openings in the downtown area. We were particularly excited about the opening of Malagon Mercado Y Taperia on Spring Street and couldn’t wait to go try it out! I visited Spain a few years ago and ate a lot of really great food and the only food I have found that can closely compare to the food I had there is the paella at Barsa. I was eager to find out how much closer I could get to true Spanish cuisine at Malagon.
Upon walking into the restaurant, I immediately felt like I had been transported back to one of the really cute cafes that I visited in Spain. There is meat hanging from the ceiling at the bar, as well as freshly baked breads on the counter for purchase. The walls are filled with different kinds of Spanish crackers, wine, nuts, chocolates, and other treats, all for purchase as well. Among all of this are elegant tables set for two, four or more. The whole restaurant space is quite small, which is why it is best to make a reservation before going.
Though Malagon is a small restaurant, the menu is quite extensive. There is a snack selection, a charcuterie selection, a small and large tapas selection, a seafood selection, a meat selection, a vegetable dish selection, and a dessert selection. We decided to choose from the small tapas selection and the vegetable dish selection for our meal. We started off with the “Sobrasada con queso” ($10), which consists of two toasted slices of freshly baked bread, topped with goat cheese and soft chunks of Mallorcan chorizo, finished with a drizzle of honey. This dish was fantastic. The goat cheese was tangy and creamy, the chorizo offered a slight spicy flavor and seemed to just melt right in our mouths. The honey offered the perfect sweet finishing flavor.
Next, we tried the “Patatas arrugadas con moho picon”($8), which are wrinkled potatoes served with cilantro and paprika sauces. We thought the potatoes tasted like an average roasted potato, but pairing them with the sauces definitely took them up a notch. The cilantro sauce seemed to have the perfect pairings of cilantro and spicy flavor and the paprika sauce was savory with strong hints of garlic. I wouldn’t have complained if they let us take home huge jars of these sauces.
Finally, we tried out the “Setas a la parilla”($13), which are grilled king trumpet mushrooms with garlic and almonds. They were soft and chewy and filled with lots of excellent flavor. The nutty flavor of the almonds complimented the dish quite well. I sometimes forgot that I was eating mushrooms while eating these!
We split our bill and each ended up spending $20 each, which is more than I would usually intend to spend on a meal. However, the food here is pretty high quality and I would say there is a pretty close comparison to the food I had in Spain (though I’m still a sucker for Barsa’s paella). It’s also worth noting that it would be possible to spend less than $20 on food at this restaurant, as there are various items on the menu that cost less than $10. Malagon does a great job of recreating an authentic Spanish restaurant experience, and with that along with the high quality food, I would say the price is not too shabby.