Thursday, January 22, 2009

Guardado's - Bethesda, MD

For my birthday, the bf surprised me and took me to this cute tapas restaurant in Bethesda. The closest metro stop would be Bethesda on the Red Line. It's located across from a metered parking garage, but there is also metered street parking available.
It is a place you could miss if you were driving too fast because the sign is a bit small, and there isn't anything very distinct about the outside. So remember it is next to Hard Times Cafe.

On the front window were some deals they have throughout the week.

Here is my birthday self.

This is the front of the restaurant. It is a pretty small place, but very cozy. It also has the nice romantic-dim lighting, which kills my photos, haha. I did like the Christmas lights around the room. However since the place is small, you can definitely hear the next tables conversations very clearly.

Guardado's gives bread while you wait for your order. It was good and warm with a nice crust on the outside.

I love good olive oil to dip bread in, and this olive oil was yummy and light.

For those of you that are unfamiliar with 'Tapas', they are basically small/appetizer sized dishes that you share with the rest of the table. Typically a table will order a bunch of different ones for everyone to taste and enjoy. This type of meal originated from Spain and can be compared to the Chinese dim sum.

We ordered the 'Croquetas Españolas- Béchamel Fritters with Chicken and Serrano Ham' for $5.95. I've had this before at other tapas places and I love it. It's a recommended dish as well as a traditional one. It tastes like well seasoned chicken stock with the consistency of mashed potatoes, then fried.

We ordered the 'Calamares Fritos- Deep Fried Calamari in Our Guardado’s Special Recipe Tomato Alioli' for $7.25. Tasty, not frozen squid with a nice crispy outside. I would've prefer ed a bit more seasoning but it was good dipped into the sauce, which was similar to tarter sauce.

We then got the 'Quesos Españoles- Cabrales, Manchego, Idiazabal, Murcia And Toasted Bread' for $7.25. This was a cold tapas with 4 different types of cheeses on toasted bread. 2 of them were strong tasting and 2 of them were more mild. I personally love strong/stinky cheeses.

Our last order was the 'Tortilla con Chorizo- Spanish Omelet with Caramelized Onions, Spanish Sausage and Sautéed Mushrooms' for $6.95. This was really good however I was getting really full from the plates before and all the bread. This is more of a dense omelet rather than a light-fluffy one.

As we were about to leave, the restaurant surprised me with a birthday flan and song. It was completely unexpected and very touching. The flan was AMAZING. It was much richer than others I've had in the past. Much more custard flavor and consistancy than just tasting caramel syrup. I loved it.

Very cute, simple place with a great staff. Really friendly, helpful and warm. It's always a pleasure to go to a place where you feel like they appreciate your business and try to make you feel welcomed.
The menu does serve other items than just tapas, including another traditional Spanish dish called 'Paella' which is Saffron rice and seafood mixed together in a huge pot and shared at the table.
The prices range from $2.00-37.95, so it can be an affordable dinner. I would recommend this place for couples wanting a cute, but not stuffy night out, and to groups of friends who want to order a ton of food and converse over wine.

4918 Del Ray Avenue
Bethesda, MD 20814

Monday: closed
Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday: 11:30am to 10:00pm
Friday and Saturday: 11:30am to 11:00pm
Sunday: 5:00pm to 9:00pm


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