COVER: Right

A Little Italy, a Touch of Spain: the Choice is Yours

Villa Sorriso and Bar Celona join forces bringing Italian and Spanish cuisine to one location

Article and Photos by CANDICE MERRILL
Published: Saturday, October 26, 2013 | 3:09 PM

 

Garlic-Roasted Mussels

You might be wondering where Villa Sorriso went. Did it close? No. It just relocated down the street to Bar Celona. Now with their combined menus you can choose Italian, Spanish or both.

Montados

The beauty of it all is that these two cuisines meld together so seamlessly. Want some pasta with your paella, how about some antipasto with your empanada; you can even have some pizza with your pork belly. Any flavor combination is yours to create.

Starting with Italy we began our meal with a sizzling skillet of garlic-roasted mussels. Glistening with white wine and dotted with bits of garlic and shallots, the mussels were served steaming and fragrant with the scents of garlic and white wine. We enjoyed these tender morsels with plenty of bread for dipping.

Paella Valenciana

Switching over to Spain our next dish, montados are the Spanish equivalent of bruschetta but with a twist. Lightly toasted slices of baguette were topped with Spanish chorizo and a sunny-side-up quail egg and others were spread with herbed goat cheese with an anchovy and topped with chopped tomato, garlic and basil.  The Spanish chorizo was mildly spicy and was tempered with the quail egg. The anchovy on the other hand was mild and savory and melded with the goat cheese and tomatoes. The interesting combination of flavors made for tasty bites.

Paella filled with an assortment of seafood, chicken and chorizo was brought our next course. The sauce, more tomato than saffron, coated the ingredients with flavor. This dish was more subtle than spicy with a creamy texture. It was chock-full of ingredients providing a different flavor with every bite.

Pistachio-crusted halibut

Back to the Italian side of the menu we were served a substantial piece of delicate halibut, coated with pistachios and lightly sautéed. The fish was served in a pink peppercorn beurre-blanc sauce and accompanied by mashed potatoes and garlic spinach. The fish was mild and nutty with the pistachios balancing the richness of the beurre-blanc.

For dessert we shared a piece of chocolate lava cake. The cake had an intense chocolate flavor with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream to temper the richness.

Crooner Douglas Roegiers

An extra treat for those of you who choose to visit the restaurant on Wednesday nights from 7:00 – 10:00 p.m. is crooner Douglas Roegiers singing songs from the Great American Songbook. If you’ve never heard him sing he’s a combination of the best of the Rat Pack and very entertaining.

You’ll find Sorriso/Bar Celona at 38 and 46 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena. They are open Sunday – Wednesday: 11.30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m., and   Thursday – Saturday:  11:00 a.m. to 2:00 a.m. For more information call 626-405-1000 or visit www.barcelonapasadena.com or www.sorrisopasadena.com.

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