Walking into Bellota, one is immediately welcomed by an impressive string of trophy-like jamón iberico hanging from the ceiling. The smell of crispy paella wafts from the open kitchen and the sound of live classical guitar echoes from the back corner.
As I excused myself to wash my hands, the staff motioned me to exit the restaurant and walk through Airbnb, with whom they share the building, where I would find the restroom. The bright lights and green carpeted walls in Airbnb's HQ are a far contrast from the 140-seat interior of Bellota – so I quickly slipped back into the restaurant to set the right tone for my meal.
Bellota specializes in wood-fired hearth paellas, Old World stews, tapas, seafood, charcuterie, Spanish cheeses and wines, and slow–cooked vegetables… so you can imagine how hard it was to choose what to order. We settled on sharing 2 tapas, one paella, and one dessert, which ended up being ample food for 2 people.
Tapas are the Spanish way of saying, “sharing is caring”. These plates come out with bite sized pieces and are meant to be shared among others.
We started with the albondiga, which is a yogurt-braised chicken meatball with spinach, pinenut migas, and pomegranate.
We also shared the creamy clam and sea-urchin fritter (croqueta) with pickled ramp and seaweed powder. The fresh sea flavor overwhelmed me in the best way possible.
Truly, our hardest choice was selecting one paella. You technically can pick two different paella and they will make the dish50/50, but it comes at a much higher cost. So we settled on the veggie paella with roasted wild mushrooms, delicata squash, black garlic, pepita, and garlic scape. This was my first time having a veggie paella, and I am sold. I especially loved the crispy bits of rice that stuck to the bottom of the pan.
Eyeing the other paellas, I don’t think you could have gone wrong with this order, though next time I would likely try the paella of rice and noddle with gulf shrimp, scallop, green bean, squid and ink.
Fully satisfied, we decided to finish off with the churros, because you really can’t go to a Spanish restaurant and not have Spanish donuts. The donuts came with both a dulce de leche and salted chocolate dipping sauce. We left the full plate bare.