While there are many fine restaurants in our area, it is unique to discover an eatery that is provides a great menu, friendly service and a dining atmosphere that is warm and inviting. La Camelia in Mt Kisco is such a place. Perched on a hill in a 19th Century home, the restaurant is instantly welcoming. I felt as if I had walked into the home of a favorite relative, or a quaint New England or European inn that was overflowing with charm and warmth. The feeling was instant comfort.
While the restaurant has been operating since 1984, current owners Victor and Serafina Varela have infused new life, an updated menu and genuine warmth and hospitality into La Camelia. The interior has wide wood floors, fire places and wooden tables draped in linen. Prints and tapestries adorn the walls. There are three separate dining spaces and a bar, all with a unique charm of their own.
The menu is comprised of authentic Spanish and Portuguese dishes, tapas (small plates), sangria and wines. The fresh flavors of the Iberian Peninsula are all here to explore and enjoy.
We started with a pitcher of white wine sangria which was served in a traditional hand painted ceramic pitcher instead of glass or plastic. This authentic beverage was a great way to start our culinary tour.
The Sopa de Lagosta (Lobster Soup) was warm and delicious on a cold night. Served in a unique fish shaped bowl , this lobster bisque also included crab meat and a piece of toast floating on top. It was hearty and delicious.
Since Spain and Portugal border the sea, the menu is full of seafood options. We enjoyed the Tostada de Gambas, a warm tapas with grilled shrimp, fresh guacamole and served over in house made crunchy chips.
Another great tapas was the Mexilhoes na Cataplana, or steamed mussels in a red sauce. A very unique presentation of this classic dish as it was served in a covered metal bowl with a hammered finish. Lifting the cover allowed the fragrant flavors of fresh steamed mussels in a slightly smoky red sauce to fill the air. This unique presentation and fantastic preparation is what makes La Camelia so special.
For our main dishes we sampled (at the suggestion of the staff), the Bife na Pedra which is black angus steak that is lightly grilled on each side then served on a cooking stone. You slice the steak and allow the hot stone to cook it to your liking. A really fun, interactive and authentic dish which we highly recommend.
A visit to a Spanish restaurant is not complete without enjoying Seafood Paella. I am big fan of this dish and La Camelia delivers with all seafood including mussels, clams, shrimp, and topped with a 1/2 pound lobster. The presentation of the dish was wonderful, and the taste was perfection.
With just a bit of room left for dessert we were surprised to see a dessert cart rolled into the dining room. Again a charming detail we have not seen in some time in dining and another example of the hospitality at La Camelia. There were several great looking desserts with the Carrot cake and the Chocolate Mousse being our favorites.
La Camelia is a very special dining experience. The warmth and genuineness of the hosts, friendly staff, amazing dishes from the sunny Iberian peninsula and a cozy welcoming atmosphere make this a must dine destination.
We cannot wait for warmer weather when the side patio opens up for outside dining. A perfect restaurant for date night, or a gathering of friends.
234 North Bedford Rd
Mount Kisco NY 10549
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