Centro Comercial Rio Sur rarely pops into my head when I think about places to eat or drink. It’s just too far from my house.
Maybe I should think about it more, despite the distance.
Last week I went to Tarambana, a Spanish food and tapas restaurant in the trendy mall, to get a feel for the atmosphere of the place and the authenticity of the food.
I was very impressed.
Tarambana is nestled in a nice corner of the Rio Sur, at the far end of the first floor, which makes it feel private and exclusive, a place away from the other restaurants where you can have a special dinner, especially couples, or anyone actually, wanting to feel like they’ve found Medellín’s best-kept secret.
There is a variety of wine on the wall in this chic lounge setting.
Tarambana offers a variety of Spanish favorites such as chorizo and paella, along with popular drinks such as sangria and Spanish wine.
I found out that Alex, the owner of Tarambana, imports his meat from Spain, to make sure his customers get a true taste of his home, originally Basque Country then later Barcelona, which got us talking about the fútbol team’s great front line of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar, but that’s a conversation for another time.
I talked mostly about the food with him and David, his marketing manager, and I came to understand rather quickly why everything is so good.
“We just cut it off the leg of meat we order,” David said of the chorizo and jamón ibérico, which were part of my first dish.
He made a plate that included a Spanish tortilla (4,000 pesos, or about $2), jamón ibérico (6,000 pesos, or about $3), and chorizo with cheese (6,000 pesos), all atop small portions of toasted and tasty bread.
My friend Jen and I would have four more dishes, which I’m about to tell you about, but this first one was my favorite. Easily.
My second-favorite dish followed: the croquetas (4,000 pesos, about $2)
These pieces of fried dough, filled with ham or chicken, became favorites of mine when I lived in South Florida.
The Spanish version is a little different from the Cuban style, which do not use milk or crema de leche, whichever one of those was part of the croquetas I just ate, and I liked these even better than the ones my Cuban friend’s family made once for the tailgating we did before a Miami Marlins game.
The Spanish croquetas are much more filling too. I was starting to get full and the paella was still on the way, and David decided to just give us an order of patatas bravas (10,000 pesos, about $5.25), or potatoes that come with a slightly spicy sauce.
Good thing we got only a half order of seafood paella (27,000 pesos, about $14), which by itself would have been enough to make me full. It was delicious too, just like homemade paella I had at a Spanish friend’s house, when I went there for his son’s first birthday.
I was full at this point, but Jen, despite her tiny frame and ability to keep weight off, still had room for more, leading to this exchange:
David: “Can I recommend something else?”
Jen: “Please do!!”
We got the shrimp in a garlic white wine sauce (20,000 pesos, about $10.50), and that was enough for the night. I was not going to eat another bite.
I waddled to the taxi with Jen, and started yawning again and again, big, heavy yawns, the first sign of the upcoming food coma.
When I got home, I went to my room, brushed my teeth, put “The Wire” on my computer, and then fell asleep less than halfway through the episode.
Food provided compliments of Tarambana.