Less than two months after opening LA PLAZA has received a couple of quite flattering reviews from the Cambodia Daily and ASIALife magazine.
The June 9th Cambodia Daily article says:
“Lunch is a smattering of Spanish classics. We start with the gazpacho (92.50), which is creamy but light. ”It’s from the south of Spain,” Mr. Sola said. ”Spanish food is about tradition-years of developing dishes. It’s an evolution.”
A plate of cold cuts includes a chorizo that melts on the tongue, while the patalas bravas ($3) are done in a simple, smoky paprika sauce without any mayonnaise that Mr. Sola said is in keeping with the traditions of the dish. The sauce is robust, but the flavors are delicately balanced. The gambas al ajillo (92.50), or prawns, are plump, juicy, not too oiiy and served with a garlic accompaniment. So too are the clams whose taste are accentuated by lemon and garlic. The Verduras a la plancha (94), or grilled vegetables, are grilled soft and dressed lightly with Spanish olive oil.
The piece de resistance, howeve4 is the golden-colored paella marinera ($24, and one of four paellas that LaPlazadoes), which is beautifully put together and has the distinctive, slightly burnt base that any good paella should. The prawns are succulent and the squid is tender. The bomba rice, brought over from Spain, retains the flavor of the dish’s seafood components, from which a stock had been made. This one is definitely one for sharing. And it goes down well with a swig of La plaza,s sangria, which also had the input of the Spanish community.”
The July number of ASIALife says:
“As soon as the owner of new tapas restaurant La Plaza pulls out the porron, it is clear that this eatery is Spanish to the core. Shaped like a glass kettle with a long spout, containing a generals helping of beer shandy, the porron is used by customers to squirt liquid into their mouths at arms’ length. Popular among eledery Spaniards, it is an unusual, albeit messy, way to enjoy a drink.
The method is one that complements the convivial atmosphere at Phnom Penh newest tapas house, La Plaza. Located in a small shop house on street 278 – an increasingly popular enclave for restaurateurs – the eatery’s unfussy white walls and dark wood fittings hint at what is to come.
The kitchen has prioritized clean, simple flavours by letting good ingredients speak for themselves. The tapas range in price from $2 to $6 and come served in white plates with minimal decoration. A good dose of olive oil brings out the natural smokiness of verduras a la plancha ($4) or grilled vegetables. Classic Spnish patatas bravas ($3) are well-coocked, with a golden exterior , and lie in a clean yet understated spiced sauce. A plate of shrimp is grilled with salt to maximize fresh flavors, with no risk of the start of the ingredient being overpowered. Slices of tortilla de patata ($2) are satisfying, think with potatoes dominating the thick egg cake.
Cooking in such a straight forward style is, however, unforgiving. Edging towards overdone, calamares ($5.5) lack the melt in the mouth texture of squid at its best and are accompanied with a single lime. When dealing with so few ingredients, even the smallest deviation from perfection is unmasked. But generous quantities of sangría ($9 a jug) will more than make up for any glitches. Reach, fruity and packing serious punch, the jugs of deep red wine are providing a sure-fire draw in sangria-starved Phnom Penh.
Three months after opening, the small restaurant – and its four different types of paella, including a version with frog’s legs – is proving popular amongst the expat community, with tables often packed out. No wonder. La Plaza specializes in honest food in a welcoming environment. As tapas is all about sharing, mix a group of friends and a hefty does of sangria to create an excellent recipe for a night out.”
Some online guides have also expressed their opinions of LA PLAZA, such as the Penhpal.com website:
“A welcome addition to the Penh’s culinary scene, this small Spanish-theme eatery in BKK1 specializing in tapas and sangria, shows the surprising number of Iberians there are here. On our visit, Spanish was undoubtedly the prevailing dialect (and the place was packed!). Lots of offering reminiscent of the much-lamented, departed Pacharan, such as Patatas Bravos. The food is excellent but the wine a little pricey.”
And we have also seen comments from customers who have enjoyed our food in Hungrygowhere.com:
“Gets my vote Had a lovely evening here. Chilled Spanish white wine with some great tapas. We had (can’t remember all the names) whitebait-like Cambodian fish in vinegar and olive oil, homemade fried chorizo, clams in white wine sauce, prawns and calamari. All great (except the calamari was a bit rubbery) and at $3-6 a plate good value. Can’t wait to go back. Only gripe is the lighting is a bit too bright.”
“Great new option for Spanish Tapas! I went with a few friends after a couple of drinks one evening, so bear with me on the fuzzy details. The important take-away is that it’s my new favorite location for tapas. Sangria: strong and delicious. Grilled vegetables: AMAZING. It sounds strange, but it’s probably one of my favorite dishes in town. Maybe I just like olive oil. Croquettes: I don’t usually go for croquettes (the fried stuff messes with me), but I couldn’t stay away. They weren’t overly-battered, and the filling (pumpkin?) was great. Stuffed Squid: Squid can get overcooked very easily, but this was perfect. The rest of the food we ordered…I don’t remember exactly what we ordered (like I said, it was after a few drinks and the sangria was strong), just that it was fantastic and I can’t wait to try more of the menu! All together, I’m just waiting for an opportunity to go back!”
“Great Spanish place – must check! The restaurant owner was there and he told us the place was opened 10 days ago. the place is very easy to find, opposite Happa st 278, you will not miss it. We ordered some tapas to share as we didnt have time to wait for paella. Gazpacho : tasty, refreshing, could be a bit colder though. Stir-fried chorizo : delicious!. Spanish omelette: delicious, could add more potato to make it less fluffy. Grilled clams in garlic and white wine sauce : really good and generous portion for $4. Meatballs with fried potato cubes : really good with tasty sauce. fried potato cubes were nice and crispy. Sangria is really reasonable at $2.5 per glass. fantastic value. happy to find the place and recommended it!”