Located in downtown Hanover, Candela Tapas Lounge offers an enticing selection of Spanish and Caribbean cuisine within a vibrant and cozy atmosphere.
It had been a few years since I’d made a night out of New Year’s Eve so, along with some interested friends, I decided on Candela because of its exciting list of cocktails and intriguing selection of small plates. My husband and I had been once before and had a great experience eating at the bar. So I called a week in advance, assuming reservations for NYE would be quick to fill up around Hanover. I grabbed 8:30pm for the five of us.
My husband and I arrived 20 minutes early to the merry greetings from the Candela owners. We took seats at our table and after a thorough scan of the drink menu, I chose the POM-tini, featuring Kettle One vodka, POM Wonderful juice and Patron Citronge. My husband selected a favorite of his – a Dark & Stormy with Black Seal, ginger beer and lime. When the festive glasses arrived, it was impulse to don a pointed pinkie for my inaugural sip – it was delicious and I’d highly recommend the POM-tini for any celebratory night out!
Next up, the Specials list. Almost as quickly as I spotted the oysters, we had them ordered. At that point, our friends had arrived and, after we hugged our hellos, concurred that a dozen of the Connecticut Blue Point Oysters and a meat and cheese board was a suitable start.
The oysters arrived in their half shells aside a delectable sauce mignonette. That sauce – yum! Our meat and cheese board featured three meats, including a rich chorizo and three cheeses (I love Manchego!) along with dollops of fun mix-n-match toppings and spreads. The board is an exciting dish when presented as its contents are smartly arranged to tantalize (another side note: I’m a sucker for merchandising).
An additional favorite of the night was the Setas Montaditos dish – a mixture of roasted sweet potato “tostones,” wild mushrooms, caramelized onions and goat cheese. The concoction sounds rich, but each ingredient blended to offer a flavorful but smooth taste without going overboard on anything. The portion was perfect, as it provided our group with a large spoonful each.
Two other dishes we chose were more of the “mains” – tacos and empanadas. The tacos and empanadas each came in two flavors; we didn’t want to discriminate so we ordered the Pernil Tacos (pulled pork), Tacos de Pescado (mahi-mahi), Empanada de Pollo (chicken) and Empanada de Picadillo (Picadillo beef, veal and pork) and halved where needed (three came with each selection). The Pernil Tacos offered the most flavor including a hint of sweetness that complemented the braised pork. The empanadas were all-around good, even to the picky eater in our party (we love you, Megan!).
By the time the last plate was cleaned of its vittles, we were happily content without that creeping over-full feeling you can get when you dine out with celebrating friends. Candela’s small plates were a perfect adios to 2015.
Candela Tapas Lounge is open for dinner Tuesday – Sunday, closed on Monday. For hours and location, check out http://candelatapas.com/#!/contacts/
Tapas: $9 – $22
Meat and cheese boards: $17 – $28
Great cocktail, beer and wine list. Try an Aged Rum Flight!
Join them for Taco Tuesdays and get $5 tacos.