>> Casa Córdoba | Eat the World Los Angeles

Friday 17 March 2023

Casa Córdoba

Honolulu Avenue-facing facade

🇪🇸 SPAIN (Andalucía)
📍 2331 Honolulu Avenue, Montrose, Verdugos
🅿️ Very small lot in back, street parking
🥤 Beer and wine

While the city's food media is busy celebrating modern Spanish and Basque-influenced restaurants opening around town, it seemed a good time to head to now 10-year-old Casa Córdoba. Mostly appreciated as a neighborhood restaurant and known by locals and those that pop over from Pasadena, the building is designed like the Roman/Moorish villas in southern Spain but lives right on Montrose's main drag.

That design is an important part of buildings in the region of Andalucía, and its interior courtyard goes to great lengths to show off the breezy patios of this hot part of the Iberian peninsula. If the weather permits, try to score a table there. The cities of Sevilla and Granada may be more known in the region nowadays, but Córdoba's history as a center for Roman and Islamic cultures in different time periods make it such an important place to learn about Andalucía.


While not sticking exclusively to the food of Córdoba or the greater region, the restaurant does have some southern specialties that should be tried. But rest assured most of the customers here have already dined in many times, and there is no right answer when deciding what to order. Classic tapas dishes are executed just as nice as regional specialties that you may have never heard of before.

The tapas start coming out fast and furious, just as they might in a Spanish bar when served free with drinks. Even before the glasses of wine are all filled, a hot plate of albondigas ($16, above) shows up shortly after the full order is placed. These already show off the influences from the other side of the Mediterranean that linger heavily today, a mix of Moroccan beef merguez and decidedly non-halal pork chorizo. They swim in a shallow tomato bath and get a manchego dusting, and eating them just makes you more hungry.

Salmorejo Cordobés

It may be raining and cold, the mountains above Montrose even got a decent amount of snow, but do not pass up the opportunity to enjoy a cup of salmorejo, a cold soup that originated in Córdoba. Salmorejo Cordobés ($11, above) is a thick puree of tomatoes and garlic that almost everyone in the city will tell you to order if you are visiting. It is bright with sour acidic notes and always comes with a crumble of hard boiled egg and serrano ham to be mixed into the soup.

As much or more than the rest of Spain, seafood in Andalucía plays an oversized roll in the appetites of most people. One of the table's favorite dishes on this night was the mariscos de la casa ($26, below), fresh mussels, clams, and shrimp that have moved straight from the sea to this white wine and butter-filled bowl laced with garlic and herbs. Even the bread is top notch, and you should not feel ashamed to use it to soak up every last drop of the delicious juices down at the bottom.

Mariscos de la casa

Pintxo champiñones con gambas
Pintxo champiñones con gambas ($20).

Chistorra y esparragos
Chistorra y esparragos (16).

Tostas de anchoas ($16).

The meal continued on with nonstop hits like the three above, tapas-style dishes executed flawlessly and providing a good array of tastes. The shrimp and mushroom dish seemed to show up on every table in the restaurant on this night. For good reason, they could not be turned down and like many things come as a portion of four. Two people are enough to have a wonderful dinner here, but gathering a group of four is ideal.

Even with those four, by the time the paella Casa Córdoba ($45 small, below) arrives you are already feeling some pressure against your belt. Paella is cooked and served in the namesake metal dish as it should be, and the house version is a more southern take on the Valenciana, with small cubes of duck and chorizo underneath much larger (and weirdly bland) hunks of chicken. The rice is the star with very slight but good socarrat, the crispiness at the bottom that has all the flavors of each component concentrated within a caramelization.

Small Paella Casa Córdoba


You might need to get up and take a walk to make it happen, but at least one selection from the dessert menu is rewarding. Natilla ($10, above) is a fairly light option, a milky sweet custard with vanilla and cinnamon served with crispy wafers that can scoop just as well as the small spoons provided. Make sure to grab a white raisin in each bite as well.

On a nice warm night with no one waiting for your table, you will find yourself wanting to linger with another bottle of wine or maybe a round of Estrella Damm beer. Even diners who are coming from outside of the area will immediately feel like a regular here as the service is just so friendly and attentive. Another walk around the block and you will be ready for that nightcap.


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