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Name: Dan Sweeney
Occupation: Student Media Advisor
Lives In: Pompano Beach
Restaurant Pick: Candela Restaurant
Reviewed: Candela Restaurant

We pulled in to the parking lot about 15 minutes late for our reservation, but that wasn’t a problem. Other than a regular at the place who was sitting at a table with the owner’s son, there were no other diners. We were offered our pick of tables and chose one in the dining room, as opposed to the handful of tables that face the kitchen. Immediately, we were welcomed with open arms by Chef Armando, who ushered us into our seats and began regaling us with a tale of the day’s experimentation with curry. After we expressed some interest in his curry-based chicanery, the chef sent out a chicken curry empanada before our appetizer of crispy yucca sticks with aioli and chipotle mayo. Then came the appetizer of manchego cheese with chorizo cantimpalo, with which the chef sent out garlic bread. He followed that with another gratis gesture, a bruschetta topped with prosciutto, peppers and a balsamic vinegar reduction. The mayo was a little too smoky and the bread a lot too garlicky, but other than that, the appetizers were all delicious…even the curry that Armando had seemed so unsure of. My Moroccan chicken was equally good and as we worked on our second bottle of Erumir, the chef came back around and, with our permission, poured himself a glass with the promised trade of two glasses of something else a little later in the meal. We sat together and had a lengthy discussion about both of our dinners, from the Moorish influence on Spanish cuisine to Armando’s decision to add capers to my wife’s vaca frita. (“If Cubans had had capers, they’d have put them in it too!” he declared.) Afterward, we each had a piece of sweet gorgonzola topped with fig, and Armando presented us each with a fine glass of port, the promised repayment for his glass of Erumir. We left, full, happy and having gained a great deal of information about the food we ate and the chef who made it. Just as we were leaving, a couple entered who had clearly never been there before and were talking about driving “all the way to Fort Lauderdale.” Fellow Check Please reviewers? I’ll have to wait for the taping to find out.

Name: Gina Santuosso;
Occupation: RN/Entrepreneur
Lives In: Boca Raton
Restaurant Pick: Ristorante Sapori
Reviewed: Candela Restaurant

I made a reservation for 8pm on a Saturday night. We arrived, and we were the only ones there so we got a lot of attention to start. A few minutes later, two other couples walked in. They definitely looked like regulars and knew the owners well. We were taken care of immediately and were informed of the changes on the menu. We ordered a bottle of wine and three different tapas to start, the Yucca Sticks, Calamari, and Manchego Chorizo Platter. The owners, husband (Chef) and wife duo, were very sweet and welcoming to us. It was a very relaxing vibe with beautiful Spanish music playing and dimly lit chandeliers, so nice after a week of hard work and travel. Our wine was brought out at the perfect temperature and our piping hot Yucca Sticks followed shortly after. It was an indulgent appetizer with the aioli mayo and chipotle dipping sauces! We enjoyed every last bite, sauce included. I was in heaven with those fried sweet pieces and could have had a larger portion for my main course! The tapas that followed were just as memorable but couldn’t compare. As we dined, I took in the European style of décor and smell of the cooking from many different regions. The menu represented dishes from Italy, Spain, Cuba, and France. I thought wow, what should I order and what are they known for? Then the couple next to us told us that the owners are from all of those regions, and then I knew everything on the menu would be a safe choice. My dad always tells me to order something that the restaurant is known for, like don’t order steak at an Italian restaurant, etc. I have always tried to follow that, so I was thrown off on what to order at first! So, my husband ordered Italian and I ordered a Cuban dish, since we already had Spanish to start. The Lasagna Bolognese was absolutely wonderful! It tasted like something that would be served at a farmhouse in Italy, the beef ragout and béchamel sauce was so rich and hearty that we were fighting over it! I cannot wait to order “my own” next time we dine, and I won’t be sharing! It was such an authentic and homemade dish, it reminded me of my family’s cooking, which made me quite happy. As we were enjoying our meals, the chef came out to deliver hot tostones, which are double fried green plantains, and they were perfect with my Cuban dish of Palomilla Steak. At no point was our meal rushed, and we had a wonderful time with the other couples dining there. At the end of the night, the Chef came out to pour us some Port Wine, which I enjoyed with my Flan, which was rich, creamy, and delicious! I was so surprised at the authenticity of the food and the reasonable prices for both the food and wine. I really felt like I got more than I bargained for at this restaurant! I look forward to bringing my family back very soon to experience this Mediterranean and Cuban celebration of food. Great concept and super-fun experience! Thank you, Candela!

Name: Dr. Rudolph Moise
Occupation: Physician
Lives In: North Miami
Restaurant Pick: Hakkasan
Reviewed: Candela Restaurant on Sept 8, 2011

Dining at Candela Restaurant is a real experience. It is like having your private chef. You tell him what you want, and he makes suggestion on how to make the choice tastier. The food is delicious, big portions, in very relaxed atmosphere. The chef/owner is very passionate about his food creations (Latin and Spanish dishes). He tells you stories about the celebrities who visited the restaurant, about his vast experience as a chef in Spain and the US, and how he loves cooking. His wife prepares all the desserts. I highly recommend this restaurant to others, the only negative is that the restaurant is located in a small strip mall, and the outside does not do the restaurant any justice. The parking lot needs to be resurfaced.

Restaurant Information

Location: 2909 NE 6th Ave., Wilton Manors, FL 33334
Phone: 954-563-8088
Parking: yes
Restaurant Owners: Armando Vega
Executive Chef: Armando Vega
Pastry Chef: N/A

Type of Cuisine: Eclectic
Signature Dishes: N/A
Vegetarian Options: Yes
Alcohol Served: Wine & Beer
Corkage Fee: Not at the moment
Bottle Limit: N/A

Restaurant Hours: 
Monday – 11am-3pm (Lunch) 5pm-10pm (Dinner) 
Tuesday – 11am-3pm (Lunch) 5pm-10pm (Dinner)
Wednesday – 11am-3pm (Lunch) 5pm-10pm (Dinner)
Thursday – 11am-3pm (Lunch) 5pm-10pm (Dinner)
Friday – 11am-3pm (Lunch) 5pm-11pm (Dinner)
Saturday – 5pm-11pm (Dinner)
Sunday – closed

Meals Served: Lunch/dinner
Prix Fix Menu: $19 
Take-Out: Yes 
Delivery: No 
Average Dinner Price Range (per person, full meal, tax, 15% gratuity, w/o alcohol): $30 
Average Lunch Price Range (per person, full meal, tax, 15% gratuity, w/o alcohol): $15 
Payment Options: All major credit cards
Accept Reservations: Yes
Need Reservations: Recommended

Accommodations for Children: Yes
Dining Style: casual
Disabled Access: Yes 
Restaurant Size: N/A
Accommodate Groups: Yes 
Private Dining Room: Yes
Tables with Scenic Views: No 
Outdoor Dining: Yes 
Entertainment: Not yet