Kika Tapas

Sautéed Baby Spinach with Pine Nuts & RaisinsLast week, I met up with my friends and fellow-bloggers Katie, Erin, and Noelle for an after-work dinner at Kika Tapas in Kendall Square. I had been very curious about Kika after hearing the comparisons between it and Dali, and didn’t know what to expect after my last not-great Dali experience.

We lucked out with a beautiful night, allowing us to sit in their lovely outdoor patio. Clearly, Kika’s Kendall location and the availability of outdoor seating are a huge draw – especially for the after-work crowd. We settled in and ordered some drinks, and our waitress was patient with us as we spent too much time chatting and not enough time deciding what to eat.

Now, as for the food? Like Dali, I thought it was very hit or miss. We ordered 8 tapas total plus a dessert, which worked out to be the perfect amount of food and allowed us to try a lot of the menu.

Salmon Ceviche

There was nothing particularly wrong about the Salmon Ceviche (except maybe needing a little salt), but nothing remarkable either. The salmon was incredibly tender and paired well with the citrus dressing. The peppers were tasty, though not entirely necessary. If anything, it could have used a vegetable with some crunch.

Crab and Mango Stuffed Avocado

For such a simple and classic combination, I was expecting much more from the Palta Reina (Crab and Mango Stuffed Avocado). Honestly, this was the one dish I flat-out did not like; the avocado and mango weren’t ripe enough and the crab tasted like canned claw meat. (Plus, having the avocado still in the shell made it very difficult to share.)

Broccoli & Cauliflower Fritters

The Buñuelos (Broccoli & Cauliflower Fritters), though not incredibly flavorful on their own, were fluffy and fried to perfection. Also, it’s hard to resist dipping fried things into delicious aioli. We all really enjoyed these.

Sautéed Baby Spinach with Pine  Nuts & Raisins

The Espinacas Gallegas (Sautéed Baby Spinach with Pine Nuts & Raisins) was surprisingly the highlight of our meal. I loved that the spinach was just barely wilted, and a touch of lemon and the pop of the plump raisins brightened the flavors of the other components. The garlic slices were golden brown and crunchy, but not bitter. I would definitely order this again.

Lamb Meatballs  in Truffle Cream Sauce

The Albóndigas de Cordero (Lamb Meatballs in Truffle Cream Sauce) were also very good. The meatballs were moist and not too gamey. The sauce was perhaps a little rich for the meatballs, but that didn’t matter too much since were were only having a little bit of each dish. The sauce also did not have a strong truffle flavor, which didn’t really matter to me, and could be a good or bad thing depending on your stance on truffle oil.

Grilled Chicken Breast , Crispy Fried Egg, Yukon Gold Potatoes

When the Pechuga con Huevo (Grilled Chicken Breast, Crispy Fried Egg, Yukon Gold Potatoes) first arrived, the fried egg had visible uncooked white. We asked them to cook it a little more, and it arrived back at our table over-easy with a still runny yolk (luckily).

Grilled Chicken Breast , Crispy Fried Egg, Yukon Gold Potatoes

Egg issue aside, I didn’t really understand this dish. The chicken was borderline dry and the potatoes were not memorable. And I just found the whole combination pretty boring.

Lobster Crab Raviolis  in a Langostino Sauce

I didn’t taste a lot of lobster in the Ravioles de Mariscos (Lobster Crab Raviolis in a Langostino Sauce), but I still very much enjoyed them. The texture of the pasta was nicely al dente, and the not-too-heavy creamy sauce was beaming with shellfish flavor.

Roast Duck with Berry Sauce

I had high hopes for the Pato Braseado (Roast Duck with Berry Sauce). I’m all for duck paired with a sweet sauce, but the duck was a little dry and the sauce was a little too sweet.

Churros

We ended the night with the Churros and Hot Chocolate. Although the churros were nowhere near the best I’ve had, that didn’t stop me from eating them by any means!

All in all, I’m not dying to go back to Kika for the food. It was a fun place to go with friends though, and I certainly wouldn’t mind eating that spinach again!

Do you ever go back to a restaurant for simply the atmosphere and not the food?

Kika Tapas
Kendall Square
350 3rd Street
Cambridge, MA 02142
Kika Tapas on Urbanspoon

See my favorite dishes at this restaurant on Tasted Menu

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  • http://twitter.com/InAndAroundTown In and Around Town

    Great review – I have heard similar things about this place, but the atmosphere does look fun!

  • http://yummychunklet.wordpress.com/ Yummychunklet

    Everything looks delicious!

  • http://www.simplylifeblog.com/ Simply Life

    tapas are such a fun way to enjoy a meal with friends! good to know your thoughts on each dish – I’m sad the fritters weren’t as good as they look!

  • DeliciousDish

    I felt the same way about Kika. Some hits and some misses. I also didn’t really understand that mango and crab stuffed avocado. It could easily be so much better. I do remember liking some broccoli and cheese bunuelos.

  • http://twitter.com/Daisy_III IndulgeInspireImbibe

    sounds like the majority fall in the miss category. But it also sounds like you still had an enjoyable evening!

  • http://www.acambridgestory.com Emily

    Interesting. I’ve been really wondering about this place – sounds like it’s got some kinks to work out. Good to know the ambiance is a plus! 

  • http://www.confessionsofachocoholic.com/ Bianca Garcia

    I haven’t been there, also heard mixed reviews. But I’ll like some of the bunuelos, too!
     

  • http://joanne-eatswellwithothers.com/ Joanne

    This restaurant does NOT sound like it’s worth going back to! I could more misses than hits.

  • Elizabeth

    This is pretty much in line with what my thoughts on Kika were just from what I heard, not having visited. Those churros do look excellent

  • http://twitter.com/findingclairity Clair J

    I love tapas…glad you can familiarize me with all the best/worst local places before I try too many. =) And I definitely feel like I can trust your judgment.

    I would definitely go to a place for the atmosphere!

  • http://twitter.com/elinaholbrook Elina Holbrook

    I have a gift certificate there for donating to NPR last year. Now I’m on the fence about going :(

    • http://www.culinarycolleen.com/ Colleen

      I think it’s worth going if it’s free and you order the right things. (Just don’t order the crab stuffed avocado!)

      You should also go while it’s still warm and sit outside. It’s definitely a nice place to hang out.

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