I chanced upon this Spanish-themed restaurant while I was driving around the suburbs of Cypress. Since it is midweek and it won’t be until Sunday when I can once again devour my mom’s cooking, I decided to give it a try. Mind you, I have a lot of expectations going inside this restaurant as they said in their signage that they specialize in paella. When it’s paella where are talking about, then I declare myself the expert and as such I have very high standards for that.
The restaurant was a converted vintage house filled with antiques that give you a homey atmosphere. Even from the outside, I could smell the dishes that they were preparing which made my tummy grumble even more. Okay, let’s give it a try.
As expected, their menu was filled with Spanish dishes from paella, gambas, chorizo, calamari (squid), tapa (marinated beef), tortillas, and ensaladas (salads). There was a good variety of dishes to choose from. Of course, I hastily ordered their seafood paella and their tapa. Their dishes come in family and single servings. While waiting for my order, the staff served me with water and made sure that I was comfortable. There were proper ventilation, adequate lighting, and soft Spanish music playing in the background – just enough to set the mood for a relaxed dining experience.
So far, so good. And then the food was served. Here comes the real verdict. Their tapa or marinated beef was tender, juicy, and delicious. Each slice was cut in the right size that it is easy to chew. And then there’s the paella. I will try not to be too hard on them. I found the paella lacking in taste. Sure there were lots of seafood on the rice but it was a bit too dry for me and it is as if the flavors did not come together to create that perfect dish. As I always say, the dish should be more than the sum of its individual ingredients, there should be fusion and magic once they all come together.
All in all, I would say that Calle Real still offers good value for your money for the service, ambiance, and food. Maybe I am just missing my mom’s paella a little too much.