Wednesday 23 October 2013

Mediterraneo, Pier Avenue, Hermosa Beach, California

On Hermosa Beach's main drag leading down to the oceanfront, Mediterraneo gets pretty busy on a Tuesday evening when it touts a buy one, get one free, deal on certain dishes. If the tables outside (under heaters) and inside are full, the welcoming staff might offer you a seat at the bar, which is actually pretty comfortable - the high stools have backs. And you'll probably prefer the cosy buzz inside on a chilly October evening.  There is a dizzying array of beers on draught, available in a bewildering variety of prices and sizes. A 14oz glass of Estrella is $7, while 18oz of Weihenstephaner Hef from Germany is $8 and 16oz of Mission Dunkelweizen, a rich beer from San Diego, is $8. But there are many others, some of them pretty strong and expensive. But the bartenders keep you supplied with iced water.  The menu mostly offers tapas-style dishes and, if you are hungry, you might need four each.  The chorizo on cocktail sticks is greasy and small for $7, but has a fine flavour. The tortilla (also $7) is large, succulent and delicious. For about six bucks, you can get a couple of substantial meat balls in a spicy sauce or four cheesy risotto balls, with a salsa sauce on the side. The latter, which really melt in the mouth, are particularly good. There is also a decent selection of fish tapas, such as pan-roasted salmon and steamed clams.  Each dish arrives whenever it is ready, rather than all together.  On a Tuesday evening, Mediterraneo serves up a heady cocktail of food, buzz and beer. 8/10