This is a beautiful open air restaurant with tiled tables and local island art on the walls. It is described as 'Spanish Mexican Island Fusion' and they recently hired two new chefs: Jay Johnson we all know (and loved "Jay's") and MJ who has experience at both Mauna Kea and Parker Broiler. We are not big on Mexican food so we were attracted to this restaurant purely for the Tapas and they did not disappoint. Lunch on a Saturday afternoon is not crowded and the service (thanks to Jake) was excellent. The menu had 12 tapas, 9 entrees plus daily specials and the prices were very reasonable. The Championes al Ajillo (mushrooms with garlic, house wine and cilantro) had amazing flavor and the mushrooms were so fresh. The sauce was a perfect balance of wine and garlic and so good I asked for more toast to soak up every drop! The Ceviche was very fresh and tender with fish, shrimp, tomato, green and red peppers, green onion and a touch of jalapeno for a little kick. Our third dish was the La Mantra Cheese Puffs made with Manchego cheese and pancetta bacon shredded, seasoned with cayenne, deep fried and served up with a chipotle sour cream dipping sauce. Okay, these were just to die for! The outside was crispy, the cheese creamy, the pancetta savory and the dipping sauce was a perfect complement of cool and spicy. We can't wait to go back and try some of the other dishes (although it will be hard not to order these three again). Also, the chardonnay was excellent. We consider ourselves foodies and after eating in San Francisco Bay area restaurants for over ten years have felt restaurant challenged in Hilo. This is a very welcome addition.
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