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Apamate: Eat Here!

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I've now been to Apamate, on South and 16th, about four or five times, and have been consistently impressed (more on the food later). But here's my concern: the place seems to be always empty at dinnertime. So empty (at least when I've eaten there) that I'm worried they won't do enough business to keep me in lomo and churros whenever I want. And lord knows I love me my lomo and churros. So for purely selfish reasons (not out of any kind of altruism for my fellow Hounds ;) ), I suggest you all try it.

Here's the scoop: The location is a bit odd, and I think that might be what's doing it in. It's a BYO, cash only (I think), that specializes in tintxos, which are essentially mini-tapas. They've got some entrees and traditional apps as well (and a delicious brunch menu), but the magic is in the tintxos. My favorites from the menu are beets 3 ways (crisp beet chips with sort of a citrus-themed beet salsa (I forget the third kind of beet)), pickled eggplant with white anchovies, and whatever seasonal crudo they've got (I think last time it was butterfish with avocado). If they have off-menu specials (like the morcilla, which I mentioned in a previous post - http://www.chowhound.com/topics/420382), by all means get them, since they'll probably be even more delicious.

The amazing thing is that, unlike at places like Amada and Tinto, I've actually managed to get full at Apamate without blowing my budget. This is a huge surprise to me, since when they serve the tinxtos (most of which are tiny, and priced at around 3-7 dollars), you think you'll have to order a hundred to get full. But somehow, I've managed dinners of tintxos for 3 people for around $75 total. I'm usually a big eater, and while I've been tempted to get an entree, I haven't needed to.

Has anyone else eaten here? Do you guys share my high opinion? I always get a little sad when I find a nice restaurant and it doesn't survive, so this is just one little eater's attempt at preempting that. (BTW, I assume it doesn't need to be said here, but I'm not a shill.)

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  1. I've been meaning to check out the place for dinner but when I called them awhile ago, they were only open until 9:00pm. Has that changed? I usually like to eat around 8:30 ish.

    1. We thought it was very good...not quite Tinto or Amada, but quite good. When we were there, there were only 2 other couples on a Saturday night. I'm not quite sure what the problem is since graduate hospital is booming.

      1. Thanks! So, it's Spanish or Catalan cuisine?

        I appreciate the suggestion particularly since I've been on a Spanish kick lately, but Amada & Bar Ferdinand are a bit pricy. Do they have a good Spanish wine selection? Cava?

        1. Agree! I had a great briunch there. Their croquettes are the best I have ever had. While I do love Amada and Bar Ferdinand, they are too expensive and fussy for everyday. We really need a nice local reasonably priced spanish place. One of my faves, Cafe Barcelona in Chestnut Hill, just closed and they were a similar concept - laid back tapas, BYO. I hope Apamante does not suffer the same fate.

          1. ditto nns...we go there often, and have since they opened. it seems the chef is evolving and hence the food is becoming exponentially more delicate in presentation and creativity. During the weekdays seems to be slower but on the weekend we have hit a small wait (not long) for a table at peak time. It does seem that people have written them off as a casual cafe, but the food is definitely not what they were doing in the beginning (some at brunch, yes) They also won best of philly 2007! I've tried alot of the new menu: I love the seafood paella and the black rice....and the pork tenderloin!!!! Their menu is changing a bit to fall/winter stuff... can't wait.....very reasonably priced. I like it a lot more than other Spanish restaurants in town because it really reminds me of Spain...the flavors, the vibe, and the good prices. Tthey are now open T-F 5pm-10pm and they kept brunch (it is delicious! and best coffee in town for sure) sat 9-3pm and then dinner 5-10pm and sun 9-3pm I checked at www.cafeapamate.com. They have an amazing prefix for parties of 6 or more $35pp like seven courses of pintxos with dessert for $50 with adding an entree it is a steal of a deal! Go Apamate!